Radeon amd 480
AMD Radeon RX 480 Specs
Report an Error Graphics Processor Ellesmere GPU Name Ellesmere GPU Variant Polaris 10 XT (215-0876184) Architecture GCN 4.0 Foundry TSMC Process Size 14 nm Transistors 5,700 million Die Size 232 mm² Release Date Jun 29th, 2016 Generation Arctic Islands (RX 400) Production Active Bus Interface PCIe 3.0 x16 Base Clock 1120 MHz Boost Clock 1266 MHz Memory Clock 2000 MHz 8000 MHz effective Memory Size 8 GB Memory Type GDDR5 Memory Bus 256 bit Bandwidth 256.0 GB/s Shading Units 2304 TMUs 144 ROPs 32 Compute Units 36 L1 Cache 16 KB (per CU) L2 Cache 2 MB Pixel Rate 40.51 GPixel/s Texture Rate 182.3 GTexel/s FP16 (half) performance 5.834 TFLOPS (1:1) FP32 (float) performance 5.834 TFLOPS FP64 (double) performance 364.6 GFLOPS (1:16) Slot Width Dual-slot Length 9.5 inches 241 mm TDP 150 W Outputs 1x HDMI3x DisplayPort Power Connectors 1x 6-pin Board Number C940, D009-47 DirectX 12.0 (12_0) OpenGL 4.6 OpenCL 2.0 Vulkan 1.1.119 Shader Model 6.4
|Architecture Codename: Arctic Islands Codename: Polaris 10 (Cozumel / Hawaii Refresh) CLRX Version: GCN 1.2 Graphics/Compute: GFX8 (gfx803) Display Core Engine: 11.2 Unified Video Decoder: 6.3 |
Video Compression Engine: 3.4
|AMD Radeon RX 480||1120 MHz||1266 MHz||2000 MHz|
|ASUS DUAL RX 480 4 GB||1120 MHz||1266 MHz||1750 MHz||4 GB, 9.53 inches/242 mm, 1x DVI 2x HDMI 2x DisplayPort|
|ASUS DUAL RX 480 8 GB||1120 MHz||1266 MHz||2000 MHz||9.53 inches/242 mm, 1x DVI 2x HDMI 2x DisplayPort|
|ASUS DUAL RX 480 OC 4 GB||1120 MHz||1300 MHz||1750 MHz||4 GB, 9.53 inches/242 mm, 1x DVI 2x HDMI 2x DisplayPort|
|ASUS DUAL RX 480 OC 8 GB||1120 MHz||1305 MHz||2000 MHz||9.53 inches/242 mm, 1x DVI 2x HDMI 2x DisplayPort|
|ASUS RX 480||1120 MHz||1266 MHz||2000 MHz|
|ASUS ROG STRIX RX 480 GAMING||1120 MHz||1266 MHz||2000 MHz||11.73 inches/298 mm, 1x DVI 2x HDMI 2x DisplayPort|
|ASUS ROG STRIX RX 480 GAMING OC||1120 MHz||1310 MHz||2000 MHz||11.73 inches/298 mm, 1x DVI 2x HDMI 2x DisplayPort|
|Dataland RX 480||1120 MHz||1266 MHz||2000 MHz|
|Dataland RX 480 DualCool 4 GB||1120 MHz||1266 MHz||1750 MHz||4 GB, 9.45 inches/240 mm, 1x DVI 1x HDMI 3x DisplayPort|
|Dataland RX 480 DualCool 8 GB||1120 MHz||1279 MHz||2000 MHz||9.45 inches/240 mm, 1x DVI 1x HDMI 3x DisplayPort|
|Dataland RX 480 X-Serial 4 GB||1278 MHz||1330 MHz||1750 MHz||4 GB, 11.1 inches/282 mm, 1x DVI 1x HDMI 3x DisplayPort|
|Dataland RX 480 X-Serial 8 GB||1278 MHz||1330 MHz||2000 MHz||11.1 inches/282 mm, 1x DVI 1x HDMI 3x DisplayPort|
|Dataland RX 480 X-Serial LE||1278 MHz||1290 MHz||2000 MHz||11.1 inches/282 mm, 1x DVI 1x HDMI 3x DisplayPort|
|Diamond RX 480||1120 MHz||1266 MHz||2000 MHz|
|GIGABYTE RX 480||1120 MHz||1266 MHz||2000 MHz|
|GIGABYTE RX 480 G1 Gaming 4 GB||1120 MHz||1290 MHz||1750 MHz||4 GB, 9.13 inches/232 mm, 1x DVI 1x HDMI 3x DisplayPort|
|GIGABYTE RX 480 G1 Gaming 8 GB||1120 MHz||1290 MHz||2000 MHz||9.13 inches/232 mm, 1x DVI 1x HDMI 3x DisplayPort|
|HIS RX 480||1120 MHz||1266 MHz||2000 MHz|
|HIS RX 480 IceQ X2 4 GB||1120 MHz||1266 MHz||1750 MHz||4 GB, 1x DVI 1x HDMI 3x DisplayPort|
|HIS RX 480 IceQ X2 OC||1120 MHz||1288 MHz||2000 MHz|
|HIS RX 480 IceQ X2 Roaring OC||1120 MHz||1288 MHz||2000 MHz||1x DVI 1x HDMI 3x DisplayPort|
|HIS RX 480 IceQ X2 Roaring Turbo||1120 MHz||1338 MHz||2000 MHz||1x DVI 1x HDMI 3x DisplayPort|
|MAXSUN RX 480||1120 MHz||1266 MHz||2000 MHz|
