We already mentioned AMD would be looking at a different market to Nvidia’s recently announced cards and it looks as if they’ve done just that.
The RX 480 will be the first card AMD release on the new Polaris 10 Architecture but will be aimed at the lower mainstream market, rather than the high end gaming and VR setups that Nvidia has been reaching for. With this in mind there’s also a lower price point, making it easier for those who are new to PC gaming to get a cheaper system.
The chart below shows how the $199 card will stack up against the other current AMD cards and while it’s not a powerhouse, the 480 can certainly hold its own.
Breaking down the numbers, the 36 Compute Units mean we’re looking at similar speeds to the R9 390, alongside a smaller RAM package for the basic $199 model, as opposed to the R9 390’s standard 8GB RAM at around $90 more. Indeed, the TFLOPS figure seems in line with the older card, as well, giving similar performance but with newer architecture.
Why would you want the RX 480 when you could get a second hand R9 390? Well, there are several reasons. The first is a big one for low cost PCs; the TDP usage is 150W compared to 275W in the 390, that’s a lot of power draw for the older card and the 480 will most probably provide a much cooler system as a result. Unless you spend decent money on cooling and a good case, the 480 is a good way to keep that power to a minimum.
We can’t comment on memory at the moment due to a lack of information on that side of the architecture, but the 8000MT/s quoted means that even the 4GB RAM may be fine for things like VR and the speed is certainly one of the other areas where there’s a step up from the R9 390. Recommending the 8GB model will depend on AMD’s eventual price point (and that of the other companies who will be releasing cards based on the same architecture) and may actually make it even easier to recommend over the R9.
AMD have expressed an interest in making this card a cheaper entry into the VR world. The RX 480 has already had good reviews from both Oculus and HTC over its ease of use with their Virtual Reality hardware.
Expect the first benchmarks to hit soon but it looks like an interesting time for those just getting into the PC gaming world or who want to upgrade aging systems.