With the graphics card AMD Radeon RX 480 is trying to regain its former strength, so even before the appearance of the graphics card on the market AMD PR-department worked tirelessly. As a result, we got a good graphics card for a relatively low price, but make sure she is not around. The main problem was the presence on the market only reference design, even for he did not impose performance limitations. Mention may be made, and a small scandal with excessive power through the PCI Express slot, but AMD has already decided this issue. In our test lab received the first graphics card to an alternative design – PowerColor Radeon RX 480 Red Devil.
The first models with the reference design become available in the market shortly after the release of Radeon RX 480, but alternative designs had to wait another month. Finally, in our test lab received the first such card. Officially, AMD says too good sales of the standard version. But it is unlikely we will ever know the true reasons for the delay and the date when the first AMD partners have begun to receive the first GPU designs. In any case, it is not so important, because in the coming days we will see many new models with the alternative design, and the buyers will have a wider choice.
The market is unfolding battle between Radeon RX 480 and GeForce GTX 1060, although there is definitive conclusions can not be done due to poor availability of models with alternative design. The GeForce GTX 1060, as a whole, provides a slightly better performance in DirectX 11 games, although it is more expensive. Radeon RX 480, on the other hand, provides a good performance DirectX 12 and Asynchronous Compute Vulkan.
But back to the video card PowerColor Radeon RX 480 Red Devil. The Taiwanese manufacturer continues its line of Devil with a few changes in the naming scheme. Revised PCB and alternative cooling system should provide a significant advantage in comparison with the standard version. If you are interested in details about the architecture of Polaris, we encourage you to read our first review of the reference Radeon RX 480. AMD has transferred the production of new chips on 14-nm process FinFET, which should positively affect the efficiency.
In the eyes immediately catch the specifications differ PowerColor Radeon RX 480 Red Devil with the standard version. PowerColor chose the factory overclocked to 1.330 MHz, that is about 5% in comparison with the standard version. And this level of frequency of 1.330 MHz is stored in both the Silent and OC mode, the difference between them lies in the fan control system. PowerColor Radeon RX 480 Red Devil is equipped with 8 GB of GDDR5 memory, which operates at a frequency of 2.000 MHz. The memory bus is 256 bits, resulting in bandwidth up to 256 GB / s.
Key characteristics such as 2.304 stream processor 144 and the texture unit 32 pipeline (ROP) raster operations, are identical. Typical power consumption of AMD standard version refers to the level of 150 W, but it is observed only in Compatibility Mode mode. For PowerColor Radeon RX 480 Red Devil, we expect a higher level of energy consumption, to ensure the work of the graphics card at higher clock frequencies.
As shown by numerous tests with the new GPU, whether it’s from AMD or NVIDIA, the performance of graphics cards with alternative cooling systems significantly influence the clock frequency and temperature. In the case of PowerColor Radeon RX 480 Red Devil are two different BIOS, which adds another variable. Here we will talk about this in more detail.
PowerColor graphics card Radeon RX 480 Red Devil claims frequency Boost 1.330 MHz in both versions of your BIOS, but even in the OC mode, this level is maintained not always. In most applications and games we have claimed 1,330 MHz, but not all. results for OC BIOS mode are shown in the table above in the case of Silent BIOS is different. Here the video card does not even reach the frequencies of standard version Radeon RX 480. On the fan work in two modes will be discussed in the test temperature and noise level.
During our test we had no time to update the BIOS, since PowerColor released a new version. After the reviews on our part manufacturer makes some changes and released an updated BIOS. If you decide to buy an early copy of the video card yourself, then you should think about upgrading, as PowerColor will not be able to equip a new video card BIOS, already shipped to partners. Both the BIOS (Silent and OC) can be sewn through the utility ATIFlash.
Before we move on to a detailed review of the video card PowerColor Radeon RX 480 Red Devil, let me talk about the specifications of the radiator, PCB, and other functions.
Visually Mezhuyev first video card with the alternative cooling system and the reference version of the very significant differences. Let’s start with size. In reference card PCB length is 180 mm, in PowerColor Radeon RX 480 Red Devil we get 240 mm. But that’s not all: in standard video card cooler length coincides with the PCB, but in case of Radeon RX 480 Red Devil cooler graphics card extends up to 295 mm. So called novelty compact language does not turn. However, the card continues to meet the ATX specification, so it will fit in most cases. The same applies to the thickness of two slots. Below we will look at other details along with photos card.
