The continual refrain ever since the Radeon RX 480's launch has been that the Polaris 10 GPU is solid, but prospective purchasers should wait for non-reference boards. As it turns out, the wait is almost over. Asus announced today that it will be releasing the ROG Strix Radeon RX 480 in "the middle of August." The card will come equipped with a DirectCU III cooler and a custom board design.
"Wait for non-reference" is a common sentiment for any new GPU release, but it was especially applicable in the wake of the power issues the RX 480's reference design displayed. That's all more or less resolved in the 16.7 drivers, but regardless, Asus' press release specifically mentions how the board design for the ROG Strix RX 480 draws "all of the power for the GPU from the PCIe power connectors". Whether that implies that the card uses more than one power connector or is simply a typo remains to be seen, as the specific power requirements aren't listed in today's release.
What are listed are the boost clock speeds: 1330 MHz in OC mode, and 1310 MHz in "gaming mode." Asus says that translates to a 19% performance increase in Hitman and Doom, which seems unlikely given that it's only a 5% increase over the reference 1266 MHz boost clock. Asus is also releasing a version of the Strix card with reference clocks, for those who simply want the better cooler and safer power design.
The cards are equipped with the same 8GB of GDDR5 as the reference design as well as a bunch of Asus-specific niceties, including an additional HDMI 2.0 port for folks who want to connect an HDMI display along with a VR headset. Two connectors for FanConnect (which we first saw on the ROG Strix GTX 1080) and Aura RGB lighting round out the extras. Asus didn't provide pricing data on the ROG Strix RX 480, but we'll know soon enough.