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.

Introduction

Today AMD is announcing and launching a new GPU in its mainstream Polaris GPU lineup. This is very much a refresh of an already established GPU, in fact it is a refresh of a refresh for this popular GPU since it has been refreshed already a year and a half ago. We will be evaluating a video card from XFX using this new GPU and of course overclocking it as far as possible along with the competition at 1080p and 1440p in this year’s hottest games.

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The new GPU from AMD is the AMD Radeon RX 590. The suggested retail pricing for video cards will be around the $279.99 mark. Of course, manufacturer pricing may vary depending on build and clock speeds.


History Lesson

When you get down to the basics what you have is a GPU that’s really been refreshed twice. The Radeon RX 480 was launched in June of 2016. It ran at a clock speed of 1120MHz Base Clock / 1266MHz Boost Clock with variations of 4GB and 8GB models. Almost a year later AMD re-organized a new RX 500 series and refreshed the Radeon RX 480 with the new Radeon RX 580 in April of 2017.

This refresh brought higher clocks to the Radeon RX 480, now 580, with the 580 having a clock speed of 1257MHz Base Clock / 1340MHz Boost Clock. That’s a clock speed increase of just 6%. Otherwise everything about the GPUs was the same, same manufacturing process, same generation, same memory configuration. AMD dubbed this "Polaris Refined."

While this was a small bump in clock speed, thankfully manufacturers came out with much higher clock speeds on custom cards, like the PowerColor Red Devil Golden Sample clocked at 1425MHz linked above. That’s a nice 12.5% clock speed increase over the Radeon RX 480. Video cards like the PowerColor with higher clock speeds made the Radeon RX 580 a very successful GPU for AMD. The improved performance was just what the Radeon RX 480 needed to be competitive.


The Twice Baked Radeon RX 590

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Now we come to AMD’s next trick, the Radeon RX 590 is the new kid on the block, but it is a refresh of the Radeon RX 580 which is a refresh of the Radeon RX 480. Though, with a new trick up its sleeve. This time with a new manufacturing process.

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That’s the big news here, instead of the Radeon RX 590 being manufactured on the 14nm FinFET process like the Radeon RX 580 or Radeon RX 480, AMD has upped the ante and manufactured the Radeon RX 590 on a new 12nm FinFET process. AMD once again dubs this "Polaris Refined." At least this time, the process improvement will bring larger clock speed improvements than the refinement of the Radeon RX 580.

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What you will see in a nutshell is a 15% clock speed improvement with Radeon RX 590 which should yield a 12% boost in performance over Radeon RX 580. Of course, manufacturer cards with custom clock speeds will vary and improve those performance numbers. That will be the real key here, is how much faster custom cards will be on clock speed and how high you can overclock them versus the default specification for the RX 590. The overclock potential is going to be way higher for RX 590 than it was for RX 580.

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Now where does the AMD Radeon RX 590 target? Well AMD is targeting the 1080p AAA game title or E-Sports gaming crowd with this video card. AMD wants to target that sweet spot again in the market place and give gamers at 1080p the option of running the latest games at the highest maxed out settings at 1080p. The Radeon RX 590 still very much competes with the GeForce GTX 1060 6GB, but certainly factory overclocked video cards and manually overclocked GTX 1060’s. The Radeon RX 590 is no where on the level of the GTX 1070 or Vega 56, those cards are still way out of the 590’s league.

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What is the new clock speed you ask? The clock speeds will be 1469MHz Base Clock / 1545MHz Boost Clock. It is the boost clock you want to pay attention to, this is the frequency the default specification is for the new Radeon RX 590. Compared to the Radeon RX 580 that is a 15% improvement in clock speed, and compared to Radeon RX 480 that’s a big 22% improvement in clock speed. Otherwise, everything about the GPU is the same. It’s the same Polaris architecture, it has the same 36 Compute Units, same 2304 Streaming Processors, same 8GB of GDDR5 on a 256-bit bus at 8GHz. TDP is 225W, but this will also vary by manufacturer card as clock speeds will be different.

To sweeten the deal, AMD is also offering a game launch bundle with all Radeon RX 590 purchases. You will get The Division 2, Resident Evil 2 and Devil May Cry 5 which is about $150 worth of games or more right there.