How Serious Is The AMD RX 480 Controversy?

RX 480 


  So AMD has released their mainstream RX 480 recently and as usual there has been some sort controversy. Not only has there been controversy, but name calling, marketing and unnecessary exaggeration. Obviously some people want AMD's RX 480 launch to crash and burn, that will never change, but some of the things I've seen and read across the net is nothing less than toxic. I'm currently on vacation with my fiancée for Independence Day. I have been checking up on various discussions about the RX 480 and waiting for info about the GTX 1060 across the net. I decided to use some of my free time to address the issues surrounding the RX 480. Of course all of this controversy wouldn't be complete without Nvidia attempting to "leak" some marketing for their upcoming GTX 1060, but I will address that shortly.


Seriously, PCIe Outrage?

  It appears that the RX 480 is pulling more than 75 watts from the PCIe slot. This is something that has happened in the past and something that will happen again in the future. However, if you have read my previous blog posts you will know that I have always stated that when issues surround AMD it is front page news. This isn't always the case when it comes to Nvidia. In this case the PCIe wattage usage has exceeded the 75 Watt limitation. Who cares right? Well apparently a ton of people and possibly people who never had intentions of purchasing the GPU in the first place as well as some people who did. It's normal for GPUs to exceed the PCI Watt limitation. As with most PC components you'll be able to go a bit above the recommended limitation from time to time, but apparently this is a HUGE issue in 2016 for a $199.99 GPU.

  So should AMD be shamed to death for releasing the RX 480 that might "kill", "destroy", or "melt" your PCIe slot and\or possibly damage the motherboard? Those are some of the buzz words that people are using across the net. Yet the same PCIe issues have happened before in the past with both AMD and Nvidia hardware. Obviously the world is more social than ever now and people are quick to run online and complain about something that no one cared about until it was a "AMD problem" or at the very least a RX 480 problem.

  I do not recall such outrage when it was the GTX 750 Ti which was 60 watt GPU that received all of its power from the PCIe slot. Oh that's right, there was NO outrage at all and the card was praised for its performance. The card claimed to only use 60 watts, but it pulled over 100+ Watts consistently and peaked at 141 Watts during gaming sessions according to Tom's Hardware. However, the average was 64 watts, but the average doesn't always tell the entire story or gives the GTX 750 Ti a pass. The 750 Ti wattage benchmark was performed using realistic settings in a real world situation, which was Metro: Last Light @ 1080p-Medium Settings. The RX 480 Wattage benchmark was used in a very unrealistic situation, which was Metro: Last Light @ 4K. This is hilarious since the RX 480 is far from a 4K GPU. I doubt that anyone purchasing a $199 mainstream GPU has 4K in mind. Other wattage test has been performed on the RX 480 from several websites. It would be nice if we could see more realistic gaming scenarios when benchmarking the PCIe Watt usage. It also makes you wonder what if the RX 480 average was lower than 75 Watts, would there be as much outrage?


Sabertooth X58 PCIe Slots

  That's just one comparison. It's hilarious that there is a big outrage about the PCIe specs all of a sudden since there has been many GPUs for many years that have exceeded PCIe spec. It's even more amazing that people overclock the heck out of their GPUs, but now are worrying about PCIe specifications with the RX 480. Since when do we care about PCIe specs burning out our gaming rigs since some of the cheapest GPUs can be overclocked while receiving all of their power from the PCIe slot. Let's not forget that when we overclock our gaming rigs which includes the CPU, FSB\QPI\DMI, NB, SB, RAM Modules, Memory Controllers and even our Monitors etc., we are normally pushing all of these components and hardware out of spec to get the best performance.

  The PCIe specifications are mainly there for OEMs to ensure that manufactures have a baseline to assure them that their hardware will function correctly while using the PCIe slot. Yes, Nvidia and AMD has a seat at the PCI-SIG table and I'm sure they both try to make the best decision possible, but there will be GPU releases that won't follow the PCIe specifications 100%. This has been proven in the past with enthusiast GPUs, usually dual GPU releases. Yet, I'm sure some people will ignore this and find a way to debate me as usual.

  I did read a statement released by AMD. AMD is working on a software fix and will update everyone on Tuesday [7-5-2016]. This is great news since AMD has addressed the issue and is already testing a fix. AMD also stated that they have issues with "some RX 480 boards" in select scenarios. So from their words it appears that some cards should fall within the 75W spec. Who knows at this point, but appears that there are plenty of RX 480’s being tested and showing similar results. AMD has been really good with their quick driver releases since last year. Hopefully they can fix this issue ASAP to calm down people who are afraid that their gaming rigs will randomly shut off or MB will become damaged. Oh no......smh.


Did The Hype Train Lead To Pure Ignorance

  It appears to be a ton of trolling and misinformation spreading around the net about the RX 480. I can't quite tell if this was pure trolling or people hyping the RX 480 with hopes to get more people believing rumors. In other words, some people trolling to hype the RX 480 as if it's the second coming, only to see gullible people be let down. Since I've been on my vacation I've read so much BS and unrealistic comparisons I just knew no one would believe the crap. Well unfortunately it appears some people did believe the hype and they are giving the RX 480 a hard time in the comment sections across the net.

