RX 480 Launches, Added to Superb and Excellent Tiers


Here it is! After months of waiting (technically a year, if you have been waiting since the last AMD release), the RX 480 has finally been released. AMD’s new graphics card is made with their new 14nm manufacturing process, setting expectations sky-high. The price is also generously low, and the anticipation levels have been off the charts! So how does it do? Let us take a look. (Sources listed at the bottom.)

The Performance Summary:

  1. Tom’s Hardware ranks this card just below the GTX 970 and R9 390, but not by much.
  2. TechPowerUp, AnandTech, PC Perspective, Hexus, HardwareCanucks, and KitGuru rank the card at slightly above the GTX 970 and R9 390.
  3. LegitReviews, GamerNexus and HardOCP rank the card on par with the GTX 970 and R9 390.

The Details:

  1. All reviews mention that the cards does considerably better on DirectX 12, where it can beat the GTX 980, never mind the 970! This could be a very good thing for upcoming DX12 games, such as Deus Ex Mankind Divided and Battlefield 1.
  2. The reviews unanimously praise the card’s overall power consumption, but some note that it exceeds the standard power draw limits (drawing 86W from the PCIe slot, instead of 75W)
  3. Most lament the higher temperatures of the cooler on the reference card.
  4. Most of the reviews note that the reference cooler does well on the noise. As good as NVIDIA’s reference cards? No, but this is something to note, considering the horrible reference jet engines of AMD’s 290/290X.
  5. Overclocking results are mixed, with some reviewers getting up to 10% OC, and some getting barely 2%.


This is a good launch for AMD. The card is, on average, very slightly better than the GTX 970 and R9 390, and cheaper (assuming you find it for the suggested price of $229 for the 8GB and $199 for the 4GB). Once non-reference versions are out, with better temperatures, this graphics card should be a great purchase.

For us at Logical Increments, the RX 480 has replaced the R9 380X immediately, and it will replace the GTX 970 and R9 390 in time, unless their prices drop. As the prices of the R9 390 and GTX 970 are currently close to the RX 480, we will keep them as alternatives for now. Unlike the 480, they are widely available for sale, and the performance is roughly the same.

At last, it is over! We have the card! We know what to buy! No more waiting for new cards! Or… are there… more?

Video: Building a PC with the RX 480

If you’re interested in building a PC with the RX 480, here’s a video we made discussing just that: