AMD’s new Radeon RX 480 delivers impressive performance given its price point. Our 8GB sample was no exception at $240 although we would have been more impressed if the card was a bit more efficient, ran cooler and had more overclocking headroom.
Now, just days after reviews of the RX 480 went live, we’re hearing multiple complaints suggesting the card may be responsible for all sorts of hardware failures.
This Reddit thread, which is serving as a repository for various issues, first points to the video below from TecLab. Based on their testing, the team concludes that the Radeon RX 480 violates the PCI Express standard due to power consumption that’s too high.
The thread also highlights a post over on Overclock.net regarding the death of audio ports on an Asus Rampage IV board, a separate thread on AMD’s community forum discussing a dead PCIe port and a report from PC Perspective which essentially mirrors TecLab's findings.
PC Perspective’s Ryan Shrout goes in pretty deep with his analysis, ultimately concluding that the Radeon RX 480 does draw more power through both the motherboard PCIe connection and the 6-pin power connection than specifications allow for, even when running at stock settings in certain game scenarios. Is that a problem?
The site believes the overdraw on the 6-pin cable is likely a non-issue but the motherboard power draw is definitely something to keep an eye on. One motherboard vendor reportedly said spikes as high as 95 watts are tolerable but sustained power draw at that level would likely cause damage. Testing at stock settings showed 80-85 watts of power draw at over 7A on the +12V line and 4.5-5.0 watts of draw on the 3.3V line. When overclocked, they witnessed motherboard PCIe slot +12V power draw of more than 95 watts.
It’s impossible to know at this time whether or not we’re dealing with a serious issue as there simply aren’t many cards in the hands of gamers yet. This could very well be the last we heard of the matter or it could snowball into a major issue for AMD, a company that doesn’t exactly need any additional hurdles to overcome right now.
Either way, all of this likely could have been avoided had AMD went with an 8-pin power connector instead of a single 6-pin connector but I digress.
What are your thoughts on the matter? If you’ve purchased an RX 480, we’d love to know how it has been treating you thus far. For those of you still contemplating a purchase, will this keep you from pulling the trigger? Let us know what you think in the comments section below!
Update: AMD sent us the following response on the matter:
"As you know, we continuously tune our GPUs in order to maximize their performance within their given power envelopes and the speed of the memory interface, which in this case is an unprecedented 8Gbps for GDDR5. Recently, we identified select scenarios where the tuning of some RX 480 boards was not optimal. Fortunately, we can adjust the GPU’s tuning via software in order to resolve this issue. We are already testing a driver that implements a fix, and we will provide an update to the community on our progress on Tuesday (July 5, 2016)."