|MAXSUN RX 480 JetStream||1120 MHz||1320 MHz||2000 MHz||1x DVI 1x HDMI 3x DisplayPort|
|MAXSUN RX 480 JetStream||1120 MHz||1266 MHz||2000 MHz||1x DVI 1x HDMI 3x DisplayPort|
|MSI RX 480 4 GB||1120 MHz||1266 MHz||2000 MHz||4 GB|
|MSI RX 480 8 GB||1120 MHz||1266 MHz||2000 MHz|
|MSI RX 480 ARMOR 4 GB||1120 MHz||1266 MHz||2000 MHz||4 GB, 10.59 inches/269 mm, 1x DVI 1x HDMI 3x DisplayPort|
|MSI RX 480 ARMOR 4 GB||1120 MHz||1266 MHz||1750 MHz||4 GB, 10.59 inches/269 mm, 1x DVI 1x HDMI 3x DisplayPort|
|MSI RX 480 ARMOR 8 GB||1120 MHz||1266 MHz||2000 MHz||10.59 inches/269 mm, 1x DVI 1x HDMI 3x DisplayPort|
|MSI RX 480 ARMOR OC 4 GB||1120 MHz||1291 MHz||1750 MHz||4 GB, 10.59 inches/269 mm, 1x DVI 1x HDMI 3x DisplayPort|
|MSI RX 480 ARMOR OC 8 GB||1120 MHz||1291 MHz||2000 MHz||10.59 inches/269 mm, 1x DVI 1x HDMI 3x DisplayPort|
|MSI RX 480 GAMING 4 GB||1120 MHz||1279 MHz||1750 MHz||4 GB, 10.87 inches/276 mm, 1x DVI 2x HDMI 2x DisplayPort|
|MSI RX 480 GAMING 8 GB||1120 MHz||1279 MHz||2000 MHz||10.87 inches/276 mm, 1x DVI 2x HDMI 2x DisplayPort|
|MSI RX 480 GAMING X 4 GB||1120 MHz||1303 MHz||1750 MHz||4 GB, 10.87 inches/276 mm, 1x DVI 2x HDMI 2x DisplayPort|
|MSI RX 480 GAMING X 8 GB||1120 MHz||1303 MHz||2000 MHz||10.87 inches/276 mm, 1x DVI 2x HDMI 2x DisplayPort|
|PCYES RX 480||1120 MHz||1266 MHz||2000 MHz|
|PowerColor Red Devil RX 480||1120 MHz||1330 MHz||2000 MHz||12.2 inches/310 mm, 1x DVI 1x HDMI 3x DisplayPort|
|PowerColor Red Dragon RX 480 4 GB||1120 MHz||1266 MHz||1750 MHz||4 GB, 10.04 inches/255 mm, 1x DVI 1x HDMI 3x DisplayPort|
|PowerColor Red Dragon RX 480 8 GB||1120 MHz||1279 MHz||2000 MHz||10.04 inches/255 mm, 1x DVI 1x HDMI 3x DisplayPort|
|PowerColor Red Dragon RX 480 V2 4 GB||1120 MHz||1266 MHz||1750 MHz||4 GB, 10.04 inches/255 mm, 1x DVI 1x HDMI 3x DisplayPort|
|PowerColor RX 480 4 GB||1120 MHz||1266 MHz||1750 MHz||4 GB|
|PowerColor RX 480 8 GB||1120 MHz||1266 MHz||2000 MHz|
|Sapphire NITRO RX 480 OC 4 GB||1202 MHz||1306 MHz||1750 MHz||4 GB, 9.06 inches/230 mm, 1x DVI 2x HDMI 2x DisplayPort|
|Sapphire NITRO RX 480 OC 8 GB||1202 MHz||1306 MHz||1750 MHz||9.06 inches/230 mm, 1x DVI 2x HDMI 2x DisplayPort|
|Sapphire NITRO+ RX 480 OC 4 GB||1208 MHz||1276 MHz||1750 MHz||4 GB, 9.45 inches/240 mm, 1x DVI 2x HDMI 2x DisplayPort|
|Sapphire NITRO+ RX 480 OC 4 GB||1208 MHz||1306 MHz||1750 MHz||4 GB, 9.45 inches/240 mm, 1x DVI 2x HDMI 2x DisplayPort|
|Sapphire NITRO+ RX 480 OC 8 GB||1208 MHz||1306 MHz||2000 MHz||9.45 inches/240 mm, 1x DVI 2x HDMI 2x DisplayPort|
|Sapphire NITRO+ RX 480 OC 8 GB||1208 MHz||1276 MHz||2000 MHz||9.45 inches/240 mm, 1x DVI 2x HDMI 2x DisplayPort|
|Sapphire NITRO+ RX 480 OC 8 GB||1208 MHz||1342 MHz||2000 MHz||9.45 inches/240 mm, 1x DVI 2x HDMI 2x DisplayPort|
|Sapphire RX 480 4 GB||1120 MHz||1266 MHz||1750 MHz||4 GB|
|Sapphire RX 480 8 GB||1120 MHz||1266 MHz||2000 MHz|
|VisionTek RX 480||1120 MHz||1266 MHz||2000 MHz|
|VisionTek RX 480 Overclocked||1120 MHz||1288 MHz||2000 MHz|
|XFX GTR RX 480 Black Edition||1120 MHz||1338 MHz||2000 MHz||11.02 inches/280 mm, 1x DVI 1x HDMI 3x DisplayPort|
|XFX GTR RX 480 Triple X Edition||1120 MHz||1288 MHz||2000 MHz||11.02 inches/280 mm, 1x DVI 1x HDMI 3x DisplayPort|
|XFX RS RX 480 Double Edition 4 GB||1120 MHz||1266 MHz||1750 MHz||4 GB, 9.45 inches/240 mm, 1x DVI 1x HDMI 3x DisplayPort|
