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AMD Radeon RX 480 Video Card Review - Starting a Rebellion From $199

By: Anthony Garreffa,By: Jason Evangelho | AMD Radeon GPU in Video Cards | Posted: Jun 29, 2016 1:00 pm
TweakTown Rating: 87%Manufacturer: AMD

Full System = 250W Under Load!


After reviewing NVIDIA's new GeForce GTX 1080 and GeForce GTX 1070, as well as MSI's GeForce GTX 1080 Gaming X 8G and their GeForce GTX 1070 Gaming X 8G, I expected AMD to fall right in line when it came to power consumption with the new Radeon RX 480.




AMD tapped the 14nm FinFET process for its new Polaris GPUs, with our Intel Core i7-5960X test bed with the AMD Radeon RX 480 using 250W total. 250W is pretty good when you consider the 28nm-based, overclocked Radeon R9 390X from SAPPHIRE saw our system use up to 330W. But if we compare it to the new GeForce GTX 1070, which easily beats the RX 480 in every single test, and only consumes 215W, the RX 480 isn't anywhere near as efficient as NVIDIA's new Pascal-based architecture.




Temperature & Noise


I expected AMD's new mid-range Radeon RX 480 to be completely silent under load, but I was disappointed with the reference design from the company. While it rocks a slick reference design, the cooler has a weird sound/whine when it's spooled up to keep the card cool. I tried adjusting the fan speeds and getting a custom RPM set, but as soon as it spins up, the card begins making noise that can be annoying.




With the fan manually set to 100% and a benchmark running using 100% of the GPU, the Radeon RX 480 operates at around 66C average. This isn't too bad, but NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 1070 and GTX 1080 cards don't make anywhere near the same noise or run anywhere near as hot with the fans pumped to 100%. The RX 480 reaches 89C under load on its own, with everything set to automatic - which is quite hot.


Even sitting idle in Windows, the Radeon RX 480 gets hot - so much so that taking it out of the system I expected it not to be hot and nearly hurt my hand from the heat. It wasn't sizzling hot, but it was rather warm - uncomfortably warm for a card that wasn't being strained at all. The card was operating at anywhere between 75C to 80C at idle, with the fan speed at around 20% (automatic).


But as I always say, while you're gaming, you're not going to notice the noise. I have to write about it obviously, but you're going to have headphones or speakers on when gaming with this card - so it shouldn't be an issue. Alternatively, the AIB partner cards should be virtually silent compared to AMD's reference Radeon RX 480 board.

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