Is it time to buy that new GPU?
Testing commissioned by AMD. This means that AMD paid us for our time, but had no say in the results or presentation of them.
Earlier this week Bethesda and Arkane Studios released Prey, a first-person shooter that is a re-imaging of the 2006 game of the same name. Fans of System Shock will find a lot to love about this new title and I have found myself enamored with the game…in the name of science of course.
While doing my due diligence and performing some preliminary testing to see if we would utilize Prey for graphics testing going forward, AMD approached me to discuss this exact title. With the release of the Radeon RX 580 in April, one of the key storylines is that the card offers a reasonably priced upgrade path for users of 2+ year old hardware. With that upgrade you should see some substantial performance improvements and as I will show you here, the new Prey is a perfect example of that.
Targeting the Radeon R9 380, a graphics card that was originally released back in May of 2015, the RX 580 offers substantially better performance at a very similar launch price. The same is true for the GeForce GTX 960: launched in January of 2015, it is slightly longer in the tooth. AMD’s data shows that 80% of the users on Steam are running on R9 380X or slower graphics cards and that only 10% of them upgraded in 2016. Considering the great GPUs that were available then (including the RX 480 and the GTX 10-series), it seems more and more likely that we going to hit an upgrade inflection point in the market.
A simple experiment was setup: does the new Radeon RX 580 offer a worthwhile upgrade path for those many users of R9 380 or GTX 960 classifications of graphics cards (or older)?
|Radeon RX 580||Radeon R9 380||GeForce GTX 960|
|GPU||Polaris 20||Tonga Pro||GM206|
|Rated Clock||1340 MHz||918 MHz||1127 MHz|
|TDP||185 watts||190 watts||120 watts|
|MSRP (at launch)||$199 (4GB)
Subject: Graphics Cards | May 16, 2017 - 07:39 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: Vega, reference, radeon, graphics card, gpu, Frontier Edition, amd
AMD has revealed their concept of a premium reference GPU for the upcoming Radeon Vega launch, with the "Frontier Edition" of the new graphics cards.
"Today, AMD announced its brand-new Radeon Vega Frontier Edition, the world’s most powerful solution for machine learning and advanced visualization aimed to empower the next generation of data scientists and visualization professionals -- the digital pioneers forging new paths in their fields. Designed to handle the most demanding design, rendering, and machine intelligence workloads, this powerful new graphics card excels in:
- Machine learning. Together with AMD’s ROCm open software platform, Radeon Vega Frontier Edition enables developers to tap into the power of Vega for machine learning algorithm development. Frontier Edition delivers more than 50 percent more performance than today’s most powerful machine learning GPUs.
- Advanced visualization. Radon Vega Frontier Edition provides the performance required to drive increasingly large and complex models for real-time visualization, physically-based rendering and virtual reality through the design phase as well as rendering phase of product development.
- VR workloads. Radeon Vega Frontier Edition is ideal for VR content creation supporting AMD’s LiquidVR technology to deliver the gripping content, advanced visual comfort and compatibility needed for next-generation VR experiences.
- Revolutionized game design workflows. Radeon Vega Frontier Edition simplifies and accelerates game creation by providing a single GPU optimized for every stage of a game developer’s workflow, from asset production to playtesting and performance optimization."
From the image provided on the official product page it appears that there will be both liquid-cooled (the gold card in the background) and air-cooled variants of these "Frontier Edition" cards, which AMD states will arrive with 16GB of HBM2 and offer 1.5x the FP32 performance and 3x the FP16 performance of the Fury X.
Radeon Vega Frontier Edition
- Compute units: 64
- Single precision compute performance (FP32): ~13 TFLOPS
- Half precision compute performance (FP16): ~25 TFLOPS
- Pixel Fillrate: ~90 Gpixels/sec
- Memory capacity: 16 GBs of High Bandwidth Cache
- Memory bandwidth: ~480 GBs/sec
The availability of the Radeon Vega Frontier Edition was announced as "late June", so we should not have too long to wait for further details, including pricing.
Subject: Editorial | April 20, 2017 - 11:25 AM | Alex Lustenberg
Tagged: video, Z270X, tinker board, t-mobile, RX 580, radeon, podcast, Open BenchTable, mini-itx, logitech, keyboard, gigabyte, G413, DAN Cases, asus, A4-SFX
PC Perspective Podcast #446 - 04/20/17
Join us for Radeon RX 580 review, Open Benchtable and DAN cases, Intel Rumors and more!
