AMD Radeon RX 570 4GB

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As with AMD’s Radeon RX 580 (see Is­sue 166, p23), the Radeon RX 570 might have a new name, but it isn’t a new GPU. It’s based on the same Po­laris ar­chi­tec­ture found in its im­me­di­ate pre­de­ces­sor, the Radeon RX 470, but has the ben­e­fits of a tweaked FinFET 14nm man­u­fac­tur­ing process, which en­ables AMD to re­li­ably in­crease its clock speed fur­ther.

While the ba­sic un­der­ly­ing chip ar­chi­tec­ture is ba­si­cally the same, how­ever, these tweaks were enough to pro­pel the RX 580 into the mid-range GPU win­ning spot last month. Some­times all a GPU needs is a lit­tle tweak­ing and some faster clock speeds to push it in front of the com­pe­ti­tion, but is the same true of the RX 570?

The RX 570 does in­deed of­fer a healthy clock fre­quency boost over the RX 470, tak­ing the stock GPU base clock from 926MHz to 1168MHz, and the boost clock from 1206MHz to 1244MHz. The 4GB of GDDR5 mem­ory runs at the same 1750MHz (7GHz ef­fec­tive) fre­quency though. There’s clearly some over­clock­ing head­room too, as the Sap­phire Ni­tro+ card we tested has a mas­sive 1340MHz boost clock.

Other­wise, the specs are the same as those of the Radeon RX 470, with 2,048 stream pro­ces­sors, 128 tex­ture units, 32 ROPs and a 256-bit wide mem­ory in­ter­face. Power re­quire­ments don’t seem to have in­creased mas­sively ei­ther, with stock speed cards com­ing with just a sin­gle 6-pin PCI-E power con­nec­tor, although our Sap­phire Ni­tro+ test card adds an­other 8-pin con­nec­tor on top to en­sure the over­clocked GPU gets all the power it needs.

The Sap­phire Ni­tro+ card we tested is also re­ally well built, fea­tur­ing a solid metal back­plate, thick heat­pipes and a pair of ex­cep­tion­ally quiet fans (even dur­ing gam­ing), along with neat blue LED light­ing. It isn’t cheap at £200 inc VAT, but it’s quiet and well built. If you’re look­ing for a cheaper card, Sap­phire’s own stock-speed Pulse ITX RX 570 card costs just £165 inc VAT, and only needs a sin­gle 6-pin PCI-E power con­nec­tor.

Per­for­mance

So, on to the big ques­tion, are the RX 570’s clock speed tweaks enough to give it the edge in the highly com­pet­i­tive sub-£200 GPU mar­ket? The Radeon RX 470 strug­gled here, be­cause GTX 1060 3GB cards were much quicker and only slightly more ex­pen­sive, and 4GB RX 480 cards didn’t cost much more money ei­ther.

We’ll start with the good news first, which is that the Radeon RX 570 rep­re­sents an enor­mous leap in per­for­mance over the GeForce GTX 1050 Ti. The cheaper Nvidia GPU can just about han­dle 1080p gam­ing, but the Radeon RX 570 bat­ters it into sub­mis­sion with its su­pe­rior per­for­mance at 2,560 x 1,440. The RX 570 also suc­cess­fully beats its pre­de­ces­sor, man­ag­ing a bor­der­line playable 27fps min­i­mum in Deus Ex: Mankind Di­vided at 2,560 x 1,440, while the RX 470 could only man­age an un­playable 23fps. In all our tests, the RX 570 was well in front of the RX 470.

The RX 570 still shares a big prob­lem with the RX 470, though, which is that cards based on Nvidia’s GeForce GTX

1060 3GB cost just £10 more (the Asus Turbo ver­sion cur­rently costs £175 inc VAT on www.scan.co.uk), and are sig­nif­i­cantly faster. The Nvidia card is ei­ther the same speed as the RX 570, or quicker, in ev­ery test ex­cept Deus Ex: Mankind Di­vided, an AMD Gam­ing Evolved ti­tle. The GTX 1060 3GB’s ex­tra power means it never drops be­low 32fps in Fall­out 4 at Ul­tra set­tings at 2,560 x 1,440, while the RX 570 can only man­age a bor­der­line playable 28fps.

The GTX 1060 3GB also of­fers su­pe­rior power ef­fi­ciency. For the most part, the Radeon RX 570’s power draw isn’t too bad, but it starts spik­ing af­ter it’s been run­ning for a while, with our test rig draw­ing 305W from the mains dur­ing the third run of our Unig­ine Val­ley – 62W more than with the GTX 1060 3GB in­stalled.

The Radeon RX 570 has one ad­van­tage over the GTX 1060 3GB, though, which is an ex­tra 1GB of mem­ory, which un­doubt­edly also helped it in the 2,560 x 1,440 Deus Ex test, which pushes graph­ics mem­ory hard. That ex­tra mem­ory will only be use­ful in a hand­ful of games at higher res­o­lu­tions though.

Over­clock­ing

We clocked down our Sap­phire Ni­tro+ card to stock RX 570 speeds for our game tests, so we could judge the GPU on its own terms, but we also wanted to see the dif­fer­ence made by Sap­phire’s over­clock. Sap­phire leaves the mem­ory fre­quency alone, but ups the GPU boost clock to 1340MHz, boost­ing the Fall­out 4 min­i­mum to 29fps at 2,560 x 1,440.

We then tried our own tweaks with the power limit in­creased by 50 per cent in Radeon Wat­tMan, and found there was enough head­room on our card to push the mem­ory all the way up to 2145MHz (8.58GHz ef­fec­tive), and the GPU core to 1370MHz. These set­tings brought the Fall­out 4 min­i­mum up to a re­spectable 31fps at 2,560 x 1,440. There’s clearly some de­cent tweak­ing head­room avail­able on RX 570 cards, although our Sap­phire test card also had the ben­e­fit of ex­tra power from the 8-pin socket.

Con­clu­sion

AMD’s Radeon RX 570 im­proves on its pre­de­ces­sor, and It also pro­vides a sub­stan­tial per­for­mance boost over the GeForce GTX 1050 Ti. How­ever, it’s cur­rently in a dif­fi­cult place at its price of £165 inc VAT, as it only costs an ex­tra ten­ner to buy your­self a GTX 1060 3GB card. The lat­ter might not have quite as much mem­ory, but the dif­fer­ence is small and it’s a much faster and more power-ef­fi­cient card. The Radeon RX 580 8GB’s tweaks were enough to put it in front of Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1060 6GB cards, but the GTX 1060 3GB is still the king in the sub-£200 league.

It rep­re­sents an enor­mous leap in per­for­mance over the GTX 1050 Ti

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