Published: Wed, April 19, 2017
Research | By Jennifer Evans

AMD really wants you to upgrade your graphics card in 2017

AMD really wants you to upgrade your graphics card in 2017

Although it is basically a rebranded Radeon RX 400 series, there are some novelties and, thanks to 14nm manufacturing process maturity, the Radeon RX 500 series graphics cards have higher clocks, at least when compared to Radeon RX 400 series counterparts. The RX 560, aimed at e-sports players, is around 57 percent faster than the R7 360.

AMD designed the upcoming AMD Radeon RX Vega GPU for enthusiastic PC gamers. The reference specifications call for boost and base GPU clocks of 1340MHz and 1257MHz, respectively, with 8GB of GDDR5 memory (8Gb/s) linked to the GPU via a 256-bit interface.

The suggested retail price of the Radeon RX 580 8/4GB is set at United States $229/$199, while the Radeon RX 570 4GB has a suggested retail price of U.S. $169. In comparison to AMD's previous-generation architecture, Polaris has more powerful geometry processing capabilities, increased buffer sizes, more efficient delta color compression, tweaked memory controllers, asynchronous compute capabilities with prioritization, specialized temporal scheduling, and support for AMD technologies like Radeon Chill, FreeSync (and FreeSync 2), and HEVC and H.265 4K decoding. This provides options for users who seek either maximum power efficiency or more overclocking potential. Hot on the heels of announcing its refreshed Polarish line, AMD has made available a new set of Crimson ReLive drivers that add support for its newly minted Radeon RX 580 and 570 graphics cards. This should give it a decent boost compared to the Radeon RX 460. The RX 570 has also seen a major bump in the base clock speed from 926 MHz to 1168 MHz. The TDP of the RX 560 should be somewhere around 60-80W, which is quite interesting as it goes over what you can get from the PCIe slot, forcing partners to include a single 6-pin PCIe power connector.

Our friends at our sister sites Tom's Hardware and Anandtech, who posted very granular, detailed reviews, tested the new cards from third-party vendors (AMD isn't producing reference cards) and found a noticeable difference over the RX 480. We know it's built on a new GPU, codenamed Polaris 12, with a boost clock of 1175MHz, 512 cores, and 2GB of VRAM. Meanwhile, the RX 580 OC card steps up to 1380 MHz in OC mode. In essence this is what AMD is delivering today, but there have been silicon changes that should improve GPU clock frequencies, and thus performance, and some changes in power draw. The RX 550 is priced at $79 and will be available on April 20.

Here's a look at the technical specs for the Radeon RX 570 and RX 580 (we reviewed Sapphire's take on the latter).

The NITRO+ RX 580 and 570 cards also feature NITRO Glow - a stylish RGB LED backlight on the side, easily controlled with SAPPHIRE TriXX 3.0 software. It's also expected to be faster than the NVIDIA GTX 970 as well. So if you're in the market for a new card, there's that.

Radeon WattMan may fail to apply settings on some Radeon R9 390 series graphics products.

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