|XFX RS RX 480 Triple X Best Buy Exclusive 4 GB||1120 MHz||1266 MHz||1750 MHz||4 GB, 9.45 inches/240 mm|
|XFX RS RX 480 Triple X Best Buy Exclusive 8 GB||1120 MHz||1288 MHz||2000 MHz||9.45 inches/240 mm, 1x DVI 1x HDMI 3x DisplayPort|
|XFX RS RX 480 Triple X Crimson Edition||1120 MHz||1288 MHz||2000 MHz||9.45 inches/240 mm, 1x DVI 1x HDMI 3x DisplayPort|
|XFX RS RX 480 Triple X Edition||1120 MHz||1288 MHz||2000 MHz||9.45 inches/240 mm, 1x DVI 1x HDMI 3x DisplayPort|
|XFX RX 480 4 GB||1120 MHz||1266 MHz||1750 MHz||4 GB|
|XFX RX 480 Black Edition||1120 MHz||1328 MHz||2000 MHz|
|XFX RX 480 Patriot Edition||1120 MHz||1266 MHz||2000 MHz||9.45 inches/240 mm, 1x DVI 1x HDMI 3x DisplayPort|
|XFX RX 480 Triple X Edition||1120 MHz||1288 MHz||2000 MHz|
|Yeston RX 480 GAEA||1120 MHz||1266 MHz||2000 MHz||9.45 inches/240 mm, 2x DVI 1x HDMI 1x DisplayPort|
|Yeston RX 480 GAMEACE||1120 MHz||1266 MHz||2000 MHz||9.84 inches/250 mm, 1x DVI 1x HDMI 3x DisplayPort|
|Yeston RX 480 GAMEACE TOP||1120 MHz||1340 MHz||2000 MHz||9.84 inches/250 mm, 1x DVI 1x HDMI 3x DisplayPort|
The AMD Radeon RX 480 Preview: Polaris Makes Its Mainstream Mark
Back in December of last year, AMD’s Radeon Technologies Group began slowly trickling out the plans for what would be their first GPU architecture built for the now-modern FinFET processes: Polaris. As part of a broader change in how GPU architectures have been handled – more information is now released ahead of launch – AMD laid out what they wanted to do with Polaris. Aim for the mainstream, radically improve power efficiency, lay the groundwork for HDR displays, and, of course, improve performance.
Now six months later we are seeing AMD’s plans come to fruition, as the Polaris GPUs are in full production, and the first retail products are launching today. Kicking off the Polaris generation in the desktop market will be AMD’s Radeon RX 480, which is aiming for the mainstream market. We’ve already seen the card, the price, and AMD’s marketing spiel back at Computex 2016, so now it’s time to take a look at the final, retail hardware.
|AMD Radeon GPU Specification Comparison|
|AMD Radeon RX 480 (8GB)||AMD Radeon RX 480 (4GB)||AMD Radeon R9 390||AMD Radeon R9 380|
|Stream Processors||2304 (36 CUs)||2560 (40 CUs)||1792 (28 CUs)|
|Memory Clock||7-8 Gbps GDDR5||7Gbps GDDR5||5Gbps GDDR5||5.5Gbps GDDR5|
|Memory Bus Width||256-bit||512-bit||256-bit|
|Typical Board Power||150W||275W||190W|
|Manufacturing Process||GloFo 14nm FinFET||TSMC 28nm||TSMC 28nm|
|Architecture||GCN 4||GCN 1.1||GCN 1.2|
At the highest level, the RX 480 is based off of a fully enabled version of AMD’s Polaris 10 GPU. This is the first Polaris GPU to hit the market, and is the larger of the two GPUs. The total transistor count is 5.7 billion, which takes up 232mm2 on GlobalFoundries’ 14nm FinFET process. That this GPU is built at GloFo and not TSMC is a significant departure for AMD, who previously has used partner TSMC just shy of forever, and is the first time AMD and NVIDIA haven’t used the same fab in some 13 years. We’ll touch upon the foundry issue more in the full review, but the important thing to take away right now is that with the split in foundries, it’s no longer architecture alone that dictates whether a given NVIDIA or AMD GPU is better; process now plays a part, and the playing field is no longer even.
