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AMD Radeon RX 480 (Polaris) is coming: $199 for GTX 970-like performance

By Scorpus ยท 76 replies
May 31, 2016
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  1. At Computex 2016, AMD has revealed some details about their upcoming Polaris graphics cards, in particular the RX 480. This card will be launching in June for just $199, with rated compute performance exceeding 5 TFLOPs.

    This new card isn't being positioned as a high-end competitor to Nvidia's latest products, but at this price it will certainly disrupt the mid-range market. In comparison, AMD's own Radeon R9 390 provides just over 5 TFLOPs of performance but costs $329; the RX 480 is expected to exceed the performance of this card while costing $100+ less.

    Compared to Nvidia's cards, the RX 480 will probably slot between the GeForce GTX 970 and GTX 980: cards that also retail for well over $300 right now.

    Some of the RX 480's specifications are known. The card will feature 36 compute units for 2,304 stream processors, and a TDP around 150W. There will also be a 256-bit GDDR5 memory system providing 256 GB/s of bandwidth to either 4 or 8 GB of VRAM. AMD says the Polaris GPU in this card is manufactured using a 14nm FinFET process.

    We won't be seeing AMD's new high-performance cards until later on – the last-gen R9 Nano achieves over 8 TFLOPs, which is still well above the RX 480 – but we are starting to see what Polaris is made of. This card is set to reduce the cost of entry to virtual reality, which was one of AMD's main goals with their new architecture.

    AMD Radeon
    RX 480
    AMD Radeon
    R9 390
    AMD Radeon
    R9 390X
    TFLOPs >5 TFLOPs 5.1 TFLOPs 5.9 TFLOPs
    VRAM 4GB & 8GB 8GB 8GB
    Stream Processors 2304 (36 CUs) 2560 (40 CUs) 2816 (44 CUs)
    Texture Units (Many) 160 176
    ROPs (A Positive Integer) 64 64
    Boost Clock >1.08GHz 1000MHz 1050MHz
    Memory Clock 8Gbps GDDR5 5Gbps GDDR5 5Gbps GDDR5
    Memory Bus Width 256-bit 512-bit 512-bit
    Manufacturing Process 14nm FinFET TSMC 28nm TSMC 28nm
    Typical Board Power 150W 275W 275W

    Permalink to story.

    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 1, 2016
  2. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 1,786   +1,007

    Looks like 1440p is now mainstream.
  3. Tibeardius

    Tibeardius TS Booster Posts: 64   +42

    So excited to see the benchmarks. I may step down a tier but up 2 generations. 290 vs 480x.
  4. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,891   +1,262

    So $199 for the 4GB version and $239-249 for the 8GB version judging by Koduri's "sub $500 crossfire" cost quote.
    Looks like performance isn't the only thing the card shares with the GTX 970. Short PCB, overhanging blower, and awkward PCI-E power plug placement
    jauffins likes this.
  5. Adhmuz

    Adhmuz TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,769   +598

    Don't count your chickens before your eggs hatch.

    The price is very attractive, two of these could potentially churn out some serious numbers if scaling is good, they should easily beat the GTX 1070 for more or less the same amount of money. And thank god they brought the power requirements down, but with that kind of die reduction from what it's replacing you could only expect that. Too bad no HBM, guess AMD is saving that for Vega after all.
  6. hahahanoobs

    hahahanoobs TS Evangelist Posts: 1,911   +593

    I watched the event live and I would sum it up as boring and awkward in my opinion.

    Raja kicks off the event by talking vaguely about VR, then VR applications, then Vulkan, then back to VR, then games in general, PC gamers, back to VR, then finally Polaris. He talks a bit more about nothing really, 2.5x efficiency, bringing their premium cooler from their Fiji cards to the mainstream bla bla and then he finally announces the RX 480. He picks up the card from the table behind him and he holds it up followed by 10 or so seconds of dead silence. After he reveals the $199 price you are reminded there is an audience when they cheer and clap. It was quite weird. I don't know how else to decribe it. Some people in the chat weren't very impressed by the presentation. I couldn't disagree.

    The performance numbers AMD had consisted of two ($200) 480's against a $700 GTX 1080. Clearly AMD used the Founders Edition as comparison to amaze us even though we won't see Polaris on shelves before $599 AIB 1080's would be readily available. The game they used was AoTS (no surprise there), beating the 1080 by 3fps for "$200" less. They also showed the Doom demo hyping Vulkan, but never giving any other comparison to any other cards including their own. And no single GPU numbers or comparisons. This all took about 15 minutes while Raja stuttered and paused numerous times throughout. I was glad when it was over.

