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AMD Radeon RX 480 review roundup: There's a new value king in town!

AMD RX 480 vs. NVIDIA GTX 1060
AMD RX 480 vs. NVIDIA GTX 1060

Having been announced back at Computex, the AMD RX 480 is the first graphics card to hit the market using the company's new Polaris architecture. Lots of big claims were made about the RX 480 at launch, not least that AMD was shooting for "good VR at $200."

This isn't a high-end option and it's not for those who are seriously considering a GTX 1080 or 1070 from NVIDIA. AMD went for the mass market, the balance of price to performance, and puts itself squarely in the space of the GTX 970, a highly regarded, VR capable card.

The reviews so far look pretty promising for AMD. One goes so far as to say that "there's no reason to buy a GTX 970 anymore," since the RX 480 performance is sufficiently high with a decent undercutting on price.

But, we'll let you make up your own minds. Below we've rounded up a selection of written and video reviews, be sure to check them out and let us know your own thoughts in the comments below.

PC Gamer

For those that don't have pockets deep enough to keep up with the bleeding edge, AMD's Polaris 10 architecture aims for the sweet spot and ends up being mighty tasty. It may not be the fillet mignon of graphics cards, but you can enjoy several good RX 480 steaks for the price of a GTX 1080 fillet. Besides, rib-eyes taste better than fillet mignon.

Check out the full PC Gamer review

AnandTech

Today's launch of the Radeon RX 480 leaves AMD is in a good position. They have the mainstream market to themselves, and RX 480 is a strong showing for their new Polaris architecture. AMD will have to fend off NVIDIA at some point, but for now they can sit back and enjoy another successful launch.

Read more in the AnandTech review

Engadget

In the end, AMD has successfully delivered on its promise of making a VR-ready card that everyone can afford. And what's most intriguing is that NVIDIA doesn't yet have a viable budget competitor. The door is wide open for AMD to redefine what a low-end GPU can do.

Read the full Engadget review

Trusted Reviews

If you have a 1440p monitor and have extra money to spend, the GTX 1070 is a better bet, but if you're on a tight budget the RX 480 is more than capable, especially if you're not fussed about having every single graphics setting maxed out.

Check out the Trusted Reviews take on the RX 480

Tom's Hardware

In the end, we get performance somewhere between a Radeon R9 290 and 390 at dramatically lower power and a $240 price tag. Compare that to GeForce GTX 970 with half as much memory for ~$280 and Radeon R9 390 8GB in the same neighborhood. It's hardly what we'd call the cusp of a revolution, particularly since you still have to pay $600 for a Rift or $800 for the Vive. But we certainly appreciate the combination of smaller, faster, cooler and quieter, all for less money.

See the full Tom's Hardware review

Eurogamer

AMD has delivered the most cost-effective GPU for a premium VR experience. That's a key sell for the red team, but in a world where the headsets are so hugely expensive, we're not sure it's the most compelling use-case scenario for this product

Read the full Eurogamer review

KitGuru

The AMD RX480 8GB is a powerful and capable graphics card which appears to exhibit plenty of overclocking potential. While the reference card has performed well in our analysis, the cooling system is rather feeble and we look forward to testing higher grade partner cards in the coming weeks.

Check out the KitGuru review

Linus Tech Tips

Awesomesauce Network

Paul's Hardware

Digital Foundry

Be sure to have a look at our collection of best graphics card picks for a ton more options.

