AMD Radeon RX 480 Polaris architecture

AMD presents the Radeon RX 480 is the first graphics card of the new Polaris generation. It provides the latest games are in maximum graphics quality and is much more economical than their predecessors thanks to a new GPU manufacturing process. Moreover, she finally brings HDR-capable DisplayPort 1.4, HDMI 2.0b and a modern video engine that processes 4K movies in all kinds of formats (H.264, HEVC, VP9). AMD provides the graphics card (224 GB / s) for 215 euros with 4 GB of video memory; the 8-gigabyte version (256 GB / s) will cost around 255 euros. It supports 3D interfaces DirectX 12 (Direct3D 12_0), Volcano and OpenGL 4.5.

The card is good 24 cm long, has three DisplayPort 1.4 outputs and one HDMI 2.0b jack. Enlarge
The heart of the new graphics card is called Polaris 10 graphics chip, which is manufactured with 14-nm structures (predecessor: 28 nm). It consists of 36 computational groups (Compute Units), each containing 64 shader cores. There are also a total of 144 texture units and 32 raster output stages (ROPs). The functional units run with a base clock of 1120 MHz, the turbo clock is 1266 MHz. In practical continuous load, the clock frequency is usually below 1200 MHz. Due to the comparatively small number of ROPs R9 390X (64 ROPs) drops the Radeon RX 480 in high resolutions with antialiasing active compared to a Radeon stronger back. Detailed information on the new features of the Polaris architecture, see the following AMD presentation.
AMD Radeon RX 480 Polaris
Faster than a GeForce GTX 970
Playing the Radeon RX 480 is faster than a GeForce GTX 970, but does not come close to a GeForce GTX 980 or Radeon R9 390X. The 3D performance is sufficient to show the latest games in Full HD smoothly with maximum detail level. Often, the RX 480 packs even games in WQHD (2560 × 1440), sometimes you have but disable multisampling antialiasing or employ economical modes like MLAA. The action game GTA V makes the Radeon RX 480 still problems: Despite a sufficiently high frame rates regularly occurring interfering glitches; Here AMD’s driver team is required. The Radeon RX 480 with 8 GB of video memory achieved in 3DMark Fire Strike Extreme 5136 points. By comparison, the Radeon R9 380X manages 4025 points, a GTX 970 4880 points and a GTX 980 5593 points. VR applications, the Radeon RX 480 liquid. In Steam VR benchmark it reaches 6.7 points.

AMD presentation to Polaris architecture

The Radeon RX 480 violates the PCIe specification demonstrates what can be on some motherboards cause instability.
The power consumption of the Radeon RX 480 falls despite the new manufacturing process from higher than expected. At idle, the card draws 16 watts; According to AMD future drivers press the power at 11 watts and also allow in our tests nonfunctioning Zero Core Power function.

In games, the Radeon RX exceeds 480 even mentioned with 150 Watt thermal design power – and even the PCIe specification. On average, we have 156 watts measured at play, in Furmark the card even pulls at reduced clock 169 watts. Extremely problematic is the fact that the Radeon RX 480 playing solely from the specified maximum quantity of 75 Watt PCIe slot on the motherboard draws up to 88 watts. This may in some motherboards cause instability. Since AMD already operates the card standard far above the limit, we can do overclocking experiments with the reference design, which has only an additional 6-pin connector, only advise. Here one can only hope that AMD’s partners offer boards with standards-compliant layout and sufficient power supply.

The Radeon RX 480 has a Polaris graphics chip with 2304 shader cores. Enlarge
Picture: AMD
Radeon RX 480 and Linux
The open source Linux graphics drivers support the new graphics chip generation already – this is a novelty, because in the recent past it took at least months, to the open source drivers are unable to attract new GPUs. Rosy the situation is not yet, because the appropriate drivers stuck so far only in pre-release versions of the Linux kernel 4.7, 12.0 and Mesa LLVM 3.8.1 / 3.9. However, these versions should appear in the next few weeks, so Ubuntu 10.16 should and other distributions appearing in autumn supported the new graphics cards from home. Until then, there are also still eliminate some detail problems, because the brief test with development versions of the Linux kernel and the image of Mesa Radeon RX 480 flickered now and then; AMD’s open-source developers are discussing but just a few corrections that eliminate this problem if possible.

A detailed test, detailed test results and information on the Radeon RX 480 brings c’t in expenditure 15/2016.

Radeon RX 480 Radeon R9 390X Radeon R9 380X
GPU Polaris 10 Grenada XT (Hawaii) Antigua XT
Manufacturing 14 nm FinFET 28 nm 28 nm
Transistors k. A. 6.2 billion 5.0 billion
Shader cores 2304 2816 2048
Computing groups 36 CU 44 CU 32
Texture units 144 176 128
Texel throughput 182.3 Gtex / s 184.8 Gtex / s 124 Gtex / s
Raster output stages 32 64 32
GPU / Turbo clock 1120/1266 MHz 1050 MHz 970 MHz
Computing power (SP) 5.8 TFLOPS 5.91 TFLOPS 3.97 TFLOPS
Computing power (DP) k. A. 1.49 TFLOPS 0.24 TFLOPS
Memory 4/8 GB GDDR5 8GB GDDR5 4GB GDDR5
Memory clock (R / W) 4000 MHz 3000 MHz 2750 MHz
Memory connection 256-bit 512-bit 256-bit
Data transfer rate 224/256 GB / s 384 GB / s 176 GB / s
Power connectors 1 × 6-pin 1 x 6-pin, 1 x 8-pin 2 x 6-pin
Form factor dual-slot dual-slot dual-slot
Display terminals 3 × DP 1.4, HDMI 2.0b DP 1.2, HDMI 1.4a, 2 × DL-DVI DP 1.2, HDMI 1.4a, 2 × DL-DVI
Multi-screen operation 4 4 4
TDP 150 watts 275 watts 190 watts
Direct3D feature level 12_0 12_0 12_0
Price from 215/255 EUR 330 EUR 185 EUR

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