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.

continued...

Conclusion

Today AMD has launched another Polaris refresh, the AMD Radeon RX 590 with a suggested retail price of $279.99 is the new GPU on the block. This GPU is a refresh of the Radeon RX 580, which is a refresh of the Radeon RX 480. However, this time AMD has moved the GPU to a new 12nm FinFET process that does improve efficiency. AMD chose to increase the clock speeds as high as possible without demanding a very high TDP. The result is a 590 GPU that has a 15% higher core clock and 12% (or thereabouts) performance boost over the Radeon RX 580 reference spec.

AMD sent an XFX Radeon RX 590 Fatboy OC+ video card to use for review. To our understanding there will be no "reference" cards for the 590. The Fatboy is a fully custom video card based around the new Radeon RX 590 GPU. This video card pushes the default 1545MHz Radeon RX 590 clock speed to 1580MHz out of the box. The Fatboy is 1.75" thick, so it pushes into a 3-slot slot design and it has dual-fans. The XFX Radeon RX 590 Fatboy OC+ has a suggested price of $279.99, with 8GB of GDDR5, and that wonderful three game launch bundle from AMD. The Fatboy is already showing up online at its MSRP pricing as well!

Performance

It is important to recognize where AMD is targeting performance with the AMD Radeon RX 590. AMD is targeting that sweet spot range in 1080p gaming to offer "maximum" game settings in today’s latest titles. AMD recognizes that games are becoming more demanding, and even at 1080p greater GPU performance is needed. The Radeon RX 590 targets 1080p gaming perfectly, and of course is meant to put the pressure on NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX 1060 6GB factory overclocked video cards.

It seems AMD has targeted this video card well. Our XFX Radeon RX 590 Fatboy OC+ delivers an exceptional 1080p experience in all of these games played here today. We have a lot of current 2018 games, and some older games, and the RX 590 Fatboy excels in all of these. Some of the newest games like Call of Duty Black Ops 4, Forza Horizon 4, and Shadow of the Tomb Raider, all perform great at 1080p with maximum game settings with the Fatboy.

Even in the very demanding Kingdom Come: Deliverance we are able to play at 1080p with maximum IQ settings, maximum distance sliders, and the highest form of SMAA with the RX 590. The only game that was a bit challenging for the RX 590 at 1080p was Shadow of the Tomb Raider when running SMAA 4X. However, SMAA T2X played perfectly fine, well over 60FPS. In fact, that’s a key point here! Even at the highest game IQ settings at 1080p, most game performance was around the 60FPS mark with the XFX Radeon RX 590 Fatboy OC+.

Another point we need to make is how the XFX Radeon RX 590 Fatboy OC+ exceeds expectations at 1440p. We did not expect the gaming performance we experienced at 1440p. We actually had several instances of games running at maximum game IQ settings at 1440p with exceptional performance on the XFX Radeon RX 590 Fatboy OC+.

Call of Duty Black Ops 4 was running great at 1440p with its highest in-game settings averaging above 60FPS and dropping only into 40 FPS range at the lowest. Far Cry 5 is playable at the highest in-game settings and with the XFX RX 590 Fatboy gives us 55FPS average with lows around 45. Forza Horizon 4 runs great at 1440p with 2X MSAA and "Extreme" settings in the game and still averages 60FPS. Wolfenstein II The New Colossus runs at a whopping 75FPS average at 1440p with the highest in-game settings and only drops to 60FPS. This is surely a win for the XFX Radeon RX 590 Fatboy OC+.

Beats the Overclocked GTX 1060

It’s no secret that AMD wanted to target the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 6GB factory overclocked video cards with the RX 590. AMD wanted to finally put the nail in the coffin in this price range at 1080p and seal the deal. The AMD Radeon RX 590 certainly seals the deal. In all gaming instances at 1080p and 1440p the XFX Radeon RX 590 Fatboy OC+ is faster than the EVGA GTX 1060 SSC GAMING. When overclocked the Fatboy exceeds performance even more even and we also overclocked the GTX 1060 to its maximum potential. There are 20%+ performance advantages with the XFX Radeon RX 590 Fatboy over the EVGA GTX 1060 SSC GAMING. That is a very large performance advantage for gamers.

