AMD quietly introduces a lower-spec Radeon RX 560 with 896 SPs

When AMD launched the Radeon RX 560 back in April, the GPU sported 1024 stream processors inside of 16 compute units. That figure was an increase from the 896 SPs within 14 CUs in the otherwise-similar previous-gen Radeon RX 460. The reference base and boost clocks also received a spec bump from its predecessor's figures. For unclear reasons, though, it seems that some RX 560s will again ship with 896 SPs. AMD recently made some silent updates to the Radeon RX 560's product page that reveal a second, identically-named version with the smaller resource complement. 

Original specifications above, revised specs below.

One needs only take a trip in Archive.org's Wayback Machine to see the old Radeon RX 560 product page and its proclamations of 16 CUs and 1024 SPs. The current version of the page hedges those figures and qualifies the card's performance from a "Peak Performance" of 2.6 TFLOPS to a "Max Performance up to 2600 GFLOPS." The number of ROPs and texture units hasn't changed, and AMD's "up to 1175 MHz" base and "up to 1275 MHz" boost clock claims are also the same as they have been since launch. 

Cards bearing the pared-down Polaris 21 chip have already found their way into e-tailers like Newegg. The site has conveniently added a search selection filter to separate greater and lesser Radeon RX 560 cards, but we imagine other stores might not make things as straightforward for their customers. Board manufacturers could have taken this opportunity to clarify the SP count of cards in their product names, but none of the cards we saw specified the figure in their model numbers. For example, Asus' RX-560-O4G can color the screen with a full box of 1024 crayons, while the company's own RX-560-O4G-EVO has only 896 to work with. We don't intend to single out Asus here; other companies' model numbers aren't any more illuminating. 

This is the first time anyone on the TR staff can recall a reduction in shader ALU count from a major graphics-card maker without any modification to the product name. AMD has offered Radeon RX 470D and Radeon RX 560D cards with reduced SP counts in the past, and it's also gone the other way by offering Radeon RX 460 chips with 1024 SPs for sale in China earlier this year. Those cards were all clearly marked to represent the change. Nvidia's GeForce GTX 1060 is available in two versions with different shader ALU counts, but those two versions also bear different memory configurations that make them easier to tell apart in the wild. 

It appears that consumers will have to closely examine the packaging or product page of any Radeon RX 560 card from here on out to make sure they're getting the resources they expect. All of the 896-SP Radeon cards we see at retailers so far come bearing 4 GB of GDDR5 memory, and their prices aren't appreciably different from the 1024-SP versions. We imagine that 2 GB versions could soon follow, so memory configuration is probably not a reliable way to identify these cut-down GPUs. Keep your eyes open if you're shopping for entry-level graphics cards in the near future.

Comments closed
    • smilingcrow
    • 2 years ago

    Less shaders but more shady, for the win.

    • Phartindust
    • 2 years ago

    deleted

    • etana
    • 2 years ago

    I actually noticed this a month ago when i was looking for a 560 for the family room PC. I assumed it was common knowledge then and that i was the only one out of the loop. Most listings do give the number of SPs if you dig deeply enough (at least on Newegg).

    • derFunkenstein
    • 2 years ago

    AMD claims the obfuscation was not intentional on their part, and throws their partners under the bus:

    [quote<]It’s correct that 14 Compute Unit (896 stream processors) and 16 Compute Unit (1024 stream processor) versions of the Radeon RX 560 are available. We introduced the 14CU version this summer to provide AIBs and the market with more RX 500 series options. It’s come to our attention that on certain AIB and etail websites there’s no clear delineation between the two variants. We’re taking immediate steps to remedy this: we’re working with all AIB and channel partners to make sure the product descriptions and names clarify the CU count, so that gamers and consumers know exactly what they’re buying. We apologize for the confusion this may have caused.[/quote<] That's in their statement to [url=https://www.pcworld.com/article/3240264/components-graphics/amd-quietly-radeon-rx-560-graphics-cards-worse.html<]PC World[/url<]

      • Phartindust
      • 2 years ago

      Whoops, didn’t see you had posted this already.

      • Topinio
      • 2 years ago

      effin backwards, an insult to the intelligence.

      It’s AMD’s trademark, and only AMD defines the model names/numbers.

      Only AMD released 2 models with the same model name and different performance capabilities.

      It is only AMD’s fault.

