ASUS ROG STRIX RX 480 O8G GAMING Video Card Review
We put the ASUS ROG STRIX RX 480 O8G GAMING video card through the wringer to find out how well this video card performs and overclocks against a highly overclocked MSI GTX 1060 GAMING X video card. Check out the highest overclock and fastest performance we’ve ever achieved to date with and AMD Radeon RX 480.
Today we have a very exciting AMD Radeon RX 480 GPU based video card. It’s no secret that the AMD Radeon RX 480 GPU needs a little love when it comes to its overclocking potential. Reference designed video cards just aren’t up to the task of providing high stable overclocks with power stability and cooling needed. This is all about to change as you go through this evaluation of the ASUS ROG STRIX RX 480 O8G GAMING video card. This is just about the farthest away from a reference design you can get, and that’s a good thing for the AMD Radeon RX 480 GPU.
It is no secret ASUS puts its mix of hardware features in its STRIX line of video cards. The STRIX line utilizes fully customized printed circuit boards, custom designs, custom cooling, custom additional features, and custom output selections. Everything from the ground up is customized and geared for overclocking in the ASUS STRIX line of video cards. When we got our hands on one we were extremely excited because if any video card could push the AMD Radeon RX 480 GPU to its limits, it would be an ASUS STRIX video card.
The ASUS MSRP of this video card is $299. Yes, that is a large premium over the AMD MSRP of $249 on 8GB AMD Radeon RX 480 reference designed (non-custom) video cards. However, fear not, there have been online retailer price drops, price savings, and rebates that have made the ASUS STRIX RX 480 a bit more affordable.
Prices are in extreme flux as it is the holiday season, but as of the writing of this evaluation you can find the ASUS ROG STRIX RX 480 O8G GAMING video card as low as $259.99 after $20 MIR at Amazon and Newegg. That price brings this video card down $40 from the ASUS MSRP and more in-line with custom GeForce GTX 1060 6GB video cards for competition.
There are actually two ASUS ROG STRIX RX 480 GAMING video cards available, so do not mix them up. There is the "O8G" version also called the "OC Edition" and then there is the 8G version. Simply put, the "O8G" version (OC Edition) has a higher out-of-box overclock at 1310MHz in GAMING mode and 1330MHz in OC mode. The no-O 8G model runs at 1266MHz in GAMING mode (which is out-of-box frequency) and 1286MHz in OC mode. 1266MHz is the reference AMD Radeon RX 480 GPU clock speed. The model we are evaluating is the "O8G" model which runs at 1310MHz out-of-the-box and is the frequency we will be running the card at as it is the default clock. We will also overclock the video card manually.
ASUS has designed this video card from the ground up, nothing on it even remotely looks like a reference AMD Radeon RX 480. The first noticeable thing you will notice is the very large DirectCU III cooling technology used. ASUS claims this is 30% cooler and 3X quieter than the reference design. Maximum air flow has been increased with 105% more air pressure. The three large fans on the video card have a unique fan blade design. The heatsink makes direct-GPU contact with the heatpipes and the GPU. The fans are also 0dB fans, meaning they shut off when the GPU is cool enough not to need airflow.
This video card supports ASUS FanConnect which means there are two GPU controlled fan headers on the video card itself. This allows you to plug in case fans to the video card and have those controlled via GPU demands.
The ASUS ROG STRIX RX 480 O8G GAMING uses a 6-phase Super Alloy Power II configuration. SAP II Capacitors extend the lifespan, SAP II Chokes decrease buzzing noise with concrete alloy. SAP II DrMOS FETs have decreased temperatures and increased power efficiency, and SAP II POSCAP on the back maximizes overclocking headroom.
What truly separates this video card from the rest is that the ASUS ROG STRIX model completely separates power delivery to optimize external PCIe power connector power delivery and remove demand from the PCIE slot power. This means the entire VRM and PCB now takes most of its power from the external 8-pin PCIe power connector, minimizing the power draw needed from the PCIE slot allowing it to operate well within specifications in terms of power delivery.
This was a known problem on early AMD Radeon RX 480 video cards. It was such a problem that AMD released an official response to it, with a driver release that would fix the issue. ASUS has fixed this issue, doing what perhaps AMD should have done from the beginning. ASUS has found a way to fix the problem and make sure power draw from your PCIE slot is within specification. This also applies to its ASUS Dual GTX 480 video card as well, not just STRIX. STRIX just improves upon it more by providing 100% of the power from the external power connector.
THE ASUS ROG STRIX RX 480 O8G GAMING also has ASUS AURA RG Lighting on the front of the card, the top and the backplate. You can select this to be breathing, static, strobing, color cycle, music effect or respond to GPU temperature. As we stated the "Gaming" mode runs at 1310MHz which is the out-of-box default frequency. There is a software selectable "OC" mode of 1330MHz. The default AMD Radeon RX 480 frequency is 1266MHz, so this is a decent overclock by default. Memory runs at the default 8GHz.
This video card also supports two native HDMI 2.0 ports, two native DisplayPort 1.4 ports, and a dual-link DVI-D port for plenty of display options. The dimensions are 11.73 inches in length. This is a fairly large video card, definitely bigger all around compared to a reference AMD Radeon RX 480. This video card does require an 8-pin power connector.