XFX RX590 Fatboy Review
Published: 15th November 2018 | Source: XFX | Price: |
It would be easy if we weren't so resolute in sticking to our principals to get your head turned by high end hardware and be dismissive of the midrange. After all, a GTX 2080Ti or Threadripper review nearly writes itself. High end products always have that effect. Try and find a negative review of a Ferrari or a Brightling watch.
However, we started our gaming careers with affordable products we could tune the arse out of. The website is called OC3D for goodness sake, and you don't bother to overclock an i9-7980XE because it has so much latent performance. Cards we remember fondly are things like the Radeon HD4850, ones that had a good amount of base performance at an affordable price, but could be whipped until they gave results more akin to the next model up. We know that gaming is a very expensive hobby and that most people haven't got huge disposable incomes to run quad-card systems. For the large majority gaming comes in the form of getting an affordable card that has enough bling to make us feel like we own something from a higher echelon.
The RX 590, as we have seen from both cards in today's reviews, is a decent card for the money, giving great 1080P performance in even the latest titles, whilst also having just enough with some judicious settings application to run at 1440. Neither card responds particularly well to overclocking though, leading us to believe that the limitations are largely architectural rather than things that can be solved with extra megahertz. With the PowerColor the cooler was good at keeping the card cool, and the design - although a little last gen - was enough that it wasn't blatantly obvious you'd had to financially compromise.
With the XFX RX 590 Fatboy that isn't the case.
Things get off to a poor first impression with the strange packaging that looks like it was designed for a box considerably larger than that it comes in with everything off centre. Taking the card out and the first thought we had was that someone had popped to their eBay and grabbed a roll of "10 metres for a quid" carbon vinyl. It looks cheap and nasty. This isn't helped by the design decision to use thick plastic with odd angles that only accentuate how thick and shiny the plastic is. The gaps are large enough that swathes of the nickel show through, giving a silver and black hue to proceedings, but then you have massive copper heatpipes which make the whole aesthetic look muddled. Okay copper heatpipes were once left in their natural hue as they were a value added feature, much like gold plated USB connectors, but those days are long past. It now just feels like it's trying hard to look something it isn't. Fortunately the back of the card, the view you'll largely have, is much better. Plain, but better. The side doesn't get much more attractive with familiarity though.
All of which would matter for nought if the performance of the cooler was so amazing that you could tolerate the looks. After all, at this price point you have to make a compromise somewhere and if the image on your screen is great enough that you don't notice the card, yay. But the XFX is much warmer than the PowerColor Red Devil take on the formula, and it's not like that card was equipped with a massive triple-slot offering. What you end up with is a design which looks a bit bargain basement, and performs so.
You might feel we're being overly harsh, after all the XFX Fatboy performed just as well as the Red Devil. For two reasons we're less willing to overlook such things. Firstly just because the card is affordable doesn't mean you should have to tolerate the looks of an unbranded Chinese clone of a card. Secondly the XFX 290X Dual Dissipation and XFX R9 Fury Triple Dissipation cards looked so amazing we know that XFX can bring looks and cooler performance to the party. It's just too warm, and too finicky with the overclocking for a basic user to overcome the aesthetic limitations. Fortunately for XFX the underlying 4th Generation GCN GPU is good enough that if you can tolerate such weaknesses that it might be worth spending your hard earned money on, we however would probably avoid this one considering there are better looking options on all levels for the same price like the Powercolor.