  Let's dispel some of this nonsense right now. First of all, the MSRP $329.99 GTX 970 was NEVER the RX 480 competition. The R9 390 is the direct competitor to the GTX 970. Now let’s go over all of the GPUs that are not direct competitors for the RX 480:

  • GTX 970
  • GTX 980
  • GTX 1070
  • GTX 1080
  • R9 390X
  • R9 Fury
  • R9 Fury X
  • Obviously no overclocked $300 - $1000+ GPUs

  If the $199.99 RX 480 manages to get near or beat some of the cards listed above in actual benchmarks then that's great for the RX 480 owners in that particular game or benchmark. However, that doesn't give anyone the right to troll and go around laughing at a $199.99 GPU because it didn't beat a MSRP $549.99 GTX 980. The card was never created to do such a thing. The RX 480 purpose is affordable VR experiences, 1080p@60+fps with near max settings, and 1440p with mid graphical settings. Obviously the settings will vary from title to title, but the point is to basically bring a "1080 better than console" experience plus some. Not tackle GPUs that cost more than $300.00. Unfortunately some Looney Tunes have been spreading rumors and getting others to believe their nonsense. There have also been websites spreading rumors as well which gave people false hopes.

RX 480 Specs

  I haven't read every review, but I have read a few reviews from several websites. I miss the days when we could get reviews that focused on the product and price bracket at hand. Why am I seeing the GTX 1080, GTX 1070, GTX 980 GTX 780 Ti, R9 Fury X, R9 Fury, and R9 390X benchmark results along with the RX 480? Not only that, but I'm seeing overclocked GTX GPUs against stock AMD GPUs. Then again this is nothing new since advertisement money talks. My goodness, have all of the benchmarking websites lost their minds?

  It would be nice to see GPUs in the same price bracket face each other rather than viewing high end GPUs on the same charts facing the lower end GPUs. If I had the funds or the GPUs I could test, I would try my best to do this, but I only have what I have purchased for my system. It's not that hard, but we definitely need some structure moving forward. We all know that the RX 480 currently has no competitor until the GTX 1060 drops so I can stomach a stock GTX 970 and R9 390 in the benchmarks, but why do we have highly overclocked GTX 970s against a stock 390 and stock RX 480. That will never make since to me. I think all companies deserve a fair shake and that goes for AMD as well as Nvidia. It seems AMD doesn’t get a fair shake often.

If it was me and I had the GPUs to benchmark against each I would have to break them up in price brackets and tiers:

  • Low-end [<$100 - $150]
  • Mainstream [$150 - $260]
  • Mid Range [$260 - $370]
  • High End [$370 - $500]
  • Enthusiast [$500+]

  Obviously my prices are more reasonable than what we are getting as consumers nowadays. Now we have mid-range GPUs selling at $400 and AIBs will definitely release their versions well over $400. It looks like the "Founders Edition" was successful and could be here to stay so the prices could increase even more for previously mid-range and high end cards. So my chart prices would have to change, but this is all wishful thinking regarding my price brackets above. As far as the bigger websites and certain YouTube channel goes, they should focus on splitting up the results for more direct comparisons in my opinion. If someone is looking at a $199.99 GPU it's highly unlikely that they are going to spend more than $279.99. So in my opinion there's no need to show $600+ GPUs in the same chart as a mainstream GPU. I’m just one consumer, it’s going to take a more than one person to make a change and apparently no one has a problem with the current charts websites provide.


GTX 1060 “Leaks” All Of A Sudden

  Competition never sleeps and Nvidia didn’t waste any time to get GTX 1060 info out. This would be the perfect time right? AMD is getting some negative press regarding the PCIe Watt issues along with good reviews on the performance side. The GTX 1060 is expected to get the same treatment as the 1080 and the 1070, a Founders Edition is coming. It appears that the hype train is starting back up and the rumors are beginning to spread. Nvidia released their charts that always put a smile on my face.

GTX 1060 vs RX 480

  Much faster than the RX 480. That's how you make a chart people. Never forget to use exageraated bars by including decimal points. It’s going to be interesting to see how the RX 480 and GTX 1060 becnh against each other. One of the biggest factors is the GTX 1060 price. Nvidia must compete with the RX 480 pricing at this point.


  From what I’ve seen the RX 480 is a solid GPU for $199.99. The CrossFire X appears to actually put up GTX 1080 numbers which is great for a consumers looking to spend less than $500. We will see how DX12 and Vulkan treat dual GPU owners. I’ve seen some people recommending the GTX 1070 over the RX 480. The GTX 1070 would be a bad buy for someone looking to spend around $199.99 because the GTX 1070 can be up to 125% more expensive than the RX 480. The GTX 1070 targets the 1440p resolutions as well and is in an entirely different price bracket. Once the RX 480 non-reference versions drops hopefully I’ll probably get around to picking one of those up for benchmarking purposes.


Happy 4th of July. Enjoy your Holiday.


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