If you do not know which model to you, it is unlikely to guess PowerColor video card of the middle class. The length is about 300 mm, which is closer to the high-end models. But such an approach will allow manufacturers to ensure sufficient cooling to unlock the potential of GPU. Three fans can be called a classic design of the cooler, they provide an adequate supply of fresh air.
video design is quite typical for the “diabolical” theme. Dominated by red and black tones. This impression is intensified aggressive forms and fonts. In fact, not so important, what kind of video card is in front of us, “Red Devil” or “Ultra Edition”. Much more important is the level of performance that we get.
Behind closed PCB metal plate. It is almost continuous, although you may notice a few round holes emanating from the center of the pentagram as the rays of the sun. Of course, the pentagram also fits perfectly into the “devil” theme. But any other “references to the devil,” we have not found.
All three of the fan has a diameter of 80 mm. If you believe the PowerColor, used in high-quality ball bearings for smooth rotation and reliable operation. Also, the fan impeller can be seen the special design of the blades. It aims to provide a greater volume of blown air and prevent accumulation of dust. In idle mode, the fans are stopped, and this applies to both modes OC and Silent Mode. Fans GPU cooling stop at a temperature below 50 ° C, they start to unwind when heated GPU to 62 ° C. OC mode fan rotates at a speed of up to 1,800 revolutions / min, Silent mode – to 1,600 rev / min.
AMD for the standard version Radeon RX 480 indicates a typical power consumption of 150 watts. Video consumes 75 watts through a PCI Express slot, and 75 W via an additional power socket. But, as it turned out, Radeon RX 480 still consumes a little more than 150 watts, exceeding the nominal load on the PCI Express slot. Updating the AMD driver solved the problem by moving the “bottleneck” in the 6-pin PCI Express auxiliary power. But in practice it does not matter.
AMD Partners, as a rule, established in one 8-pin connector for additional power supply, as in the case of PowerColor Radeon RX 480 Red Devil. As a result, the graphics card can theoretically consume up to 225 watts. Power Color also increased the number of voltage regulator phases.
PowerColor decorated end graphics card Red Devil logo. Manufacturer for some reason, refused to highlight, although it is unlikely to be relevant to owners of buildings without a side window. In any case, PowerColor decided not to play in a fashionable topic RGB-illumination.
With new graphics GPU Pascal on a number of manufacturers added utilities to switch between several modes of operation. Typically, this mode OC, Silent and Gaming. But PowerColor graphics card Radeon RX 480 Red Devil chose switch BIOS. It allows you to switch between two BIOS, namely of Silent BIOS and OC BIOS. The maximum GPU frequency in the BIOS of the two the same, the differences lie only on the fan speed. Below, in the section test the noise level and temperature, we will talk about the fans in greater detail.
On the plug slot, we get the familiar interface in the form of three DisplayPort 1.3 / 1.4, one HDMI 2.0b video output and dual DVI. AMD’s reference version abandoned the two-channel DVI, but PowerColor decided to still keep the old interface.
We now turn to a detailed examination of the PCB and cooler PowerColor Radeon RX 480 Red Devil.
In the photo above clearly visible differences in the length of the PCB and cooler. Of course, compact video card PowerColor Radeon RX 480 Red Devil will not name. Radiator extends the entire length of the video card, but it not only cools the GPU.
Without the cooler can be considered PCB Radeon RX 480 Red Devil in detail. Here, as in the case of AMD standard video card, the power subsystem components are not located in the usual place on the back of the PCB, and a slot between the plug and GPU.
It seems to us, the PowerColor should review the amount of thermal paste on the GPU as and from the contact plate cooler it was applied much more than needed. When assembling the video card, we have reduced the amount of thermal paste, but any difference in the test results not received. Around the GPU it has eight memory chips. They are produced by Samsung and have K4G80325FB-25 labeling. Chips capacity 8.192 Gbit / 1GB arranged in a configuration of 32 x 256 Mbps. Packing 170FBGA operates from 1.35V voltage, clock frequency of up to 2,000 MHz. It is at this frequency and working memory PowerColor Radeon RX 480 Red Devil.