The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!
- iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the iTunes Store (audio only)
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- MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file
Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, Allyn Malventano
Peanut Gallery: Ken Addison, Alex Lustenberg
Program length: 1:38:24
Week in Review:
News items of interest:
Hardware/Software Picks of the Week
Subject: Graphics Cards | April 18, 2017 - 04:04 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: RX 580, radeon, Polaris, amd, powercolor, red devil
Ryan covered the improvements over the previous Polaris based cards the RX 580 offers, a higher Rated Clock and standardizing memory frequency of all RX 580 models to 8GHz. That lead to the expected increase in performance compared the the RX 480, in a marketplace somewhat different than what the first Polaris chips arrived in. Consumers now know what NVIDIA's current generation cards provide in performance and prices have settled as much as can be expected in the volatile GPU market. Those using cards several generations old may be more receptive to an upgrade than they were with the previous generation, especially as the next large launches are some time off; we shall see if this is true in the coming months.
One particular reason to consider upgrading is VR support, something [H]ard|OCP covers in their review. The improved speeds do not provide miracles in their VR Leaderboard however they do show improvements in some games such as Serious Sam, with reprojection rates dropping markedly.
"AMD is launching the AMD Radeon RX 500 series today, and we lead with a custom retail Radeon RX 580 GPU based video card from PowerColor. We’ll take the Red Devil RX 580 Golden Sample video card through the paces and see how it compares to the competition at the same price point."
Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:
- AMD's Radeon RX 580 and Radeon RX 570 @ The Tech Report
- ASUS Radeon RX 580 STRIX @ Guru of 3D
- apphire Radeon RX 570 Pulse 4 GB @ techPowerUp
- Sapphire Nitro+ RX 580 8GB Review @ Neoseeker
- PowerColor Red Devil Radeon RX 580 8GB @ eTeknix
- ASUS RX 570 STRIX Gaming OC 4GB @ Kitguru
- Sapphire RX 580 Nitro+ Limited Edition 8GB @ Kitguru
- PowerColor Radeon Red Devil RX 580 8GB Golden Sample Review @ OCC
- Unigine Superposition Is A Beautiful Way To Stress Your GPU In 2017, 17-Way Graphics Card Comparison @ Phoronix
- EVGA GeForce GTX 1070 SC2 Gaming iCX Review @ Bjorn3d
- Gigabyte Aorus GTX 1080 Ti Xtreme Gaming 11 GB @ techPowerUp
What is old is new again
Trust me on this one – AMD is aware that launching the RX 500-series of graphics cards, including the RX 580 we are reviewing today, is an uphill battle. Besides battling the sounds on the hills that whisper “reeebbrraannndd” AMD needs to work with its own board partners to offer up total solutions that compete well with NVIDIA’s stronghold on the majority of the market. Just putting out the Radeon RX 580 and RX 570 cards with same coolers and specs as the RX 400-series would be a recipe for ridicule. AMD is aware and is being surprisingly proactive in its story telling the consumer and the media.
- If you already own a Radeon RX 400-series card, the RX 500-series is not expected to be an upgrade path for you.
- The Radeon RX 500-series is NOT based on Vega. Polaris here everyone.
- Target users are those with Radeon R9 380 class cards and older – Polaris is still meant as an upgrade for that very large user base.
The story that is being told is compelling; more than you might expect. With more than 500 million gamers using graphics cards two years or older, based on Steam survey data, there is a HUGE audience that would benefit from an RX 580 graphics card upgrade. Older cards may lack support for FreeSync, HDR, higher refresh rate HDMI output and hardware encode/decode support for 4K resolution content. And while the GeForce GTX 1060 family would also meet that criteria, AMD wants to make the case that the Radeon family is the way to go.
The Radeon RX 500-series is based on the same Polaris architecture as the RX 400-series, though AMD would tell us that the technology has been refined since initial launch. More time with the 14nm FinFET process technology has given the fab facility, and AMD, some opportunities to refine. This gives the new GPUs the ability to scale to higher clocks than they could before (though not without the cost of additional power draw). AMD has tweaked multi-monitor efficiency modes, allowing idle power consumption to drop a handful of watts thanks to a tweaked pixel clock.
Maybe the most substantial change with this RX 580 release is the unleashing of any kind of power consumption constraints for the board partners. The Radeon RX 480 launch was marred with issues surrounding the amount of power AMD claimed the boards would use compared to how much they DID use. This time around, all RX 580 graphics cards will ship with AT LEAST an 8-pin power connector, opening overclocked models to use as much as 225 watts. Some cards will have an 8+6-pin configuration to go even higher. Considering the RX 480 launched with a supposed 150 watt TDP (that it never lived up to), that’s quite an increase.