As it’s using a full Polaris 10 GPU, the RX 480 ships with all 36 CUs (2304 SPs) enabled. Ignoring architectural efficiency for the moment, this puts it somewhere between the Radeon R9 390 (Hawaii) and Radeon R9 380 (Tonga) in terms of CU count, with AMD having spent a good chunk of their 14nm density gains on adding CUs. Note that the CUs themselves have not substantially changed – it’s still 64 stream processors and 4 texture units per CU – which is where the 144 texture unit counts comes from.
On the backend of things, RX 480 is equipped with 32 ROPs. This is fewer than Hawaii’s 64 ROPs, but it is consistent with mainstream parts, as ROP needs don’t scale nearly as quickly from one generation to the next like compute (CU) needs. These 32 ROPs are paired with 2MB of L2 cache, which is twice as much L2 cache per ROP as the bulk of AMD’s last-gen lineup. The increased L2 cache has a die space cost – which is now easier to pay with the 14nm process – and helps to improve performance and cut power consumption by keeping more data on-die.
However once you go off-die, you will run into RX 480’s VRAM, which is a small story in and of itself. Once again common for mainstream AMD cards, AMD has stuck with a 256-bit GDDR5 memory bus here. Attached to this bus is either 4GB or 8GB of VRAM, with AMD offering two capacities for RX 480. The reason for offering multiple capacities is that AMD wants to hit the $199 price point with the card – the traditional sweet spot for mainstream cards – which would be hard to do with an 8GB card at this time. By offering both, AMD can hit that price while offering a full 8GB card at a slightly higher price for buyers with a bit more flexibility and/or greater VRAM needs.
Where things get tricky here however is the memory speeds. Officially, 7Gbps GDDR5 is the minimum speed for both RX 480 capacities, and this is the speed that AMD’s 4GB reference card runs at. However for their 8GB reference card, AMD has opted to ship the card with faster 8Gbps memory in order to further boost performance. I suspect that AMD would have liked to have used 8Gbps memory throughout, but the aforementioned price target required AMD to make some concessions to comfortably reach it. Otherwise for the higher priced 8GB card, AMD didn’t need to pinch pennies, and as a result they were able to ship it with 8Gbps memory.
|AMD Radeon RX480 Memory Bandwidth|
|AMD Radeon RX 480 8GB Reference||AMD Radeon RX 480 4GB Reference||AMD Radeon RX 480 Min Requirements|
|Memory Clock||8Gbps GDDR5||7Gbps GDDR5||7Gbps GDDR5|
|Memory Bus Width||256-bit||256-bit||256-bit|
|Total Mem Bandwidth||256GB/sec||224GB/sec||224GB/sec|
The end result is that we have an odd schism between AMD’s card requirements and what they actually ship. The reference 4GB RX 480 meets the RX 480 minimum specifications, whereas the reference 8GB card is de facto overclocked relative to those same specifications. As we’ll see in our benchmark results, the difference in performance isn’t too great, but I don’t think this is an ideal outcome for consumers. My biggest concern right now is what happens when AMD’s partners start shipping their custom cards; if they opt for slower memory buses, then this would mean that custom 8GB cards could end up slightly underperforming the official reference card. But we’ll have to see how that plays out.
Moving on, let’s talk about power consumption. As AMD has made clear over the last several months, one of the major goals of Polaris was power efficiency, and this is where we see some of the first payoffs from that decision. RX 480’s official Typical Board Power (TBP) is 150W, over 20% lower than the last-generation R9 380, and 45% lower than the otherwise performance-comparable R9 390. Consequently the card only requires a single 6-pin PCIe power connector for external power, making it a more friendly option for power-limited desktops that don’t offer additional power connectors.
In terms of design, the reference RX 480 is a double-wide, blower-style card measuring 9.5-inches long. Notably, this is the first AMD retail reference card since the Radeon R9 290 series to use a blower, giving AMD the opportunity to show that they’ve learned from 290’s excesses and that the company can build a better blower. Given AMD’s mainstream ambitions, a blower makes a lot of sense for a $199, 150W card, as a fully exhausting card is going to be the most compatible with the wide variety of desktop designs out there. AMD doesn’t need to worry about whether the cooling built into the chassis can handle 150W of heat, since the card can remove the vast majority of the heat on its own. The blower design does add some length to the card though; the PCB is only 7-inches long, while the space requirements for the radial fan push the card out to the full 9.5-inches.
For connectivity, buyers will find 3 DisplayPorts and an HDMI port; AMD has done away with the DVI port for their reference design. As this is a new card on a new architecture, both port types support their latest respective standards. For DisplayPort this means support for the 1.3 and 1.4 standards, adding the newest, fastest HBR3 signaling mode, along with full HDR support. Meanwhile for the HDMI support, HDMI 2.0b is supported, offering 4Kp60 support with HDR.