Richard Devine is an Editor at Windows Central. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently you'll find him covering all manner of PC hardware and gaming, and you can follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

20 Comments
  • I'm surprised but a lot of UK sites/stores seem to only have the 8GB available at initial launch. Only Overclockers UK have some 4GB in stock that I've found so far. I think the 4GB model could make a nice upgrade to something like a GTX 960 from what I've read so far.....anybody agree?
  • nope, I would stay with Nvidia and wait for the 1070. AMDs power consupation is a bit bigger + the drivers are unstable and make a lot of problems. Nvidia has a better support - my opinion
  • 1070 isn't a competitor to the 480. In the UK it's well over £100 more expensive.
  • Richard is totally right, although it's Probably closer to £175 more expensive than the 8GB RX480 from what I've sen tbh. I want the 4GB for approx £175 the 8GB 1070 is around £400 so I think the 1070 is out of my price range right now considering I only got the 960 last generation.
  • suposly there is a 1060 seen in the wild in china, maybe that would be the direct competition for the 480, but until then the 480 and 1070 are playing in diferent arenas
  • I just ordered a 4GB RX 480 for £188 from Overclockers. Coming on Friday. So will soon see what's what!
  • AMD power consumption is low too. This isn't 28nm GCN anymore. This is new 14nm FinFET architecture and they even confidently market this Polaris architecture as revolutionary jump in power efficiency. They claim to have 2.8 X power efficiency compared to their last gen which we know have considerably low power efficiency compared to Maxwell, so they actually make a very astronomical improvement here.
    It uses only ONE 6-pin power connector. At stock clock, it uses only about 110 W power during gaming, according to review.
    Currently, "bad drivers" don't happen, that's a thing of the past. Been using AMD since 2012 (after NVIDIA) with my first being HD 7770, no problems with drivers.
    Should give AMD a chance. Support a nice company, not an @$$h0le company like NVIDIA.
  • Same thing for me. I've used AMD cards since 4870 (then 5850 and now R9 290) and I've never had trouble with drivers. Or at least the problems were solved with other measures than reinstalling or installing new drivers
  • Yes actually stock clock power usage is looking to be around 110w, much closer to a gtx 960 in terms of real world power draw. This should give third party suppliers enough room to put a 20% overclock on the 480. Also, AMD has shown for years now that they will continue to improve and optimise the drivers for their graphics cards.  My R9 380 has anywhere from 20% to 40% better gaming performance,(depending on the game), than it did at launch.The frame rate increase on Fallout 4 and The Witcher 3 have been massive.  As Polaris is a new architecture i'm very confident we will see a significant performance increase over the next 6 to 18 months. Third party oc cards with better cooling plus upcoming driver optimisations should boost the 480 up to gtx 980 levels of performance. Add in much better dx12 support for future games and you have a card that is going to be hard to beat at the $199 price point. If you're just looking for stellar 1080p performance for fairly cheap this card will last you several years. Now i can't wait for Zen.
  • Nvidia has better driver support? Where have you been the last 2 years? Their drivers are a disaster.
  • Too bad I can't apply my 199 EVGA Bucks to this card. :( I guess I'll keep saving up and go all in on a 1080 in a year or so.
  • Looks like a great card for it's price point.  There is really no reason to buy a GTX 970 or R9 390 over this.
  • Looks like the 4GB version of Overclockers has already had it's price hiked by about £10 for the lowest few models. I wonder if they realised most places seem to be selling the 8GB version only in the UK. I was hoping I could grab the 4GB from my local store but they only list 8GB models online so far and they are all showing as not yet in stock, which I'm surprised about. Kind of expected Scan to have 4GB model in, but maybe they will get it later. I think it's the one a lot of people are interested in
  • Be prepared for more price hikes. Thanks Cameron.
  • Isn't this rumored to be in the Xbox One Scorpion?
  • I think that was just a general comment people were making....That it would likely have a GPU roughly as powerful as this albeit 1.5 years down the line
  • Not likely to just be this. This won't do 4K gaming at any real whack. AMD supplies the current Xbox One so it's highly likely Scorpio will use Polaris graphics, too.
  • This card has not much overclocking power and also heats upto to 90°C .... and its 8gb is useless as the 3.5gb vram 970 beats this card for some games
  • AMD only sell cheap things ...and think they will make the world a better place .... They couldnt even beat Intel and nw Nvidia too ...
  • Now I just need to wait Sapphire to release 480 with smaller form factor similar to that of the Nano, like they did with the R9 380. That would fit nicely in my ITX-sized PC case.