To Be, Or Not To Be
AMD launched its new Polaris architecture with a single release; the Radeon RX 480. There were no other cards launched at the time, apart from the announcements of the cheaper, lower- and mid-range parts in the Radeon RX 460 and RX 470 which will launch later this year.
I wish AMD had launched a new dual-GPU based on the RX 480's GPU, the Polaris 10 - and provided it with 8+8-pin PCIe power connectors. The RX 480 has a TDP of 150W, and while there are reports that the Radeon RX 480 is using more than the 75W of power available over the PCIe specification, a dual-GPU with 8+8-pin PCIe would've been fine.
This is the type of card that would've beaten the GTX 1070 and probably go toe-to-toe with the GTX 1080, but AMD didn't do it. It's still a possibility, but maybe the company wanted to sell as many single RX 480s as possible before it started putting two P10 GPUs onto a PCB with all of these voltage worries.
AMD Radeon RX 480 CrossFire - The Calm Before the Storm
Remember that it's early days of these next-gen GPUs, with future driver releases to improve CrossFire performance over time. From my testing, the Radeon RX 480s in CrossFire actually performed pretty damn well - and in some cases, they beat the GeForce GTX 1080 - which is a great thing to see.
But when you look at the power draw numbers, it paints a completely different picture. Sure, two Radeon RX 480s can beat a single GeForce GTX 1080 in some games in some resolutions, but the power consumed by the RX 480s is far beyond what NVIDIA uses with a single GeForce GTX 1080.
A single Radeon RX 480 in our test bed consumes around 250W average, the same number as the GTX 1080 - but the GTX 1080 is faster, by a decent mile in all resolutions. The second RX 480 enabled more performance with CrossFire, beating out the GTX 1080 in a few games at 1440p and 4K, but the total system power consumption went from 250W to 400W.
Our system power draw peaked at around 440W, which is up and above the 250W that the more efficient GeForce GTX 1080 pulls. There's nothing AMD can do to fix this, short of their promised new drivers providing a slice off of the RX 480s TDP.
Even if AMD managed to somehow cull 40W of power consumption from the card, that's 80W in total with two cards (give or take) - which still has it consuming around 350W of power - 100W more than the single GTX 1080.
For AMD fans, two Radeon RX 480s is an amazing amount of fun - and we're only playing with the reference cards. The AIB partners have some exciting cards coming out in the very near future, with the likes of SAPPHIRE, XFX, ASUS, GIGABYTE, and others to surely blow our minds with new Polaris 10-powered video cards.
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