PowerColor Red Devil RX 590 Review
Published: 15th November 2018 | Source: PowerColor | Price: |
The PowerColor Red Devil RX 590 falls into the category of cards we find it difficult to summarise. If you're in the market for a new GPU then you fall into one of two types of user. Either you've already got a graphics card and are looking for an upgrade, or you're speccing your a new build and have a tight budget.
The second of those two types of purchaser are the easiest to target. More than any other item of hardware you buy, every pound you spend on your graphics will reward you. Motherboards have some extra features but are largely interchangeable now that chipsets are so reliable and consistent. Equally if you're just planning on gaming and light browsing then the difference between a quad core CPU, or even a dual core, and a monster Threadripper or Core i9 isn't really going to make a noticeable difference. The gap between a, for example, RX 560 and this RX 590, or even all the way up to a Vega64, brings a serious difference in gaming smoothness. If you can find another twenty or thirty quid then you'll be much better off. If, however, you have a very tight financial leash then the RX 590 in Red Devil trim has enough extra performance that if you've been hankering after a RX 480 or RX 580 then it is worth spending the small amount extra for the 5-10 FPS boost it will give you. Our test suite is stuffed with the latest games at eye-popping image quality settings and by and large the PowerColor managed to break the all-important 60 FPS nearly everywhere. When it didn't, and assuming you're in the "my first gaming PC" list making stage, then the ability to get a Freesync monitor is one that will both be worth the investment and ensure that you don't have to endure screen tearing when the frame-rate dips below that 60 FPS barrier.
If, however, you're already the proud owner of a graphics card and are looking to upgrade, the RX 590 is a bit of a harder sell. Not because it's not capable of handling modern titles, but that the difference between it and a lot of the other affordable graphics cards on the market is slender enough that you'd have to have a very old, or very low end, graphics card to notice where your hard earned money has gone. When budgets are tight you don't want to spend what little cash you have and go "oh yeah, it's a tiny bit better". You want your socks blown off. You'd have to own a RX 550 or RX 370 or worse to really spot the improvements the Red Devil brings. If you've got a RX 480 then it's close enough that you'd be better off waiting a little until you can make the big step up to a Vega56.
What the Red Devil does have is the endlessly consistent PowerColor build quality. They are always producing good quality cards and this is no different. Whatever you feel about the heavy dose of red in the colour scheme, you can't claim that it looks cheap. At this end of the graphics card market having a card which looks like it cost a bundle, even if it didn't, can make the difference. Nobody wants a disappointing unbranded-looking GPU. Additionally the cooler does well keeping the card cool even when overclocked, and there is enough headroom that you can push it beyond even the factory overclock if you so choose.
All in all the RX 590 fit exactly into our graphs that you would expect from the model name. Better than the RX 580, but not a quantum leap forwards enough to justify a RX 6xx model name. If you haven't got a graphics card then the performance is more than enough at the popular 1080P resolution and the affordability of Freesync monitors make it a great choice. That's enough to win it our OC3D Gamers Choice Award.