AMD is hoping to convince gamers that Radeon Chill is a good solution to help some specific instances of excessive power draw. Recent drivers have added support for games like League of Legends and DOTA 2, adding to The Witcher 3, Dues Ex: Mankind Divided and more. I will freely admit that while the technology behind Chill sounds impressive, I don’t have the experience with it yet to claim or counterclaim its supposed advantages…without sacrificing user experience.
Subject: Graphics Cards | March 1, 2017 - 05:04 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: video card, RX 580, RX 570, RX 560, RX 550, rx 480, rumor, report, rebrand, radeon, graphics, gpu, amd
According to a report from VideoCardz.com we can expect AMD Radeon RX 500-series graphics cards next month, with an April 4th launch of the RX 580 and RX 570, and subsequent RX 560/550 launch on April 11. The bad news? According to the report "all cards, except RX 550, are most likely rebranded from Radeon RX 400 series".
Until official confirmation on specs arrive, this is still speculative; however, if Vega is not ready for an April launch and AMD will indeed be refreshing their Radeon lineup, an R9 300-series speed bump/rebrand is not out of the realm of possibility. VideoCardz offers (unconfirmed, at this point) specs of the upcoming RX 500-series cards, with RX 400 numbers for comparison:
Chart credit: VideoCardz.com
The first graph shows the increased GPU boost clock speed of ~1340 MHz for the rumored RX 580, with the existing RX 480 clocked at 1266 MHz. Both would be Polaris 10 GPUs with otherwise identical specs. The same largely holds for the rumored specs on the RX 570, though this GPU would presumably be shipping with faster memory clocks as well. On the RX 560 side, however, the Polaris 11 powered replacement for the RX 460 might be based on the 1024-core variant we have seen from the Chinese market.
Chart credit: VideoCardz.com
No specifics on the RX 550 are yet known, which VideoCardz says "is most likely equipped with Polaris 12, a new low-end GPU". These rumors come via heise.de (German language), who state that those "hoping for Vega-card will be disappointed - the cards are intended to be rebrands with known GPUs". We will have to wait until next month to know for sure, but even if this is the case, expect faster clocks and better performance for the same money.
Subject: General Tech | February 28, 2017 - 05:46 PM | Ken Addison
Tagged: amd, Vega, radeon rx vega, radeon, gdc 2017, capsaicin, rtg, HBCC, FP16
Today at the AMD Capsaicin & Cream event at GDC 2017, Senior VP of the Radeon Technologies Group, Raja Koduri officially revealed the branding that AMD will use for their next generation GPU products.
While we usually see final product branding deviate from their architectural code names (e.g. Polaris becoming the Radeon RX 460, 470 and 480), AMD this time has decided to embrace the code name for the retail naming scheme for upcoming graphics cards featuring the new GPU – Radeon RX Vega.
However, we didn't just get a name for Vega-based GPUs. Raja also went into some further detail and showed some examples of technologies found in Vega.
First off is the High-Bandwidth Cache Controller found in Vega products. We covered this technology during our Vega architecture preview last month at CES, but today we finally saw a demo of this technology in action.
Essentially, the High-Bandwidth Cache Controller (HBCC) allows Vega GPUs to address all available memory in the system (including things like NVMe SSDs, system DRAM and network storage.) AMD claims that by using the already fast memory you have available on your PC to augment onboard GPU memory (such as HBM2) they will be able to offer less expensive graphics cards that ultimately offer access to much more memory than current graphics cards.
The demo that they showed on stage featured Deus Ex: Mankind Divided running on a system with a Vega GPU running with 2GB of VRAM, and Ryzen CPU. By turning HBCC on, they were able to show a 50% increase in average FPS, and a 100% increase in minimum FPS.
While we probably won't actually see a Vega product with such a small VRAM implementation, it was impressive to see how HBCC was able to dramatically improve the playability of a 2GB GPU on a game that has no special optimizations to take advantage of the High-Bandwidth Cache.
The other impressive demo running on Vega at the Capsaicin & Cream event centered around what AMD is calling Rapid Pack Math.