At the rear of the printed circuit board is usually filled with the components of the power subsystem. The video card Power Color Radeon RX 480 Red Devil is different, since the phases are shifted into the area between the plug and the slot GPU. Here, the rear part of the video is quite deserted, as you can see and the soldering point to additional components. Will PowerColor install additional components on the soldering points, is still unknown.
In the standard version Radeon RX 480 for the GPU power supply meet the six phases. The same thing we get in the case of PowerColor Radeon RX 480 Red Devil, but PowerColor emphasizes that a correct distribution of power, PCI Express slot is not overloaded. According to PowerColor each phase can provide a power of 25 watts instead of 22.5 watts. Typical power consumption is stated at the level of 175 watts.
For cooling PowerColor used a copper base. But it only contacts the GPU. The memory chips transmit heat to the metal frame of the cooler, the same applies to the components of the power system. PowerColor inflicted on the GPU too much thermal paste, heat from memory chips given to the thermal interface material.
Through the base are four heatpipes. Two have a diameter of 6 mm, two more – 8 mm, the resulting heat is effectively transferred to the heat sink. However, the effectiveness will be talking after the test results.
Let’s start with the test results of power consumption, noise and temperature.
The level of noise in idle mode, we have not found anything special. Fans stops, so the card runs quietly – this applies to both the BIOS options, OC, and Silent.
Under load, the differences are more noticeable because the fans are running at a different speed. OC BIOS With a maximum speed of 1,800 rev / min, in case we get Silent BIOS speed to about 1,600 r / min. The noise level in Silent Mode is really as follows: 35.2 dB (A) against the 37.6 dB (A).
According to temperature differences idle, we found, after a certain period, we get the same level of temperature in the OC and Silent modes. The temperature of 38 ° C in idle fan is quite normal.
Under load, the difference is palpable. The OC GPU mode is heated to a temperature of 80 ° C, in Silent mode – only up to 76 ° C. Higher temperatures are not explained at fan speed (OC mode it is, on the contrary, above), but much higher level of heat dissipation. Accordingly, we need to get a higher level of energy consumption.
As power consumption in OC mode or Silent we did not observe differences. The system consumes about 133.5 watts. However, the differences between video cards still small, so the higher power consumption is almost negligible.
Under load, the differences have more tangible. The video card PowerColor Radeon RX 480 Red Devil with OC BIOS uses about 20 watts more than the standard version. Of course, the reason lies in the dispersal. Please note that the new video card GPU NVIDIA Pascal operate much more economically.
In multi-monitor power consumption PowerColor Radeon RX 480 Red Devil mode increases slightly, no, we do not see problems here.
Let’s start with the bad: the name of the PowerColor Radeon RX 480 Red Devil is hardly justified, “diabolical” performance level we have not received. However, the card still provides a decent performance boost compared to the standard version, the noise level in this case is much lower. All this is somewhat different from a number of not quite successful models PowerColor in the past. So the company is on the right track!
Let me say a few words about the performance. 5% rate increase gives comparable performance increase in games. But we should not think that has changed the positioning of the factory overclock video card. Video Card Radeon RX 480 is still not suitable for games in 4K resolution. But for 1080p resolution with a high level of quality it is enough. The same can be said about the 1440p, albeit with some victims of the picture quality.
The advantages we put off function fans PowerColor Radeon RX 480 Red Devil idle. And no matter what mode the video card, OC or Silent BIOS. Below a temperature of 50 ° C the fans are stopped. On the plus side video noise in the OC BIOS mode, and especially Silent BIOS mode PowerColor Radeon RX 480 Red Devil running noticeably quieter than almost all other video cards in our tests. At temperatures any problems, not even in the OC BIOS Mode card is not heated above 80 ° C, while remaining below the limit temperature strips. Of course, we got quite a noticeable difference in power consumption in OC BIOS mode, graphics card PowerColor Radeon RX 480 Red Devil consume slightly more power.
Sales PowerColor Radeon RX 480 Red Devil has not yet appeared in Europe, the graphics card can soon be ordered at a price of 349 euros. Manufactures have recommended price of 299 euros, but it is unknown whether we’ll see a level of retail.