Fri. Feb 3rd, 2023
AMD Radeon RX 480 revealed: Polaris debuts in a £160/$200 card designed for VR

AMD’s first Polaris-based graphics card is here: the Radeon RX 480. Instead of launching a high-end card to compete with the likes of Nvidia’s GTX 1080 or 1070, AMD’s RX 480 targets the broader mainstream market, with something more then five teraflops of performance for just $199, about half the price of a GTX 1070. UK pricing is currently TBC, but it will likely be around £160. The RX 480 will be available from June 29.

Details on the Polaris architecture – which is based on AMD’s fourth-generation GCN architecture and a new 14nm FinFET manufacturing process – were thin on the ground during the unveiling of the RX 480 at Computex 2016 in Taiwan, but the company does have a few key specs revealed. The RX 480 will feature 36 computing units (CUs) – eight more than the R9 380 and just short of the R9 390’s 40 – along with some fast GDDR5 memory mated to a 256-bit memory bus for 256 GB/s to bandwidth.

The RX 480 comes in both 4GB and 8GB configurations (the former being the £160/$200 model) and supports AMD FreeSync and HDR video via the DisplayPort 1.3/1.4 and HDMI 2.0b outputs. Best of all, it has an average power consumption of just 150W, which should make it cooler and quieter than AMD’s previous generation graphics cards.

When it comes to performance, AMD isn’t quite ready to give exact numbers. Instead, the company says the RX 480’s “VR capabilities” are on par with those of £400/$500 GPUs. Indeed, VR is a key part of AMD’s pitch for the card, with the company hoping to “jump-start the growth of the addressable market for PC VR” and “accelerate the rate at which VR headsets fall in price” on both desktops as well as laptops.

While it’s unlikely that a £160/$200 graphics card from any company will help accelerate the price drops on VR headsets, the RX 480’s specs are attractive for the price and performance should, in theory, be somewhere around an R9 390 or Nvidia’s. GTX 980, depending on the RX 480’s clock speed. Considering all those cards retail for over £250/$300, that’s impressive.

That said, the techies among you may have noticed that Nvidia squeezes a lot more out of its Pascal architecture than AMD seemingly squeezes out of Polaris. The GTX 1070 has the same 150W TDP, but offers slightly better performance than the GTX 980 Ti and Titan X according to recent reviews.

But for the mainstream audience who couldn’t care less about TDP and process improvements, a £160 graphics card that plays high-end games at 1440p on the desktop and spit out VR visuals without fuss is a very attractive proposition – one that Nvidia has on just no response at the moment. Here’s hoping the RX 480 can deliver when it releases on June 29.

By akfire1

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