Rapid Pack Math is an implementation of something we have been hearing and theorizing a lot about lately, the use of FP16 shaders for some graphic effects in games. By using half-precision FP16 shaders instead of the current standard FP32 shaders, developers are able to get more performance out of the same GPU cores. In specific, Rapid Pack Math allows developers to run half-precision FP16 shaders at exactly 2X the speed of traditional standard-precision FP32 shaders.
While the lower precision of FP16 shaders won't be appropriate for all GPU effects, AMD was showing a comparison of their TressFX hair rendering technology running on both standard and half-precision shaders. As you might expect, AMD was able to render twice the amount of hair strands per second, making for a much more fluid experience.
Just like we saw with the lead up to the Polaris GPU launch, AMD seems to be releasing a steady stream of information on Vega. Now that we have the official branding for Vega, we eagerly await getting our hands on these new High-end GPUs from AMD.
Subject: Graphics Cards | January 31, 2017 - 11:18 AM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: rx 460, radeon, giveaway, contest, buildapc, amd
As part of our partnership with AMD to take a look at the Radeon RX 460 as a budget gaming graphics solution, we are giving away the computer we built for our testing. If you missed our previous stories, shame on you. Check them out here:
- Building a Budget PC with the Radeon RX 460: Part 1
- Building a Budget PC with the Radeon RX 460: Part 2
Check out the embeded block below to see how you can win our system. It is a global giveaway, so feel free to enter no matter where you live! Thanks again to AMD for providing the hardware for this build!
Subject: Graphics Cards | January 18, 2017 - 08:43 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: video, unlock, shaders, shader cores, sapphire, radeon, Polaris, graphics, gpu, gaming, card, bios, amd, 1024
As reported by WCCFtech, AMD partner Sapphire has a new 1024 stream processor version of the RX460 listed on their site (Chinese language), and this product reveal of course comes after it became known that RX460 graphics cards had the potential to have their stream processor count unlocked from 896 to 1024 via BIOS update.
Sapphire RX460 1024SP 4G D5 Ultra Platinum OC (image credit: Sapphire)
The Sapphire RX460 1024SP edition offers a full Polaris 11 core operating at 1250 MHz, and it otherwise matches the specifications of a stock RX460 graphics card. Whether this product will be available outside of China is unknown, as is the potential pricing model should it be available in the USA. A 4GB Radeon RX460 retails for $99, while the current step-up option is the RX470, which doubles up on this 1024SP RX460's shader count with 2048, with a price increase of about 70% ($169).
AMD Polaris GCN 4.0 GPU lineup (Credit WCCFtech)
As you may note from the chart above, there is also an RX470D option between these cards that features 1792 shaders, though this option is also China-only.
Performance and Impressions
This content was sponsored by AMD.
Last week in part 1 of our look at the Radeon RX 460 as a budget gaming GPU, I detailed our progress through component selection. Centered around an XFX 2GB version of the Radeon RX 460, we built a machine using an Intel Core i3-6100, ASUS H110M motherboard, 8GB of DDR4 memory, both an SSD and a HDD, as well as an EVGA power supply and Corsair chassis. Part 1 discussed the reasons for our hardware selections as well as an unboxing and preview of the giveaway to come.
In today's short write up and video, I will discuss my impressions of the system overall as well as touch on the performance in a handful of games. Despite the low the price, and despite the budget moniker attributed to this build, a budding PC gamer or converted console gamer will find plenty of capability in this system.
Let's quickly recap the components making up our RX 460 budget build.
Our Radeon RX 460 Build
|Budget Radeon RX 460 Build|
|Processor||Intel Core i3-6100 - $109|
|Cooler||CRYORIG M9i - $19|
|Motherboard||ASUS H110M-A/M.2 - $54|
|Memory||2 x 4GB Crucial Ballistix DDR4-2400 - $51|
|Graphics Card||XFX Radeon RX 460 2GB - $98|
|Storage||240GB Sandisk SSD Plus - $68
1TB Western Digital Blue - $49
|Case||Corsair Carbide Series 88R - $49|
|Power Supply||EVGA 500 Watt - $42|
|Monitor||Nixues VUE24A 1080p 144Hz FreeSync - $251|
|Total Price||$549 on Amazon; $799 with monitor on Amazon|
For just $549 I was able to create shopping list of hardware that provides very impressive performance for the investment.
The completed system is damn nice looking, if I do say so myself. The Corsair Carbide 88R case sports a matte black finish with a large window to peer in at the hardware contained within. Coupled with the Nixeus FreeSync display and some Logitech G mouse and keyboard hardware we love, this is a configuration that any PC gamer would be proud to display.