      Only AMD could commit to not doing this shady nonesense in future…

    • ronch
    • 2 years ago

    Just curious. What’s the equivalent Nvidia product and how much less power does it burn to do the same job pushing pixels? And is it priced similarly?

      • psuedonymous
      • 2 years ago

      Generally performs around/just below the 1050, which draws 25-40W less (depending on OC). At least in the UK, pricing spread seems [url=https://uk.pcpartpicker.com/products/video-card/#c=379,395&sort=price&page=1<]pretty much identical[/url<].

    • NoOne ButMe
    • 2 years ago

    And this isn’t the RX 559 or 555 because?

      • ronch
      • 2 years ago

      Because AMD marketing gurus.

    • ronch
    • 2 years ago

    Well, at 14/16 the enabled SPs it had better sell for 14/16 the price of a fully enabled 560 and it had better state CLEARLY on the box that it’s a ‘Value Edition’ variant.

      • Klimax
      • 2 years ago

      Like LE and TC variants of older GeForces.

    • mcarson09
    • 2 years ago

    AMD RX 560 rob a fanboi FTW super bling edition. Rebadging bothers me, but not as bad as changing the SP count without saying anything. I don’t like Nvidia has two different versions of the 1060 (the 3GB and 6GB), but at least you can tell the difference via the RAM amount. This will hurt AMD like their driver problems of the past translating into fewer sales because people still believe their drivers are crap (which they are not).

    • ronch
    • 2 years ago

    RX 560 Binned Edition.

      • IGTrading
      • 2 years ago

      Hehe, they can actually call it that and pretend RX 560BE comes from Business Edition 😉

      That would be ironic.

    • brucek2
    • 2 years ago

    Uncool man, uncool. Would it have killed them to have called it the “561” or anything else?

    If they put the details on the box I guess it’s not fraud, but would it have been if they didn’t list them? Even so it seems pretty clear they are banking on the product’s characteristics having already been “known” and “published” via earlier reviews, and taking advantage of holiday shoppers a great many of whom could easily be predicted to not read, not notice, nor not understand the significance of the change.

    • Chrispy_
    • 2 years ago

    “up to”

    These words mean “HAHAHA NOT REALLY”

    • jarder
    • 2 years ago

    In the APAC region these cards are called “RX 560D”, according to:
    [url<]https://videocardz.com/74310/amd-quietly-launches-slower-radeon-rx-560[/url<] Which would be much better for end users rather than having to look up detailed specs whenever you want to make a purchase.

      • ArdWar
      • 2 years ago

      Nobody wants the “D”

      • IGTrading
      • 2 years ago

      If it’s a bit more affordable, I’d happily buy one.

        • K-L-Waster
        • 2 years ago

        According to the PC World article, they are at the same price points and it’s not obvious unless you dig deep into the specifications list which card models have which chip.

        [quote<]These cards include 896 stream processors. You’ll probably want to avoid them: $125 PowerColor Red Dragon RX 560 (4GBD5-DHAM) $130 PowerColor Red Dragon RX 560 (4GBD5-DHA) $140 Asus ROG Strix RX 560 EVO Gaming OC Edition $167 Asus Radeon RX 560 EVO OC Edition Meanwhile, the following cards ship with the full 16 CUs and 1,024 stream processors, and either 2GB or 4GB of memory: $125 MSI Radeon RX 560 Aero ITX (2GB) $137 MSI Radeon RX 560 Aero ITX (4GB) $130 Gigabyte Radeon RX 560 $137 Asus Radeon RX 560 2GB OC Edition $200 PowerColor Red Dragon RX 560 (dual-fan) [/quote<] If it was clearly marked or had a different product name and was priced lower, there literally wouldn't be anything to see here.

    • maxxcool
    • 2 years ago

    Meh .. this sounds like a channel part, while odious that we do not see a good package differentiatior this is probably not much more than a production overun or a strategic part they are selling in bulk to lower costs / cover costs.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 2 years ago

      Except it’s not a “channel part”, it’s a graphics card in a retail box available at Newegg available for purchase by the uninformed masses.

        • maxxcool
        • 2 years ago

        Agree.. hence the ‘Odious’.

    • MathMan
    • 2 years ago

    I don’t want to buy AMD products because of unethical business practices like this!

      • Chrispy_
      • 2 years ago

      Ethics, in the PC industry?

