Sub­tlety at its best

ASUS ROG Strix Gam­ing RX 480

HWM (Malaysia) - - TEST - by John Law

Another year has gone by, and AMD’s en­thu­si­ast-level Radeon RX Vega is al­most upon us, and the com­pany’s RX 400 se­ries card is also due for a re­fresh (at the time of writ­ing, dubbed the RX 500 se­ries). But un­til that hap­pens, ASUS was kind enough to pass us the ROG Strix Gam­ing RX 480.

Like all ROG Strix Gam­ing graph­ics cards, ASUS’ cus­tom­cooled vari­ant of the card is out­landish and is de­signed to stand out from the rest of the crowd. De­spite its mid-tier sta­tus, the card is wrapped in ASUS’ three-fan, Di­rect CU III cool­ing so­lu­tion, along with a black ma­chined and brushed alu­minum back­plate that pro­vides a fair amount of rigid­ity to the card’s shape, and also acts as a pas­sive heatsink for the card.

Just like ev­ery other card that came out dur­ing the mid­dle of 2016, this ROG Strix Gam­ing RX 480 is also fit­ted with ASUS’ own Aura Sync RGB light­ing op­tions. These lights pul­sate in a slow and con­trolled tempo by de­fault, with colors rang­ing from bright orange to beet­root pur­ple. And like all RGBe­quipped com­po­nents, you can con­trol how it re­acts via the ASUS Aura Sync soft­ware.

Com­pared to the ref­er­ence RX 480, this ROG Strix Gam­ing RX 480 has a longer PCB and it also re­quires a sin­gle 8-pin PCIe power con­nec­tor, in­stead of the stan­dard 6-pin – un­der­stand­able, con­sid­er­ing that the card has been souped up to run at a core clock speed of 1,330MHz right out of the box.

That brings us to the sub­ject of over­clock­ing. Sur­pris­ingly, the ROG Strix Gam­ing RX 480 is ac­tu­ally over­clock­able, but much like other RX 480s tested prior, you don’t re­ally have a lot of head­room to play around with. At best, we were only able to push the card’s clock speed up by an ad­di­tional five per­cent. How­ever, do note that on top of in­creas­ing the clock speeds, you will also need to in­crease the core volt­age as well if you’re go­ing to want to see any form graph­i­cal im­prove­ment.

As ex­pected, per­for­mance was solid with this card: On 3DMark’s Fire Strike and Fire Strike Ex­treme, the card scored 11,327 and 5,749 points, re­spec­tively. At a res­o­lu­tion of 2,560 x 1,440 (1440p), we ran the Unig­ine Heaven bench­mark on the card, the end re­sult pro­vid­ing an av­er­age frame rate read­ing of 49 fps on the test. In terms of gam­ing, we were get­ting some rel­a­tively de­cent frame rates with our ti­tles. On Deus Ex: Mankind Di­vided, we were get­ting 50 fps on av­er­age at 1,440p, and on the lat­est Tom Clancy’s Ghost Re­con Wild­lands, the card was hov­er­ing any­where be­tween 44 and 57 fps.

For RM1,599, the ASUS ROG Strix Gam­ing RX 480 is def­i­nitely a card that falls into our ‘Rec­om­mended’ list.

The card may look loud, but it’s def­i­nitely jus­ti­fied.

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