XFX Radeon RX 590 Fatboy OC+ Video Card Review

AMD is launching the new Radeon RX 590 GPU today, and we have a custom XFX Radeon RX 590 Fatboy OC+ video card to evaluate. With a high factory overclock, and potential for overclocking, we will compare this video card with the EVGA GTX 1060 SSC overclocked and test at 1080p and 1440p gaming.

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Power and Temp

We tested the power utilization at the wall of the entire system. For full load game testing we used real gaming. The power supply is a Seasonic Prime 1000W Titanium.

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The XFX RX 590 Fatboy OC+ at default configuration peaked at 350W system Wattage while gaming. This is only slightly higher than the PowerColor Red Devil RX 580 Golden Sample at 347W peak. Considering the XFX RX 590 Fatboy OC+ is clocked at 1580MHz and the PowerColor at 1425MHz this shows efficiency improvements in the new RX 590 GPU. It is able to run at a higher frequency and draw nearly the same Wattage as a lesser clocked RX 580.

Though the peak was 350W on the XFX Radeon RX 590 Fatboy OC+ it averages in games in the 320's to 330's wattage most of the time. There are even some games that it was only around 300W of usage. This will naturally depend on the game. That power range was right on par with the PowerColor Red Devil RX 580 Golden Sample clocked at 1425MHz. It also was averaging in the 330’s Wattage most of the time while gaming. The two cards were very similar in power draw, despite the XFX RX 590 Fatboy being ~10% faster in games.

When we overclock the XFX RX 590 Fatboy the peak Wattage goes up to 387W in our testing. The average while gaming most of the time though was observed to be in the 370 Wattage range. This is with maximum voltage applied via MSI Afterburner and maximum power target.

Clearly, NVIDIA still has a major advantage on efficiency with the GeForce GTX 1060. The EVGA GTX 1060 SSC GAMING peaked at 235W while gaming, and overclocked only hit 260W maximum. That said, it was always the slower video card in all the testing, and even overclocked was underperforming the XFX Radeon RX 590 Fatboy by quite a bit.

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You can see from our graph and results that we sustained at 80c for quite a time while gaming with the default fan speeds. This is with the dual-BIOS position in its default configuration "closest to the PCIe connectors." There might be some confusion over what power mode the video card is in by default, as it appears "Quiet" mode might be the default configuration. Please read below for more information.

80c isn’t holding the XFX RX 590 GPU back, as we observed it is 100% stable at 1580MHz consistently without throttling. However, we do wonder what this would be like in a cramped case or in a case with poor cooling. It may be right on the line of being consistent at those temps. By simply increasing the fan speed a bit and creating a custom fan curve the temperature can be lowered quite easily, or by switching the BIOS mode.

When you overclock the GPU you definitely want to increase the fan speed. Do not leave these at default for overclocking, you will hit those throttles early on. With the fans at 100% and maximum voltage and clock speed at 1670MHz the GPU runs great at 61c and temperature isn’t holding it back. The fans, as we said, are very quiet, even at 100% fan speed. They are more quiet than the EVGA GTX 1060 SSC GAMING video cards fans at 100%.


BIOS Switch Performance/Quiet Mode

This is an update to our review post-publication. Feedback from our readers in regards to the XFX Radeon RX 590 Fatboy OC+ default GPU temperatures has prompted us to clarify the BIOS switch on top of this video card. This video card, like many Radeon cards, has a dual-BIOS switch. In the case of this card it is right next to the PCIe connectors. The dual-BIOS serves two functions, it gives you a backup BIOS incase you fowl things up. The other thing it does is control two different fan performance modes called "Performance" or "Quiet" mode. Typically, manufacturers ship the cards in the "Performance" mode. This basically means a more aggressive fan profile, while Quiet Mode provides a quieter operation using less fan speed. It should only affect GPU temperatures and noise, not performance.

For the record our BIOS switch is in the default position closest to that of the PCIe connectors. We reached out to XFX to ask what the default BIOS position should be for shipping video cards and the answer is: "Should be shipping in the performance position, which should be closer to the power connectors." This is how our video card (and as we are seeing from other reviews across the Internet) all other XFX Fatboy’s are shipping in. Other reviews of the XFX Fatboy are also showing 80c temps, just like ours. This is how we tested the card, and we always use the default hardware configuration.

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Doing some testing post-publication, we switched the BIOS around to see what would happen. To our surprise we received an uplift on the fan speed when gaming. With the BIOS switch in the opposite position (counter to the XFX default shipping configuration) the fans now spin up to 62% fan speed and the GPU temperature hits a maximum of 70c while gaming.

This is a big improvement from the default 80c. We confirmed also that the GPU clock speed was the same and not affected. It is important to understand performance was not affected, either way performance is exactly the same. As we showed earlier in this review at the default BIOS switch 1580MHz was achieved consistently without fluctuations in clock speed. Performance is NOT different.

There might be some confusion as to the proper or default configuration set by XFX. Therefore, we are left with a bit of confusion. XFX claims the Fatboy should be shipping in the "Performance" BIOS option with the switch closest to the PCie connectors, which ours was. However, it seems it is actually shipping in the "Quiet" BIOS position by default, despite the position of the switch to the "right" "toward the PCIe connectors" supposedly being the Performance Mode. Switching it around improved thermals for us. Normally we would think it was just our card that was set this way, but it appears all review cards are in this same BIOS position and replicate this same GPU temperature.

Note that we are awaiting more confirmation from XFX on exactly what is happening. When we receive more updates, we will update this page with that information.

We just wanted to make this very clear. A more aggressive fan profile is achievable, if you adjust the BIOS switch. It will NOT change performance, unless you are being throttled by temperature in other ways in a cramped case perhaps. Otherwise, you should be ok, 80c will not throttle the GPU clock and gives you a very quiet operation. Just be aware of this difference. Manually adjusting the fan can also get around this issue. Overclocking the video card, we used manual fan settings. None of our performance testing is affected, and it is accurate as the video card ships in this default hardware configuration.