The XFX Radeon RX 590 Fatboy simply exceeds the gameplay experience of the EVGA GTX 1060 SSC GAMING video card. The Fatboy allows higher playable settings, and a smoother experience at 1080p. The EVGA GTX 1060 SSC GAMING doesn’t hold up well at 1440p. The XFX Radeon RX 590 Fatboy actually allows a great gameplay experience at 1440p.

Not Much Faster than a RX 580?

The performance advantage the Radeon RX 590 is going to bring versus the Radeon RX 580 is going to depend on the cards' clock speeds. The PowerColor Red Devil RX 580 Golden Sample video card we used for comparison today is a highly overclocked Radeon RX 580 video card. It runs at 1425MHz, while the reference RX 580 spec is 1340MHz. Therefore, we were testing the new RX 590 against a highly overclocked video card. If you have a lower clocked RX 580, then the RX 590 will show even greater advantages.

The benefit and key feature of the Radeon RX 590 that is going to separate it from the Radeon RX 580 is its potential for overclocking. Even our XFX Radeon RX 590 Fatboy OC+ was stock-clocked at rather conservative clock speeds compared to the 12nm FinFET RX 590’s overclocking potential. We were able to take it from 1580MHz up another 90MHz to 1670MHz. When the 590 is overclocked that high is when you see it provide the kind of performance advantages over the Radeon RX 580 that you are looking for.

The RX 590 GPU needs to be backed up by a video card design that can overclock it well. Then you will be getting the full advantage of the Radeon RX 590 GPU. What separates the Radeon RX 580 and the Radeon RX 590 is the 590’s ability to be clocked much higher than the RX 580 ever could.

Pricing

Of course, pricing is paramount when choosing a video card in this price range. When looking at Radeon RX 580 pricing lately, it is all over the place. Looking at pricing for 8GB Radeon RX 580 cards, street pricing seems to start with some great sales at $199 up to the mid $250 range. Keep in mind though that the Radeon RX 590 is not meant to be an upgrade path for people already with Radeon RX 580 cards. The Radeon RX 590 is more of an upgrade path for gamers holding onto older video cards in this price range but want the ultimate performance now in 2018 without waiting longer.

Since the XFX Radeon RX 590 Fatboy OC+ has much more potential for overclocking, the price tag of $279.99 looks pretty good. No RX 580 can match what the RX 590 offers in clock speed, even the most expensive 580 cards. For $30-$40 more you get an RX 590 video card that has a lot of enthusiast overclocking potential. This price is also cheaper than some highly factory overclocked GeForce GTX 1060 6GB video cards. The highly overclocked 1060 card we used in this review is still $309. That makes the XFX Radeon RX 590 Fatboy OC+ at $279.99 a hell of a value since it beats the GTX 1060 in every way, including price!


The Bottom Line

AMD has pushed its Polaris architecture further. First it refreshed the Radeon RX 480 with the Radeon RX 580 offering better performance. Now AMD has pushed Polaris to new heights with a 12nm FinFET manufacturing process and has been able to ramp up the clock speed by a considerable amount. The Radeon RX 590 impresses us with its ability for overclocking. The 1545MHz clock speed seems a bit conservative, as we were able to get it up to 1670MHz with voltage. That’s a massive bump in performance that was advantageous in gaming at 1080p and 1440p. That is the key though, to get the most out of the Radeon RX 590 you will want to overclock it. The RX 590 might just be the next exciting GPU for enthusiasts!

XFX has put together a great video card with the XFX Radeon RX 590 Fatboy OC+. XFX's almost 3-slot video card did impress us with its overclocking ability, even if the default fan curve is a little lacking. With quiet operation, and a top-notch gaming experience at 1080p, and acceptable gaming even at 1440p, the XFX Radeon RX 590 Fatboy OC+ earns top marks.

Say bye-bye to the GeForce GTX 1060 6GB, because it just isn’t relevant anymore. The Radeon RX 590 GPU with 8GB of VRAM is just simply the way to go in this midrange price-point.

Article Image

(XFX Radeon RX 590 Fatboy OC+)

Discussion