Here’s How AMD’s RX 480 and 470 Change the GPU Market Completely


The RX 480 was announced recently, in an event where Raja Koduri (Senior Vice President and Chief Architect, Radeon Technologies Group) gave Linus Sebastian from LinusTechTips a brand new card to have fun with. And while it may not be the most powerful card he owns, but it’s the first Polaris 10 graphics card that uses FINFET technology shown to the world. I bet Linus has an embargo period, that’s why he’s not allowed to show off any data on the card. But we at Asidcast have found as much info as possible to make a good judgement on what an effect it will have on the market when it launches.

Those are good looking numbers for 200$ (Source: Videocardz)
Those are good looking numbers for less than 200$ (Source: Videocardz)

The Position of the RX 480 in AMD’s GCN 4.0 Ecosystem:
AMD has changed it’s naming scheme from R9 to RX, and with a new architecture, the naming is all over the place. Fret not. (Provided what I’ve understood is correct).  The Polaris 10 (Ellesmere) chip is part of their midrange cards, with the XT version in the RX 480 and the PRO version in RX 470 (Estimated) while there is another version called Polaris 11 that is focused more on power efficiency than performance, so it’ll either be used in AMD’s mobile graphics solutions, or in the lower end cards (460 and below). Vega on the other hand had recently set an October launch, and is GCN 4.0’s Flagship lineup. Cards like the the 490 and the next Fury will be using this chip. That puts the RX 480 in the sweet spot for price to performance.

RX 480 Breaks Usual Market Trends (And Succeeds):
Previously the R9 380X and 280X released at the 300$ range and competed directly with Nvidia’s next-to-flagship models GTX 970 and 770 respectively. So this card should do the same, right? Nope. It completely shatters the usual price barrier by selling for only 200$, and gets performance almost as good as last year’s AMD flagship, the 390X.

A leaked benchmark courtesy of Videocardz
A leaked benchmark courtesy of Videocardz

Before you should say “Eh, the RX 480 is in the middle, just like a mid range card”, you should note that the lower bound of this graph is a GTX 970, which is by no means a bad card. The GTX 970 was the hottest card last year, and is toppled by a “weak” RX 470 (Not Announced). The RX 480 obliterates the 980 and goes head to head with an R9 FURY. The new card has created it’s own league by being the upper middle class card that topples giants. While the 480 is a star at the moment, the 470 already seems like the affordable 1080p king of the future, provided they price it well in the 140-170$ range and give it a proper 4GB (Not 3.5GB) version. While this 200$ card destroys Nvidia in the Mid Range, the same card haunts its Enthusiast range because…

Multi GPU Setups are Going to trend Again:
The white line at the top of the graph is what amazing looks like as a crossfired 200$ card holds itself strong between the Titan X and GTX 1080. And while I know crossfire setups don’t fare that great in games but it’s only a total of 400 dollars! Plus a low TDP of 150W per card make it even more affordable. And it’s in between last year’s 1000$ supercard and Pascals current superhero that stands at 600$. WOW. This could mean serious damage to Nvidia if games implement Crossfire as Nvidia is currently trying to drop SLI Support. Even if crossfire fizzles out in a few years, DirectX 12 allows all games to use multi GPU configs very well, so it sounds like a bleak future for the green side. Nvidia 1060 GTX will have to be a power house to beat this bunch of data.

Multi GPU setups has almost become obsolete, does this card revive them?
Multi GPU setups has almost become obsolete, does this card revive them?

It has great features:
The card runs low on power as it only needs one 6 pin slot in comparison to the GTX 980 which uses 2. It has full support for decoding HEVC (h.265) video, which is a high compression format used for 4k or 60FPS that needs a beefy setup to run, but is the future of media. It contains a DisplayPort 1.4 slot, which is great for driving screens larger than 4K at 60FPS (Not useful for gaming, but a cheap tool for Photo Editors with massive screens in the future) and includes HDR, which is supported by the card too.

Who should Buy this card:
Everybody wants this card, but is the upgrade worth it?
AMDFor the Red Side running at 1080p, if you have a 370, 270X, 7950 or lower, the upgrade is definitely worth the wait, and it’s a must buy, while those with shallow wallets can opt for the 470 instead as it’s more than a decent card for 1080p gaming. If you have a R9 280X, 290, 380 or a 7970, your card is still fine for 1080p gaming and you’ll not need the upgrade this year. But if you need better FPS and have the cash, go for it. Running at 1440p or VR though, you’ll be craving that upgrade and you will see the benefits in buying this card.

NVFor the Green Side, if you have a GTX 950, 760, 680 or lower, upgrade now and don’t look back, and while the card is a lot faster than GTX 970 and 780, you wouldn’t need the extra power unless you intend to drive the oculus rift or vive. So save your money up for a better card then.
But whoever wants to get a multi GPU setup now and doesn’t want to pay for a GTX 1080, the RX 480 is worth a try.

This is all the info we have for on the new AMD cards, if you have questions, feel free to ask in the comments below.
And stay tuned for more AMD vs Nvidia only on Asidcast.