The Radeon RX 480 and friends
If you've watched TR over the past few days, you've already seen the AMD reference design for the RX 480. Today, however, we can spill all the beans about clock speeds and field-strip the card down to its PCB. Let's get to it.
|Radeon RX 480||1120 MHz||1266 MHz||2304||4GB or 8GB GDDR5||1x 6-pin||150W||$199.99 (4GB)
The Polaris 10 GPU on the RX 480 will run at 1120MHz base and 1266MHz boost speeds. We expect AMD's board partners will push those reference numbers up a bit as part of their usual process of tweaking and tuning. At those stock clocks, this card has a rated board power of 150W.
The RX 480 will ship in two versions: one with 4GB of GDDR5 RAM, the other with 8GB. The 4GB card will have a $200 suggested price, while doubling the RAM will set buyers back an extra $40. AMD is giving its board partners freedom to adjust GDDR5 speeds, but it's set a 7 GT/s floor on the speeds those vendors can use. The reference card we're testing is an 8GB version, and it has 8 GT/s GDDR5 on board.
Around back, the RX 480 has three DisplayPort 1.3 ports and an HDMI 2.0b port with HDCP 2.2 support. Those DisplayPorts are DP 1.4-HDR-ready, too. Folks who want to plug a DVI monitor into their RX 480 without an adapter are out of luck.
Flipping the card over reveals a stubby PCB with an extra vent above the blower fan. This vent hole is a nice touch for folks planning to install multiple RX 480s in their systems in CrossFire.
Stripping the cooling shroud from the card reveals a small aluminum heatsink for the GPU itself, plus another heatsink for the card's power-delivery circuitry. You can also see the single six-pin PCI Express power connector the RX 480 needs to do its thing.
Unscrewing the card's entirely standard fastener complement lets us strip the RX 480 right down to its bones. As you can see from this view, the aluminum heatsink uses a copper disc in its base, presumably to improve heat transfer between the GPU and the rest of the heatsink.
Moving closer to the PCB gives us a better look at the Polaris 10 chip itself, as well as its eight GDDR5 memory chips. With that, you've basically seen all there is to see of the RX 480.
While we're only reviewing the RX 480 today, AMD should be releasing two other Polaris cards in the near future. The RX 470 will use the same Polaris 10 GPU as the RX 480, but it'll lose four compute units, bringing the shader count down to 2,048. It'll also be available with 4GB of GDDR5 RAM only. AMD isn't releasing full details of this card today. From the outside, this card looks exactly the same as the RX 480.
The RX 460 is a tiny card built around the Polaris 11 GPU. It has 14 of that chip's 16 GCN compute units enabled, and it won't need an external power connector. We also don't have full details of that card yet. It is a fair bet that both of these cards should slot in under the $199 price point established by the 4GB RX 480, though. We expect to learn more about these products over the course of the summer.
Now that we've fixed a course on Polaris, let's see how the RX 480 performs.
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