For today’s launch, this is going to be a full reference launch. All of AMD’s partners are shipping AMD’s reference design in 4GB and 8GB capacities, which means the differences between the vendors will come down to pack-in items, support, and whether anyone charges a premium for the aforementioned items. Card availability is said to be good, but at this point I’m going to be surprised if most retailers don’t sell out by the end of the day, as these days it’s rare for video cards not to sell out, even mainstream cards. Looking at the slightly longer term, AMD isn’t able to state exactly when we’ll see custom RX 480 boards hit the market, but from what I gather it will be sooner rather than later.
Moving on, with two different capacities there are two different prices for the RX 480. The entry level 4GB card will be launching at the previously unveiled price of $199. Meanwhile the 8GB card will launch at $239, a $40 price premium for the extra 4GB of memory and the higher memory frequency. I do not have a good idea of what the split is between 4GB and 8GB cards, but I suspect that it will be the 8GB cards that are more plentiful.
Finally, looking at the competitive landscape, just as was the case last month with NVIDIA’s GTX 1000 series and the high-end market, the Radeon RX 480 series is launching uncontested into the mainstream market. At least for the time being all of NVIDIA’s products are positioned well above the RX 480 – with GTX 1070 starting at $399 – which means what competition there is for AMD is composed of last-generation 28nm cards, particularly the GTX 970 and GTX 960. As these are last-generation cards, neither one is strictly comparable to the RX 480, and in the long run these cards have a limited shelf life as they’re due to be discontinued sooner than later.
AMD Radeon RX 480 The Display Controller, UVD, VCE & WattMan
We covered some of the improvements to Polaris’ display controller in AMD GPUs 2016: HDR, FreeSync Over HDMI And New Standards. That was almost seven months ago, though.
Previously, we knew Polaris would support DisplayPort 1.3 High Bit Rate 3 mode using existing cables and connectors to drive up to 32.4 Gb/s across four lanes. The controller’s spec now includes DisplayPort 1.4-HDR as well, which doesn’t expose any new transmission rates, but incorporates Display Stream Compression 1.2 to allow up to 10-bit 4K content at 96Hz. The Rec. 2020 color space is also part of DisplayPort 1.4.
More near-term, AMD still sees DP 1.3 as an enabler of FreeSync at 4K. The company claims 120Hz panels will be available by the end of 2016, though we’ll obviously need more than Radeon RX 480-class performance to drive a 4K screen at frame rates fast enough to warrant splurging on a premium display. Officially, though, the Vega design with HBM2 isn’t expected until 2017.
Although we covered Polaris’ support for HDR late last year, AMD reiterates that its display pipeline is ready for first-gen 10-bit HDR displays, and 12-bit HDR further down the road. Its display color processing engine is highly programmable, enabling gamut remapping, gamma control, floating-point processing and 1:1 mapping with whatever display you match up to it.
Video Encode/Decode Acceleration
In its heyday, ATI was famous for the performance and quality of its video decode acceleration, which offloaded playback from the host processor to a combination of programmable shaders and fixed-function blocks on the GPU.
While we don’t have a breakdown of where Polaris’ decoder handles specific tasks, we do know it’s UVD-based, so presumably fixed-function in nature. AMD lists HEVC decode at up to 4K60 using the Main 10 profile, which allows for a 10-bit 4:2:0 format (it all goes back to making HDR possible). VP9 decode is supported by the hardware, though AMD’s drivers don’t expose it yet—we only know the feature is planned for a future update. Assume at least profile 2 compatibility if AMD wants to match HEVC’s 10-bit/4:2:0 chroma subsampling for HDR. Less consequential, perhaps, is hardware-based acceleration of the M-JPEG format at up to 4K30.
The evolution of AMD’s Video Coding Engine isn’t documented quite as well. We know that Polaris can encode 8-bit HEVC at up to 4K60, but GCN 1.2-based GPUs are similarly-equipped. It does appear that AMD is working to expand the list of applications compatible with its VCE. The company’s own Gaming Evolved client is a natural match. But it also lists Open Broadcaster Software, which previously only supported QuickSync and NVEnc. Plays.tv is there as well, though that makes sense since it’s a social network from the same company responsible for the Gaming Evolved client.
WattMan: AMD’s In-Driver Tuning Utility
Nvidia relies on its partners to expose some of the lowest-level performance tweaks and monitoring features available for the company’s GPUs. Occasionally, that means waiting for EVGA, Asus, Gigabyte and MSI to update their utilities. We’ve even seen when certain parameters made it into software that weren’t supposed to be there. Of course, this also saves Nvidia from culpability when something goes wrong.
AMD's approach is a bit different. Its Catalyst Control Center previously included OverDrive functionality with access to limited activity, clock rate, temperature and fan speed monitoring, along with power limit, GPU/memory frequency and manual fan control adjustments. The settings were carefully controlled to ensure some headroom, but not so much that you'd toast your board.
With the launch of Radeon RX 480, AMD is also introducing its WattMan pane within the Radeon Settings window.
