AMD Radeon RX 480 Video Card Review

AMD's next generation GCN GPU is here! We review the AMD Radeon RX 480 and find out what kind of gaming experience it provides at 1080p and 1440p. We compare apples-to-apples with four other video cards to find out how it compares at both resolutions. We even find out how high it will overclock! Waited for benchmarks, right?


Clock Speed Consistency

While AMD's variable power managed clock speed operates different from NVIDIA's GPU Boost, AMD has still modeled the range of clock speed based on the "Base" clock and "Boost" clock naming scheme. The RX 480 base clock is 1120MHz, and the boost clock is 1266MHz. As long as the clock speed doesn't remain below 1120MHz for extended periods of time, the card is not "throttling." What we ultimately want to see is a clock speed that is closer if not consistent with 1266MHz since that is the rated boost clock. The boost clock will never go over 1266MHz though, that is a capped limit. Note our video card is in an open test bench and the ambient temperature was 72F while testing.

Clock Speed

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We gamed in BF4 multiplayer for 30 minutes recording the clock speed over time.

This graph of the clock speed is very encouraging. The video card did hit the maximum of 1266MHz quite frequently. It did not sustain it indefinitely, but it did reach up to that level quite often. At a minimum it went down to 1209MHz. That means the clock speed was always above the 1120MHz base clock the entire time we were gaming. The average clock speed was 1260MHz, which is very close to the maximum of 1266MHz. Good stuff here for sure!!! No throttling!

Looking at these results we say the clock speed consistency over time while gaming is a success with this video card. It does not throttle and maintains a clock speed very near to its maximum boost clock the entire time. This ensures the best possible performance it can provide while gaming.


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We also took temperature readings. As you can see it takes about two minutes for the cooling system to fully saturate and reach maximum temperature. The RX 480 reached a top temperature of 85c at its highest spikes, but the average was closer to 80c while gaming over 30 minutes. This is of course the Made By AMD cooler, custom video cards will very likely run cooler. The fan was quiet the entire time, we never noticed it increasing speed or making any extra noise while gaming for long periods.