    Lisa Su comes on stage and talks about the AM4 platform, Summit Ridge everywhere bla bla...

    Then came Zen. Mrs. Su showed a chip she said was Zen. She repeated what was on the slides we've all seen about the 40% improvement bla bla bla. I think she said something about it being in the early stages of something, but assured everyone that Zen was "really good". At least she didn't call it an "Overclockers Dream". She ended by giving the fans "one last view of Zen".

    Oh yea, she did mention a $300 Polaris GPU, meaning Raja showed us the $200 version - I guess.

    All said and done the whole presentation was quite boring and looked thrown together at the last minute to be honest. Maybe they should of delayed their party until after the presentation.

    I cannot wait until the 29th for the full monty. I also can't wait to see what nVIDIA does with the GTX 1060 and GTX 1050. Anything could happen in 29 days.

    *Edited for spelling
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2016
  7. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 1,786   +1,007

    AMD may have used best case scenarios but so did Nvidia to an even larger extent. I guess it would have been more exciting if they had claimed 2.5x performance..........................................(in VR) like Nvidia had.

    It honestly sounds like you had no genuine interest in it if you are inserting "blaa blaa blaa". I believe that's a mannerism, not actually what happened. What you really wanted to say was that AMD's presentation was more straightforward and not a bro-fest like Nvidia press events.
    Ego0720 likes this.
  8. pencea

    pencea TS Booster Posts: 56   +17

    I don't find anything awkward at all. If anything AMD's event are more straight forward, even the audience members seems more matured, while Nvidia's one was full of nosy people, specially that one girl constantly grasping over anything Nvidia says.
    Auth3ntic0 likes this.
  9. hahahanoobs

    hahahanoobs TS Evangelist Posts: 1,911   +593

    The bla's took the place of what we already knew as well as the parts related to Polaris and Zen I didn't watch the event for. As you can see, I wrote quite a lot and wanted to hit on what we hadn't already heard. You can always watch the presentation in its entirety on your own time and make any comment you want afterward.

    Just make sure you're wide awake beforehand.
  10. hahahanoobs

    hahahanoobs TS Evangelist Posts: 1,911   +593

    There's nothing better than showing a new consumer graphics card to a more matured crowd. That's for sure...

    The girl in the audience at GTC was funny though. Admit it.

    -...the GTX 1080 for $599 MSRP

    -1080 WHAT?!

    -But I have more.


    -GTX 1070

    -10-7 WHAT?!!?
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2016
  11. Nero7

    Nero7 TS Addict Posts: 231   +72

    New AMD cards seem to have what new Nvidia cards seriously lack... decent pricing.
    Godel, Rage3D, wiyosaya and 2 others like this.
  12. deemon

    deemon TS Addict Posts: 243   +66

    In a nutshell: "we made 25% cheaper GTX 970 / R9 390".

    Will it be better bang for the buck than 1070? Maybe slightly, but ... so is intel iGPU (which comes "free" with new CPU).

    Will be waiting for actual benchmarks and reviews.

    if you don't count the "greedy edition" pricing, the MSRP for 1070 seems rather well priced for the single card performance IMO. 8GB RX 480 is ~58% of GTX 1070 price, whereas being also about the same amount of performance.

    Yes, thanks to GTX 1070. Sadly no support from AMD by the looks of this news :-(
    RX 480 is purely 1080p GPU.

    I don't cheer and frolic on wake either and at least try to act mature... just saying.
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2016
  13. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,891   +1,262