Upon opening WattMan, you're presented a histogram interface with GPU and memory clock rates, temperature, fan speed and activity, all of which you can display or hide. There's a toggle between peak and average readings. And you can either view status globally, or drill down to a specific application and record data once it's opened.
The same flexibility applies to WattMan's performance-oriented settings: tune the RX 480 on a global basis or dial in individual applications based on the workload's demands. Similar to what we just saw with GeForce GTX 1080/1070 and EVGA's PrecisionX tool, WattMan enables a dynamic curve with seven states that take custom frequency and voltage values.
Memory is adjustable as well (up to 2250MHz on the Radeon RX 480), though only at a single point. A field for voltage takes your numeric input in mV, up to a point.
If you click off of Automatic, the Fan can be set to unique minimum and target RPM settings. Meanwhile, you can specify a maximum acceptable temperature and a more ideal target, which the fan tries to push you down to.
What you'll see in our power analysis, though, is that even a modest 100MHz bump up in GPU clock rate at 1.15V results in a severe consumption spike, much of which is shouldered by the PCIe slot. At least for now, we'd exercise caution with WattMan and the RX 480.
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AMD Teases Radeon RX 480: Launching June 29th For $199
Kicking off at this moment is AMD’s Computex 2016 keynote. The company has multiple announcements scheduled this evening, but we’re going to jump right into an area that has been of extreme interest for many of our readers: GPUs.
Ahead of this evening’s event, AMD sent out an email to the press teasing the first of their discrete Polaris architecture based cards. Called the Radeon RX 480, AMD has unveiled much of the product’s specifications, but also its price and availability. When the card hits the streets on June 29th, it will be starting at the crucial mainstream battleground price point of $199.
|AMD Radeon GPU Specification Comparison|
|AMD Radeon RX 480||AMD Radeon R9 390X||AMD Radeon R9 390||AMD Radeon R9 380|
|Stream Processors||2304 (36 CUs)||2816 (44 CUs)||2560 (40 CUs)||1792 (28 CUs)|
|ROPs||(A Positive Integer)||64||64||32|
|TFLOPs (FMA)||>5 TFLOPs||5.9 TFLOPs||5.1 TFLOPs||3.5 TFLOPs|
|Memory Clock||8Gbps GDDR5||5Gbps GDDR5||5Gbps GDDR5||5.5Gbps GDDR5|
|Memory Bus Width||256-bit||512-bit||512-bit||256-bit|
|Typical Board Power||150W||275W||275W||190W|
|Manufacturing Process||GloFo 14nm FinFET||TSMC 28nm||TSMC 28nm||TSMC 28nm|
|Architecture||GCN 4||GCN 1.1||GCN 1.1||GCN 1.2|
First off, the RX 480 will include 36 CUs. If we assume 64 stream processors to a CU – the GCN standard – then this brings us to 2304 SPs. AMD has not named the specific Polaris GPU being used here, but given the CU count I believe it’s reasonable to assume that this is a Polaris 10 SKU, as I’ve already seen Polaris 11 and it’s a very small chip better suited for notebooks.
AMD also revealed that the card would offer over 5 TFLOPs of compute performance. Given what we know about the CU count, this allows us to estimate the GPU clockspeed. This puts the lower bound of the GPU clockspeed at 1.08GHz and an upper bound (6 TFLOPs) at 1.3GHz, which would be in the range of 10-30% higher clocked than comparable Radeon 300 series cards.
In terms of raw numbers this puts the RX 480 just shy of the current Radeon R9 390. However it also doesn’t take into account the fact that one of the major focuses for Polaris will be in improving architectural efficiency. I would certainly expect that even at the lower end of clockspeed estimates, RX 480 could pull ahead of the R9 390, in which case we’re looking at a part that would deliver performance between the R9 390 and R9 390X, with final clockspeeds and architectural efficiency settling just how close to R9 390X the new card gets.
On the memory front the card is equipped with 8Gbps GDDR5, running along a 256-bit memory bus. This is the typical bus width for AMD x80-series cards, and the high clocked 8Gbps GDDR5 means that we’re looking at a total of 256GB/sec of memory bandwidth to feed the RX 480’s GPU. AMD’s partners will be offering both 4GB and 8GB cards, and for the purposes of this teaser I assume that pricing information will be for the 4GB card, with 8GB serving as a premium option.
Finally, AMD has also revealed the TDP for the RX 480, stating that it will be a 150W card. As Polaris is built on 14nm FinFET, we’re seeing first-hand the benefits of finally making the long-awaited jump off of 28nm, as this means we’re looking at Radeon R9 390 series performance in a card that, on paper, consumes only a bit more than half the power. This also puts the RX 480 right in the sweet spot for mainstream cards, as 150W has traditionally struck a good balance between performance and power consumption that allows for a fast card that doesn’t require aggressive cooling, and is more compatible with OEM computer vendor case & cooling designs.
