AMD Radeon RX 480 4GB
Who needs 8GB?
10-BIT COLOR COMPRESSION: that’s what you have to thank for AMD and Nvidia retaining the 192-bit and 256-bit bus memory bandwidths. Both these manufacturers use exceptional color compression to ensure that the memory bus never saturates when transferring highresolution textures across to the GPU. It makes a difference—a huge one—as you’ll soon see.
AMD’s RX 480 comes in two variants: 4GB and 8GB. Apart from that and the price, there’s no difference between the two cards. Who would be mad enough to buy the 4GB version, though—right, guys? After all, we need that 8GB frame buffer, especially with the graphical fidelity of most AAA titles today. Well, maybe not. While testing the 4GB RX 480, we were blown away by the difference between these two mid-range budget behemoths. Or should we say, lack of difference? All the way from 1080p to 4K, both average and minimum frame rates fluctuated by no more than one or two frames per second. Staggering. Absolutely staggering.
That aside, it’s still essentially the same card. You still get the same Polaris 10 core at its heart, the same memory bandwidth, the same number of shaders, and all the goodies associated with GCN 4.0. It’s cool, quiet, and can be overclocked by a good 6–8 percent, depending on your luck with the silicon lottery, bringing it well in line with the GTX 980 in terms of performance, for a little less than 200 bucks.
Right now, you can pick up an RX 480 8GB for $260—a good $60 more than the 4GB variety. And what do you get for it? A performance increase of almost nothing. In fact, you lose money when it comes to frames per dollar. What’s impressive about that is that the 8GB RX 480 was already astonishingly good value. It toppled last gen’s titan of industry, the GTX 970, and the reality is that it’s still good value. But compared to the 4GB RX 480? Nothing compares. If you’re after a cheap, powerful, 1080p gaming system, the RX 480 4GB is the way to go.
AMD Radeon RX 480 4GB
REDEEMER Phenomenal value; solid overclocking potential; cool and quiet; strong 1080p performance.
RESCINDED AIB cards will clock higher. $200, www.amd.com