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Review: AMD Radeon RX 480

Review: AMD Radeon RX 480

by Novak Bozovic05/07/2016
Gamers around the world have finally found their ultimate GPU, a real beast among today’s video cards. Undoubtedly, it is NVIDIA’s recently released GeForce GTX 1080. However, this card is priced at $599 for the base model, which means that video professionals and ultimate PC gamers are going to benefit the most. Since NVIDIA does not have a contender among affordable cards, many of you are going to look at AMD’s new Radeon RX 480.

Attractively priced at $200, this card is VR ready. This is actually astounding, since currently available GPUs which are also VR ready cost around $350. Let’s see what you can expect from AMD’s newest GPU.

The Radeon RX 480 is very simple when it comes to its design. This is a quality made black box with a single fan. Inside, you can find AMD’s new Polaris architecture, based on 14nm FinFET process. What this means is that this chip is significantly smaller than the rest of the company’s GPUs. Furthermore, the new chip allows the card to reach higher clock speeds than ever before, up to 1,266MHz.

When it comes to installation, it couldn’t be any simpler. Upon unboxing the RX 480, you will see that there is a PCI Express slot. You will have to connect additional power as well, which can be done using a single 6-pin PSU cable.

After connecting it to your monitor, all that’s left is to install the latest drivers, and you’re ready to start gaming. The card has three DisplayPort slots as well as one HDMI slot, which is something to have on mind when configuring your PC’s specs.

Performance-wise, the AMD Radeon RX 480 scored around half as good as NVIDIA’s ultimate GTX 1080. However, the card was slightly faster than comparable NVIDIA’s GTX 970, which is the bare minimum needed for VR.

Speaking of the real-world performance, this card will allow you to reach 60 frames per second in most of today’s bestselling games. For example, playing Overwatch in 1440p will get you a bit over 60 frames, while the new Doom hovers between 55 and 60 fps. The Witcher 3 dips a bit at around 40 fps, but this is one of the highest demanding games currently on the market.

I know a lot of you are interested in VR games. The Radeon RX 480 brings a solid performance without any lagging or slowdown. More affordable VR-ready GPUs can be a gamble because they can produce stuttering which leads to motion sickness. However, this is not the case here.

My only advice, if you’re interested in VR gaming, is to buy the 8GB version of the RX 480, priced at $240. The base model comes with 4GBs of memory, which is more than enough for today’s VR games. Still, you might want to future-proof and $40 is not a big leap.

When it comes to affordable VR-ready video cards, AMD’s new Radeon RX 480 is currently the best you can get. It will be interesting to wait and see if NVIDIA will provide a viable competitor, even though it seems that NVIDIA is currently more interested in a high-end market. This is why AMD will surely achieve big success with this GPU.

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About The Author
Novak Bozovic
Tech editor and architecture student. His stories have featured in numerous online publications covering hottest stories about IT-and tech trends.

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