Cementing its place as a mainstream card, the RX 480 pricing will start at $199. This is an aggressive and heavily fought over price point that has traditionally defined the mainstream segment, attracting buyers who want great 1080p gaming performance that sub-$150 value cards can’t offer, without moving up to more expensive (and power hungry) $300+ cards. In this sense the RX 480 is a direct replacement for the R9 380, AMD’s Tonga-based card that hit the market roughly a year ago at the same price. Going by the raw numbers alone, RX 480 would be 40% (or more) faster than the R9 380.
Meanwhile I won’t speculate too much on the competitive market from a teaser, but it’s worth noting that this is nearly half the price of NVIDIA’s currently cheapest Pascal card, the GeForce GTX 1070. Interestingly both cards have the same 150W TDP, but looking at the throughput figures it does not look like RX 480 is meant to offer quite as high performance as NVIDIA’s card.
Gallery: AMD Radeon RX 480
Moving on, along with teasing the RX 480’s specifications, AMD’s teaser also laid out their marketing plans for the card. We’re previously talked about how both Oculus and Valve/HTC were encouraging developers to treat VR like a fixed platform, and setting minimum hardware specifications to go along with that. On the AMD side those specifications called for a Radeon R9 290, which the RX 480 should be able to beat.
As a result AMD is planning on heavily promoting the VR aspects of the RX 480, as it brings the necessary performance down from a 250W, $300+ card to a 150W, $200 card. In fact AMD is claiming that VR performance will be closer to $500 video cards, in which case we’d be looking at performance closer to the Radeon R9 Nano, a Fiji based card.
With all of that said, the video card is just one component in the total price of a VR system – you still need the headset – but on the PC side it has also been the most expensive component. Consequently, AMD sees cheaper video cards that offer good VR performance as being important to bringing down the total price of a VR-ready system, and will be promoting the RX 480 as the prescription for entry-level VR needs. From a business perspective, AMD is ultimately expecting VR to be a fast-growing market, so the company wants to make sure they don’t miss out and have more VR-capable cards on the market as quickly as they can.
Along those lines, AMD’s release also makes note that at least one model will be “both HTC Vive Ready and Oculus Rift certified,” though no further details are being offered at this time. Whether this is just a certification matter or if there’s going to be something special about this model (e.g. connectors) is open to speculation.
Finally, now that they’ve revealed the price and much of the specifications of their first Polaris card, AMD is also releasing more details on their overall development and market positioning strategy with Polaris. As AMD has hinted at in the past, Polaris is being specifically developed for and aimed at the mainstream market. AMD wants to recapture lost market share – especially in laptops – and the large mainstream market is seen as the best way to do that. AMD is calling this their “water drop” strategy, and I expect we’ll hear a bit more about it tonight, including the meaning behind the name.
And with all of that said, it looks like we’re going to have a lot of AMD to talk about on June 29th. So until they, stay tuned.
Above: AMD SVP & Chief Architect Raja Koduri, Who Is Very Happy That Polaris Is About To Launch
AMD Radeon RX 480 shoots for value at $200
Nvidia is clearly going after the high-end GPU market with Pascal GP104 cards, with GTX 1080 and GTX 1070 both delivering better than Titan X levels of performance in our testing. AMD's response with Polaris 10/11 won't be direct competition, but instead AMD is going after the mainstream market. We can't talk about everything we've been told right now, but much like what Nvidia did with the GTX 1070, AMD is releasing the following key details today.
Right off the bat, we see plenty of things that tell us about positioning. AMD lists 36 Compute Units, and unless they're changing things with Polaris, they've used 64 'shader cores' in every GCN CU to date, that would be 2304 cores. That's fewer CUs than the R9 390, but almost 30 percent more than the R9 380. The price is perhaps the most important aspect, however: starting at $199. Presumably that will be the 4GB model, with 8GB models carrying a moderate price premium—somewhere between $20 and $50 would be about right, given current 2GB vs. 4GB pricing.
The most important number in all of this right now is probably the TFLOPS, which AMD states as >5 TFLOPS. Again, that's about in line with the R9 390, at a significantly lower price and power level. If you're wondering about clock speeds, like Nvidia architectures, peak TFLOPS on GCN ends up being two 32-bit FLOPS (FLoating-point Operations Per Second) per core, times the clock speed. Working back from the >5 TFLOPS and CU number, we get a minimum estimate of 1085MHz. Except, the greater-than sign suggest that AMD hasn't finalized clock speed yet, so it could be 5.1 TFLOPS or 5.9 TFLOPS (~1280MHz) once the card hits retail.
On the memory side of things, like the GTX 1070, RX 480 will run GDDR5 at 8000 MT/s (2000MHz base, four bits per cycle). We might be tempted to complain about the 4GB and 8GB models, but at this level of performance, 8GB probably isn't going to be strictly necessary—and if you're willing to pay a bit more, you can still get it. The 256-bit bus is a large step down from the R9 390's 512-bit bus, and AMD hasn't officially stated whether they're doing any new forms of memory compression to help compensate.
The only other major item worth mentioning is that RX 480 will support DisplayPort 1.3 / 1.4 HDR, a step up from the DP 1.2 in current products. RX 480 will also be VR-ready, with what appears to be similar performance expectations relative to the R9 290/390 cards.
