AMD Radeon RX480 Polaris 8GB Review
Published: 29th June 2016 | Source: AMD | Price: 4GB £180 - 8GB £220 |
Blimey. What a cracking little card.
If you are one of the ignorant people who just glances at the graphs for the highlighted result and treats that as the entirety of knowledge, then you'll be missing a stunning card at a seriously affordable price. No, of course it doesn't match up to the capabilities of some of the heavy hitting high-end models, but it's not remotely competing with them. It's a £200 card. Regularly beating a GTX 970 levels of performance for a couple of hundred notes. If that doesn't impress you then you need to check your jimmies for rustling.
Like any card which we apply the 'affordable' label to, there are a couple of minor caveats. Usually we say that you have to be judicious with your resolution choice and reduce your anti-aliasing to a sensible level and all will be well. With the RX480 in 8GB trim there is only one single caveat, and that's that you shouldn't really use it to power a 4K display. Otherwise you can do what you like with it. The very latest DirectX 12 titles in 1440P with maximum image quality settings? No problem for the AMD Radeon RX480.
At 1080P, probably the resolution that 90% of people who buy a GPU at this price point will be looking to game, it's an absolute stunner. We couldn't get it to sweat no matter what we threw at it. Yes you can argue that the noise and temperature levels are a little high, but this is an AMD reference cooler and they are, with the best will in the world, somewhere between average and mediocre. It doesn't really matter because once a Strix/Twin Frozr/Dual-Dissipation/Etc cooler is on it then you'll get those low temperatures and silent running but on a GPU that has proven itself to be more than capable of running the very latest, high detail, DirectX 12 games.
We are particularly glad that AMD have finally cracked the power draw nut. The latest 4th Generation GCN has fantastic power efficiency when compared to AMD cards of yore. 22W beneath the GTX970 that it so regularly beat in the performance tests. Hell it's 140W (as an entire system) below the 380X, and the performance between the two cards is night and day. If you run a 380X you could have CrossfireX RX480s for the same power draw, and be kicking down the door of some extremely high-end setups for £420 in GPU cost.
It's got great performance in every benchmark, there is some overclocking fun to be had and it's kind to your electricity bill. Add to that a sweet price tag and the AMD Radeon RX480 8GB is a thoroughly deserving winner of our OC3D Gamers Choice Award.