    Certainly lacked enthusiasm, and maybe the audience were given complimentary tabs of Xanax before the presentation. I don't think you can blame Raja Koduri too much - he's a born and bred engineer and public speaking isn't his forte.
    No real surprise, marketing will always highlight best case scenario, which definitely applies to using AotS.Just as telling was not including a comparison from a game that wasn't AotS. As for two Crossfired (or SLI'd for that matter) 2nd tier offering better bang for buck than a (currently) top tier single card - that is pretty much standard operating procedure.
    As an aside, the GTX 1080 and CF'd RX480 run throughs of AotS seemed to be using different settings. Without any details of settings or resolution it all seems fairly vague
    Also no details regarding game I.q, framerates,or resolution.
    Also fairly vague and no information that hadn't already been publicly disseminated. The only point of interest seemed to be when she turned and walked off stage - the pinout of the CPU appeared to be LGA
    The $199 version is the 4GB GDDR5 card. The 8GB GDDR5 will probably be $50 more (Koduri's slide mentioned CF for <$500 in the AotS demo, so $498 covers that), and I'm guessing the $300 might be reserved for AIB customs. I suppose it could be for a RX 480X but if that were the case they would surely be showcasing the premiere card. Maybe $300 buys a RX 480 with GDDR5X.
    Disappointing that no details emerged of the smaller Polaris 11 chip
    Adhmuz, Burty117 and Steve like this.
  14. Arris

    Arris TS Evangelist Posts: 4,686   +350

    Perhaps one day I'll update my 7970Ghz crossfire setup.... but not yet.
  15. WangDangDoodle

    WangDangDoodle TS Addict Posts: 199   +71

    Nvidia clearly thinks their logo is worth it's weight in gold. Judging by what I've seen so far from AMD on the graphics front, it looks like we're in the same old story, where AMD can't quite keep up with Nvidia, but beats them on performance per dollar. It certainly wouldn't be a difficult thing to do this generation, considering the ugly prices I've seen from Nvidia. I'm hoping AMD at least shocks their competitor into cutting prices a bit. Anyway, It's all theorycrafting at this point. I'm excited to see how things look in 3-6 months.
  16. Badvok

    Badvok TS Booster Posts: 159   +57

    I'm getting worried about this market place, we really need viable competition to Nvidia to keep pushing them to make better cards. The only thing AMD seem to be able to do is drop prices and try to win the bang-for-buck rating even though total cost of ownership is probably similar when you bring running costs into it.
    And once the GTX 1070 hits the marketplace properly you'll find many GTX 970s at a similar price point to this RX 480 so what exactly would make you choose AMD over Nvidia other than personal preference?
    alabama man likes this.
  17. WangDangDoodle

    WangDangDoodle TS Addict Posts: 199   +71

    I don't really know much about patent stuff, but it seems to me that all the key pieces are owned by either one or the other (Nvidia/AMD). Is there even a possibility of a new player coming onto the graphics chip scene and competing with these industry giants without stepping on somebody's patent?
  18. alabama man

    alabama man TS Maniac Posts: 318   +185

    When 1070 comes out 970 will drop to same price so makes no point. Also you can get used 980 and 980ti after 1080 release for half the original price or lower. Only way for amd to compete would be to have similar power to 1000 series for lower price but as they spend more time complaining about their competition not being opensource so they could steal billions worth of tech instead of spending money to make something them selves I don't see bright future for amd. Shame, competition would be nice to help with prices. Also afraid graphics cards won't get any better if nvidia gets no competition.
  19. ChuckyDhaBeast

    ChuckyDhaBeast TS Enthusiast Posts: 42   +25

    So, 2304 cores. Is that pretty much the GPU of the new PS4? It looks like that!
  20. poohbear

    poohbear TS Addict Posts: 119   +67

    Do u think Nvidia paid her to say those things? Common marketing tactic when companies do press events. Kinda like those car show girls. Gotta admit Nvidia is real slick at marketing...one reason why their stock is over valued @ $45 & AMD's is undervalued @ $4...
  21. poohbear

    poohbear TS Addict Posts: 119   +67

    The GTX 970 is EOL. It's too expensive for Nvidia to keep producing & sell @ $199, so no u won't be able to buy it @ $199 new. Unless they make it 16nm...but doubt they have enough 16nm chips to mass produce a 16nm GTX 970
  22. Dowling Hamrick

    Dowling Hamrick TS Rookie

    It might be a good option if games start
    Optimizing for AMD. On paper the specs look good, but Green has been optimized better for a while now.
  23. Puiu

    Puiu TS Evangelist Posts: 2,403   +875

    you can't compare stock values like that. it's not how it works.
  24. EClyde

    EClyde TS Evangelist Posts: 1,045   +320

    When is it going to be on Dancing With the Stars?
  25. Badvok

    Badvok TS Booster Posts: 159   +57

    And that's why it is totally impossible to still buy brand new 6xx or 7xx series Nvidia cards right now from a variety of sellers.

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