MSI showed off their new MECH 2 branded Radeon RX 580 and RX 570 during Computex 2018 a couple of months back now, and then a mysterious box turned up on my doorstep a few days ago. Upon opening it, I found two new MSI Radeon RX 500 series cards with MECH 2 branding on them - the first is the flagship RX 580, while the second card was its slightly less beefy sibling in the RX 570.
MECH 2 is part of the fall out from NVIDIA's now dead in the water GeForce Partner Program (GPP) which saw AIBs that were making Radeon RX 500 series graphics cards left in the cold without another card to release as NVIDIA ramped up towards the GeForce GTX 11 series unveiling.
So before we experience what should be a totally new class of enthusiast graphics cards from NVIDIA, MSI is refreshing its Radeon RX 580 and RX 570 cards with the new MECH 2 range. There are two NDAs on the MECH 2 cards, so today we can only talk about the cards and unbox them, while the full performance review has to wait until August 7.
That's good timing, as we've just completely revamped the GPU section of the site with a full re-build, re-configure, re-installation and a lot more. All of our cards have been re-tested with this new GPU test rig, and I've also added in a full test suite running AMD's new Ryzen 7 2700X. So on August 7 we will have a full review of the MSI Radeon RX 580/570 MECH 2 cards tested on both the Intel Core i7-8700K and the AMD Ryzen 7 2700X processors.
As for pricing, MSI is expecting to price the Radeon RX 570 MECH 2 at around $300-$320 while the Radeon RX 580 MECH 2 will sell for around $350-$370.
MSI is using an all-new thermal design on the MECH 2 cards that the company says isn't just good for higher GPU clocks and VRAM clocks, but "increased performance" in games. This is something I'm keen to test, but the RX 580 is still one of the best value for money graphics cards you can buy for 1080p and 1440p gaming... but is there room for improvement? Always.
It wouldn't be an MSI card without their dragon RGB LED on top, with MSI using a totally custom PCB design with Military Class 4 components that ensure you'll have a graphics card that lasts for years under heavy load.
On MSI's own website announcing the new MECH 2 cards, Scott Herkelman the new VP and GM of Radeon Technologies Group explains: "AMD Radeon has always been committed to the best interest of gamers: a dedication to open innovation such as our contributions to the DirectX and Vulkan APIs, a commitment to true transparency through industry standards like Radeon FreeSync technology, and a desire to expand the PC gaming ecosystem by enabling developers everywhere. It is these values that result in a thriving PC gaming community, and explain why so many gamers continue to rally behind the AMD Radeon brand".
MSI Radeon RX 580 MECH 2 OC specs:
- GPU: Polaris 20 (14nm)
- GPU base/boost clock: 1257/1340MHz
- VRAM: 8GB GDDR5 (8Gbps)
- Memory Bus: 256-bit
- Memory Bandwidth: 256GB/sec
- Power: 8-pin PCIe
- Display Output: 2 x DP, 2 x HDMI, 1 x DVI
- Slot Width: Dual-slot
Further GPU details:
- Shading Units: 2304
- TMUs: 144
- ROPs: 32
- Compute Units: 36
Unboxing + Closer Look
Just like with virtually all other MSI graphics cards, the company doesn't skimp on first impressions with the MECH 2 series graphics cards.
The front of the Radeon RX 580 MECH 2 box shows us everything we need to know: it's the OC edition with Torx fan 2.0 technology. AMD has great branding in the bottom right, where we see the RX 580 rocks out with DX12 and Vulkan support, Radeon Chill technology, FreeSync 2 technology, and Radeon ReLive Capture support - as well as being Radeon VR Ready.
On the back of the box we have more details on the card, with 8GB of GDDR5 on a 256-bit memory bus and its display connectivity. You'll need a single 8-pin PCIe power connector and a decent PSU to run it.
There's not much going on with the sides of the box, but the usual branding from AMD is there.
The front of the MSI Radeon RX 580 MECH 2 features the dual-fan cooler, with the usual red/black styling throughout.
MSI uses a slick-looking backplate on the RX 580 MECH 2 graphics card.
Display output wise we have 2 x DP, 2 x HDMI and 1 x DVI... plenty for any monitor setup.
All of this runs from a single 8-pin PCIe power connector.
MSI has a dual-slot graphics card on its hands with the MECH 2 series, coming it at thinner than a dual-slot cooler. I'd love to see it shrunken down into a single-slot cooler if the DVI port was ditched... that would be awesome.
Full Review Coming Soon
And there you have it... a brief tease and detailing of MSI's upcoming Radeon RX 580/570 MECH 2 graphics cards. The full review of these cards (we'll be doing both at the same time) on August 7, so be sure to check back then. I won't be telling you to expect anything radically different, as this is more of a refresh of MSI's own RX 580/570 that was in preparation for the GPP to take effect.
What we can expect is another line of Radeon RX 580/570 graphics cards from MSI in the same, and different markets. These cards aren't the usual balls-to-the-wall GAMING X branded cards from MSI, but another release of solid cards from MSI.
I think we're seeing a larger problem here for AIBs making Radeon graphics cards is that there is simply nothing new. NVIDIA is ready and growling with its purported GeForce GTX 1180 and GTX 1170 so it'll be a nice boost for MSI on their own with these new MECH 2 graphics cards to sell some Team Red cards to those looking for more budget/mid-range cards. Radeon RX Vega handles the higher-end market (well, not really high-end but GTX 1080 level) and there's nothing in between the RX 580 and Vega 56.
This gap isn't good for AMD as they don't have another Radeon graphics card coming until at least Computex 2019, so MSI is in a better position headed into the holidays with some massive games on the way including Battlefield V, Metro Exodus, Anthem that will see gamers wanting to upgrade. It might be from a GTX 960 or HD 7870 and into something new from AMD but with a budget of less than $300.
MSI's new Radeon RX 580 MECH 2 is positioned beautifully for that market. This doesn't need to be another high-end release from MSI, just a refresh to a very well-known line of cards from AMD just before the holidays and all of these new game releases. Think about how big Fortnite and PUBG are right now... tens of millions of gamers that don't necessarily need an RX Vega 64 or GTX 1080 Ti.
They're gaming on their 1080p 60-144Hz FreeSync display that they picked up much cheaper than the G-Sync alternative, so you don't really need a GTX 1080 Ti if you're playing games like Fortnite, PUBG or Overwatch. Hell, even Battlefield V will have no issues running at 1080p 60FPS on the MSI Radeon RX 580 MECH 2 at High detail. This is the huge market, so a card like this can do quite well.
Until then... our full review will arrive on August 7.