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Overview of the AMD Radeon RX 580 Video Card

Almost a year has passed since the announcement of the AMD mid-price video card – Radeon RX 480 which is a bestseller on the market. It is not difficult to guess why: good performance for the cost, as well as decent energy efficiency, previously unavailable to users of the company's graphics solutions, have turned out to be good.

But the model has one flaw, or rather a feature – in pursuit of a high ratio of speed and power consumption, AMD developers have been so carried away by this goal that they have absolutely forgotten about the potential rival that has not been sitting idly by. The GeForce GTX 1060 family has been updated with several modifications: with three and six gigabytes of memory, with reference and increased memory frequency.

As a result, the emerging AMD has to compete for the leading places with two competitors. To this end, engineers have taken the energy efficiency issue to a secondary place and start to optimizing in the pursuit of speed.

Both GPUs seem to mirror each other, although the new GPU (or rather, its new revision) is released this year. But it’s more important to look closely at AMD’s code cipher: the old revision is 215-0876184 and the new one is 215-0910038. Representatives of Polaris now undergo final assembly and testing not in Taiwan, but in China. That change of place will hopefully not affect the quality.



So, what has changed with the release of the Radeon RX 580? The answer lies in the changed power settings and the changing of priorities. And the best thing is noticeable, if you pay attention to the frequency potential, voltage Vgpu and power consumption.

Specifications


Code name: Polaris
Version: GCN 1.3
Techprocess, nm: 14
Core size, mm2: 232
Number of transistors, mln: 5,700
Core frequency, MHz: 1,257
Core frequency (Turbo), MHz: 1,340
Number of shaders (PS), pcs.: 2,304
Number of texture units (TMU), pcs.: 144
Number of rasterization blocks (ROP), pcs.: 32
Maximum fill speed, Gpix/s: 42.9
Maximum texture sampling speed, Gtex/s: 193
Memory type: GDDR5
Effective memory frequency, MHz: 2,000
Memory capacity, GB: 4/8
Memory bus, bit: 256
Memory bandwidth, GB/s: 256
Power supply, sockets Pin: 8
Power consumption (2D/3D), Watt: — /185
CrossFire/Sli: V
Replaceable model: Radeon RX 480

Overclocking


It is already known that new AMD video cards will not be released in reference design. Perhaps one of the manufacturers will use the Radeon RX 480 as the basis, but it will have to be modified because of the increased power consumption (from 150 to 185 W). And this is at least a pair of power sockets 6 pin, or one 8 pin. Let’s not forget that the reference PCB assumed a single 6 pin socket.

The first thing that scares is the constant change in the GPU operating frequency, as it is on many AMD graphics cards. Only the frequency range is much wider than that of the Radeon RX 480. With the latest changes in the drivers it gives the following values:

  • • the minimum frequency is 1,103 MHz,
  • • the average frequency is 1,163 MHz,
  • • the maximum frequency is 1,195 MHz.

The Radeon RX 580 figures are different:

  • • the minimum frequency is 1,111 MHz,
  • • the average is 1,289 MHz,
  • • the maximum is 1,335 MHz.

With a difference of 126 MHz, the odds are on the novelty side.

The simplest GPU overclocking without manual voltage control and only with raising the power consumption limit by 50% allowed achieving an impressive frequency of 1450 MHz. Moreover, the acceleration is constant and stable, without falling frequencies under load, and the fact pleases much.

But for Radeon RX 580 not only overclocking is possible, but the downclocking as well. As an example: if you set -20% of power consumption, the frequency will decrease on average from 1,189 to 1,064 MHz. Why do we need that downclocking? Many users like to create working systems with minimal consumption and almost noiseless operation. To do this, they underestimate working stresses to achieve their goal.

But still you cannot escape from physics – increasing the frequency, you have to increase the tension. AMD’s developers have increased it to 1.125 V, and the former value has been within the range of 1.00-1.05 V.

For overclocking the Wattman utility automatically increases the Vgpu voltage to almost 1.2 V, but this is not enough for a hundred percent realization of the frequency potential of a new core revision. It is noteworthy how artificial "-20%" blow-off allows the video card to work at voltages even less than 1.0 V.

In the nominal mode, the power consumption of the video card rises to 188 W with the GPU frequency increasing by 126 MHz. Overclocking adds another 36 Watts to the top, and the frequency increases in total by 290 MHz. This redistribution of priorities has occurred with Radeon RX 480. It was less than 150 W and 1,163 MHz, it became more than 185 W and 1,289 MHz.

The video card’s frequencies and driver versions are as follows:

Frequency, MHz: 1,257/2,000
Acceleration, MHz: 1,500/2,200
Driver version: 17.10.1

The extra 200 MHz gives the new Polaris model a lot and this is especially vivid with the growth of video resolution. And in general, Radeon RX 580 looks very good both against the background of its predecessor, as well as in comparison with the competitor from the opposite camp – GeForce GTX 1060. I wonder what’s going to happen when AMD developers finally release their flagship – Radeon RX Vega.

Conclusion


On the one hand, nothing unexpected has happened as the representatives of the previous line of Polaris has hidden good potential, for the full disclosure of which only engineering resources and time are needed. Need new products? Receive and sign.

On the other hand, the AMD fans often state that the power consumption is not a priority for them and focusing on pure performance is needed. And this message has been heard. However, the developers not only reconfigured the new model to achieve maximum speed, but also saved its energy efficiency.

The Radeon RX 580 graphics card can rightly be considered a full-fledged response to the release of the GeForce GTX 1060 and it is absolutely comfortable with the overclocking the video core of the latter up to 2 GHz. And now AMD has a great offer at the previous price and claiming success in this class.
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  • 19 April 2017, 11:56
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