AMD Radeon RX 480 8GB CrossFire Review

We were lucky enough to get our hands on two AMD Radeon RX 480 8GB video cards last week. We configured these in CrossFire to find out if $480 of brand new AMD GPUs can beat NVIDIA's new $700 GeForce GTX 1080 Founders Edition, just like Raja Koduri suggested to enthusiasts from Computex. And we throw in GeForce GTX 1070 too.

Introduction

Raja Koduri, Senior Vice President and Chief Architect, Radeon Technologies Group, suggested to the world that AMD's "$400 solution," could beat "NVIDIA's "$700 solution" in PC gaming when he introduced the new AMD RX 480 video card to the world a little over a month ago.

While we are not using AMD's 4GB RX 480 $200 cards here today as suggested in the video, but rather 8GB RX 480 cards that we paid $240 each for, so we truly have an AMD "$480 solution," but we think that the AMD vs. NVIDIA comparison suggested by Koduri still rings true.

We are going review two AMD Radeon RX 480 8GB video cards configured in CrossFire. You can read our single card AMD Radeon RX 480 Review here in case you have missed it. In that review you will find all the needed detail on specifications and features of the new 4th generation GCN architecture in the AMD Radeon RX 480, as we are not going to repeat all that in this review.

What makes the Radeon RX 480 unique is the pricing. As mentioned above, the 4GB model is ~$199, and the 8GB model street price ranges from $229 to $249.

When you compare the competition's current pricing, it puts AMD Radeon RX 480 CrossFire in a positive light, at least in terms of pricing. The GeForce GTX 1080 Founders Edition is a $650 to $699 video card. Even if you go for a custom cooled GeForce GTX 1080 you will still be in the $700 range, well above the cost of AMD Radeon RX 480 CrossFire. In terms of pricing, the GeForce GTX 1070 Founders Edition at $449 is closer in price to AMD Radeon RX 480 CrossFire.

What we are going to find out in today's review is how AMD Radeon RX 480 CrossFire compares in performance to GeForce GTX 1080 Founders Edition and GeForce GTX 1070 Founders Edition. We will find out what AMD's $480 combined price can buy you in terms of performance compared to the competitions latest Pascal single-GPU video cards, and see how pricing lines up based on performance.


GPU Clock and Temperature in CrossFire

Since we have two operating video cards in CrossFire in our open test bench we wanted to run clock speed over time and temperature testing to determine if throttling is occurring. We are showing the warmest card out of the two, which is the primary video card. We experienced GPU temps as high as 89c while gaming, definitely hotter than just a single AMD Radeon RX 480.

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You can see that even though this video card got quite warm, 89c at the hottest, the clock speed never throttled to the base clock of 1120MHz. It of course cannot sustain 1266MHz, but it never dropped below 1200MHz. The average clock speed was 1257MHz while gaming in CrossFire. This is only slightly lower than a single AMD Radeon RX 480 8GB video card. Based on this information we can say CrossFire is affecting the clock speeds negatively, but not by any degree that would negatively affect real world gaming performance-wise.

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Temperatures are the biggest difference running RX 480CrossFire, the GPU temp is much higher in CrossFire versus a single video card. The automatic default GPU temperature at which performance will start throttling is 90c, therefore we are very close to, but not above that limit after 30 minutes of playing a game.