ASRock joins graphics card market with Phantom Gaming Radeon series

ASRock is about to start selling graphics cards. Normally I'd make a joke here about the need for another video card vendor in the market, but there is clearly a necessity since every single model from every single maker is already flying off store shelves. The cards all fall under ASRock's new Phantom Gaming brand, and so far they're all based on GPUs from AMD's Radeon RX 500 series.

ASRock Phantom Gaming X RX 580 8G OC

The ASRock Phantom Gaming series currently comprises four cards. Starting from the smallest, we have the Phantom Gaming Radeon RX 550 2G, the Phantom Gaming Radeon RX 560 2G, the Phantom Gaming X Radeon RX 570 8G OC, and the Phantom Gaming X Radeon RX 580 8G OC. All four cards have silent modes that keep things quiet by slightly reducing GPU and memory clock speeds. All four also have OC modes available that ramp up the clock rates a bit, even though the two lesser cards lack the "OC" appellation.

The Phantom Gaming Radeon RX 550 and RX 560 cards have 2 GB of GDDR5 memory that by default runs at 6 GT/sec. That's slower than the reference designs for those cards, which run their memory at 7 GT/sec. The RX 560-based cards use the cut-down 14-CU chip with 896 shader processors, and by default run its core at 1149 MHz—once again a bit slower than the reference design. Both cards use what appears to be the same small single-fan cooler. ASRock notes that it intends to bring out versions of the RX 550 and RX 560 cards with 4 GB of memory onboard.

The bigger brothers of the Phantom Gaming series are longer than their little brothers and use a dual-fan cooler. That's because these cards are hot-clocked straight out of the box. The Radeon RX570 8G OC card will boost its core to 1280 MHz at default settings, a 36MHz overclock compared to the reference design. In OC mode that number jumps up to 1331 MHz. The Radeon RX 580 8G OC is faster still, boosting to 1380 MHz by default. That puts it 40 MHz faster than the reference design, and in OC mode it'll go all the way to 1435 MHz.

ASRock Phantom Gaming RX 560 2G

ASRock outfits the Phantom Gaming Radeon RX 550 and RX 560 cards with one each of HDMI 2.0, DisplayPort 1.4, and dual-link DVI-D ports. The Phantom Gaming X cards have the same options available, but throw in another pair of DisplayPort connections for a total of three. As usual, the two smaller cards don't require any power connectors, while the two larger cards take a single 8-pin PCIe power plug.

These cards represent an interesting choice for a company that until now was known almost exclusively for its motherboards. It's possible that this partnership was spurred by AMD. Recent controversy surrounding Nvidia's GeForce Partner Program—which allegedly forbids Nvidia's partners from using high-end gaming branding on graphics products powered by other companies' chips—may have encouraged AMD to look for additional graphics board partners. It's also possible that ASRock simply wants to get in on the cryptocurrency craze.

ASRock didn't say when the new cards would be available, or for how much. Let's hope against hope that these new Radeons release without the crypto-currency markup.

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