      How [i<]quaint[/i<] 🙂

      • IGTrading
      • 2 years ago

      AMD unethical ?! 🙂

      I hope that’s sarcasm when compared to this : [url<]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=osSMJRyxG0k[/url<] Scamming over 60 billion USD from consumers all over the Globe and then paying bribes to OEMs not to use AMD chips thus robbing users of the performance and pushing the whole market into buying the overpriced, overheating, low performing Pentium 4 and Pentium D chips and also inducing heaps more pollution as a direct consequence. That's Intel and that's horribly unethical and illegal in most countries. Now try and make and argument about how AMD is "unethical" . Is Intel calling Atom processors "Pentium" ethical ?! 🙂 What a pathetic double-talk.

        • chuckula
        • 2 years ago

        Ooh look, the shill posted to the same youtube propaganda video again.

        Once upon a time the CEO and founder of AMD testified under oath in Federal Court that .. Microsoft.. was [b<]NOT[/b<] a monopoly. Interestingly enough Microsoft announced official support for newer AMD processors a week later. AMD lost all credibility at that point. If Microsoft was never a monopoly then literally nothing Intel has ever done or has even been accused of doing can be considered to be really a problem, and yes that includes Intel doing AMD the favor of not having to slash its CPU prices to supply Dell so that AMD was instead "forced" to sell its CPUs at full price during times when AMD's own executives claimed they were selling literally every chip they could make.

          • NoOne ButMe
          • 2 years ago

          Youtube propaganda? Please. Intel spent billions of dollars to force AMD out of multiple OEM sales, and effectively multiple markets.
          The video is accurate, and pretty good. It also has zero relevance for this idiotic move by AMD here.

          That’s a CEO doing something (stupid imho) for his company. That’s not AMD as a company doing it. Sigh.

          You’re only making yourself look worse.

        • NoOne ButMe
        • 2 years ago

        Sorry. Does Intel being anti-competitive and anti-consumer means AMD cannot be, to lesser degrees?

        No!? Okay than. Case closed.

        • K-L-Waster
        • 2 years ago

        So, what, Intel did something unethical years ago and that gives AMD a free pass?

        “Those guys were bad too” is a pretty lousy defence.

          • strangerguy
          • 2 years ago

          The usual AMD apologists in TR news are conspicuously absent in this thread. I wonder why?

      • elites2012
      • 2 years ago

      buts its ok when intel does it? cause they are price gouging the hell out of their consumers. they make their wafers out of the same material as AMD. intels greed with the 4 core was not performance, but yields per wafer. which is why they kept pushing 4 cores until now.

    • Concupiscence
    • 2 years ago

    So they’re effectively rebranding the 896 SP RX 460 parts they were selling last year as 560s, but they were already selling 560s with 1024 SP, and no one at AMD thought to change any names. Jesus wept.

      • mcarson09
      • 2 years ago

      I’m sure there a model number difference list on the chip. Please pop your heatsink to see what you won…

    • DPete27
    • 2 years ago

    Do you suppose the 1024 SPs in the “original” RX560 was a typo?

      • derFunkenstein
      • 2 years ago

      I don’t think so. My guess is that AMD can’t supply Apple enough fully-enabled Polaris 21 chips (edit: or otherwise has a bunch of partly-bad parts sitting around) and had to dip into the desktop stash.

      edit again: To be clear, my guess is that fully-enabled Polaris 21 cards are selling for more money and AMD is retconning the 896-SP version into the 560 name to just have 560s to sell.

      • K-L-Waster
      • 2 years ago

      This story sounds like a gold mine for historical revisionism and alt-fact aficionados.

      “Stop picking on AMD — they always had 896!”

      “But my OG card has 1024 — see, here’s the screenshot.”

      “Oh, look, it’s an NVidia shill with a copy of Photoshop…”

        • chuckula
        • 2 years ago

        WE’VE ALWAYS BEEN AT WAR WITH [s<]EUR[/s<][b<]EAST[/b<]ASIA!

          • mcarson09
          • 2 years ago

          AMD is still paying for ATI. They can no longer win in DirectX…. BUT hey they win in the two games that currently run Vulkan!!

    • chuckula
    • 2 years ago

    AMD’s trump card over if Intel or Ngreedia pulled a stunt like this: Nobody really cares about the Rx 560 either way so it’s a giant Meh.

      • freebird
      • 2 years ago

      Selling everything but the kitchen sink… probably sell that too, if it had any usable SPs/compute units…

      • mcarson09
      • 2 years ago

      Nvidia’s Pascal wins again…

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