Looking at the bigger picture, those who were hoping to see AMD's Polaris take on Nvidia's Pascal chips will be disappointed. Rather than improving overall performance, AMD is going after the value-conscious gamers. There's nothing wrong with that, and AMD cites Mercury Research data showing 13.8 million people spent between $100 and $300 on graphics cards. Here's the thing: we've been able to get pretty much this level of performance with the GTX 970 and R9 290/390 cards for about a year and a half, only at prices closer to $300-$350.
Cutting the price by a third is great, but it mostly matters to those who haven't purchased a faster GPU during the past year or two. Much like our advice on the GTX 1070 preview, we recommend gamers look at skipping a generation—or two if you can manage—between graphics card upgrades. Some will buy a $600 card every two or three years, others will buy a $350-$400 card every few years, and still others will look at a $200-$250 card as a periodic upgrade.
So who should be most interested in making the upgrade to an RX 480 once it becomes available? Anyone currently running R7 370 or lower (HD 7870) could potentially double their gaming performance. Or another way of looking at it is that the RX 480 offers roughly the same performance potential as the old Radeon HD 6990 in a card that uses less than half as much power. But that card's five years old now. On the Nvidia side, if you're thinking about switching from team green to team red, GTX 760 and lower (GTX 670 and lower) potentially double performance, not to mention adding some new features and reducing power requirements.
We don't have hardware in hand yet, but that should come sometime before the official June 29 launch date, and there will be other new GPUs alongside the RX 480. And even though this may not have the excitement of a $380 Titan X equivalent, the current consoles have to get by on 1.3-1.84 TFLOPS, so now a $199 GPU will basically offer three times the performance potential of a PS4. Next time someone tries to tell you PC gaming is expensive, try putting a $200 GPU in any PC made in the past five years, and you have a much less costly console alternative.
AMD Announces RX 480 GPU at $199 Targeting 'the next 3-4 years' of VRFacebookTwitterLinkedinRedditSubscribe
At Computex 2016 today, AMD took to the stage to reveal their latest GPU, the RX 480. Priced at starting at $199, the company says they designed the card to help make the first 100 million PCs ready for VR.
On stage at AMD’s Computex 2016 keynote today, Raja Koduri, Senior VP & Chief Architect of Radeon Technologies Group, revealed the AMD RX 480 GPU, saying that the card is designed for “premium VR”.
Koduri said that AMD has found that of 1.43 billion PCs worldwide, only 13 million (just 1%) this year will have the graphics power needed to run high end virtual reality like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. Further, the company found that cost is the leading factor preventing adoption.
The $199 4GB version of the RX 280 is a far cry from Nvidia’s recently launched $699 GTX 1080, against which AMD compared their new card. The less expensive GTX 1070 ($450) is probably a more fair cost comparison, but the reason why AMD chose to pit it as the benchmark backdrop quickly became clear.
Running a non-VR game, Ashes of the Singularity (2016), side-by-side against the GTX 1080 showed that two RX 480s in a Dual Graphics configuration bested the 1080 with only 51% utilization compared to 98.7% on the competing card. And that, Koduri gladly noted, was achieved for less than $500. Of course, a singular benchmark like this doesn’t come close to telling the entire story, but AMD could have an interesting case for gamers wanting high-end performance for less. Importantly for VR gamers though, there’s no telling yet if using dual RX 480s will scale as well for VR applications as it does as well as we see here in a non-VR application.
“We’ve seen an incredible range of immersive applications and game-changing experiences that have given millions of people around the world their first taste of virtual reality,” said Nate Mitchell, VP of Product at Oculus. “AMD is going to help drive that adoption forward even more by bringing their high-end VR GPUs to the $199 price point.”
AMD Radeon RX 480 Specs
Despite the relatively diminutive cost, AMD claims that the RX 480 is “built like a $500 premium card,” noting that the cooling and other design aspects can be seen in their top-of-the-line cards from their last generation.
The RX 480 is among the first GPUs from AMD build on their 14nm FinFET ‘Polaris’ architecture, making it, at 150W, the company’s most power efficient GPU ever, according to Koduri. The card’s $199 starting price is for the 4GB flavor, while an 8GB model will be offered as well, though the company has not yet priced it. The RX 480 release date is set for June 29th.
And while the RX 480 is priced at $199, Koduri claims that the 5 TFLOP card hopes to last for the next several years of VR gaming.
“We chose the computing and the bandwidth and the specification of the card based on what the content developers are going to tune for over the next 3-4 years,” he said. “So we didn’t make it a card that is just for this year, this is a card for the next 3-4 years, with our deep understanding of the content pipeline for what’s coming.”
Of course, where the acceptable bar for GPU horsepower in VR uses is ultimately in the hands of consumer and developer adoption, and that largely depends upon what the market decides it’s willing to pay for the VR experience. If the market leans toward the high-end, and sticks with Nvidia’s more powerful but generally more expensive GPUs, the RX 480 may see itself outmoded earlier than AMD hopes. If things go the other way, and the market jives with a lower price point, AMD could be in a great place with their cost-focused strategy, leaving Nvidia cards for a more niche high-end audience.