Published in Graphics

AMD Radeon begins its tenth-generation with Radeon RX 480

by on01 June 2016

Polaris 10, available June 29th

Ahead of its evening keynote at Computex 2016, AMD graphics chief Raja Koduri has just introduced what we used to call "Polaris". The company has decided on branding its tenth-generation graphics lineup the Radeon RX 400 Series, beginning first with the Radeon RX 480.

amd radeon rx 480 front

In an easily understandable format, the  "X" in the brand name implies the tenth generation. Raja has shared the specification of the chip and this is clearly a mainstream product that addresses the high-end Radeon 300 series market, as well as the Geforce GTX 960 market.

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AMD Radeon RX 480 Specifications (Larger image here)

Raja showed a card that delivers more than 5 Teraflops of single-precision performance, has 36 CUs and 256GB/s of memory bandwith. It comes in 4GB and 8GB versions, and at least one model will be “both HTC Vive Ready and Oculus Rift certified,” though no further details have been announced at this time. The difference could be card certification to meet the "Radeon VR Ready Premium" requirement, or the larger memory card could simply have a different display connector configuration.

amd radeon vr ready premium logo

AMD's Radeon RX 480 has a 150W TDP, and it does this over a single 6-pin PCI-Express connector. This is significantly less power hungry than the previous Radeon R9 390X, but meets the power requirements of Nvidia's Geforce GTX 1070. The card also gets AMD FreeSync support as well as HDMI 2.0a, DispalyPort 1.3 and DisplayPort 1.4 with HDR.

amd polaris architecture features

During the keynote, Raja noted that putting two Radeon RX 480s in CrossFireX would provide higher DirectX 12 performance in some games than a single Nvidia Geforce GTX 1080 for over $200 less. If we estimate retail Radeon RX 480 units to sell for less than $250 after tax, and if we take AMD's estimate that a single card is comparable to a single Geforce GTX 980, then having two of them in CrossFireX for around $500 is a notable alternative to the Geforce Pascal product lineup. We are sure the price-to-performance ratio is bound to change when Nvidia releases a Geforce GTX 1060, for but for now AMD has a pretty solid deal up for grabs so long as driver performance remains stable across all VR-ready game launches.

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AMD Radeon GPU product lineup, Q4 2013 – Q2 2016 (Larger image here)

Raja said that the price starts at $199 for the 4GB unit and $229 for the 8GB unit, which is really aggressive. Raja did mention that there are some "$700 VR solutions from the competition" and that with Polaris 10, the Radeon RX 480 now gets you affordable entry into the VR market starting at $199.

amd radeon rx 480 side

amd radeon rx 480 bottom

Clearly a $199 card cannot compete with GTX 1080 from Nvidia, but two RX 480 cards can get similar performance in the demonstrated game.

amd radeon rx 480 installed techradar

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Last modified on 01 June 2016
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