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PowerColor Radeon Red Devil RX 580 8GB Golden Sample Review

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PowerColor Radeon Red Devil RX 580 8GB Golden Sample Conclusion:

As a refresh of Polaris, let's get the bad out of the way first. What we get with this launch is a faster, higher clocked core that showed improved performance metrics at 2560 x 1440 with a new technology to limit frame rates to improve power consumption. In a small nutshell, that's what we have here. That being said, there is no need to bash AMD for extending the legs on an existing architecture as the 14nm FinFET process has shown some maturity. Hence the new naming structure. Both camps have done it in the past and will continue to do so in the future. I just want to point it out up front.

Having looked at PowerColor's Red Devil RX 480 last year, I have to say that it knocked this one out of the park. Starting with the overall performance of the Red Devil RX 580 8GB Golden Sample, the card delivers higher performance results than the XFX RX 480 GTR and by default the Red Devil RX 480. On the Red Devil RX 480, I had problems getting the card to keep its factory boost clock of 1330MHz, hampering overall performance. Not so with this card, as the 1425MHz core clock speed was there hot or cold and did not fall off when the load significantly increased. This helped drive FPS performance up that next notch.

Depending on which game you play, most of the comparison can be made between the Red Devil RX 580 8GB Golden Sample and a GTX 1060 6GB card. In my testing, I found that the amount of out right performance wins, ties, and losses to the GTX 1060 were pretty evenly spread when you count them out. Ties were a less than 1.5 FPS variance between the cards. This encompasses both the stock and overclocked testing. Essentially, you need to choose your card now by what games you play due to the optimizations applied during the build out of the game.

Cooling performance is going to be something you do not need to worry about with this new addition to the Red Devil family. A massive five heat pipe cooler easily handles the thermal load from the all-digital VRM, Ellesmere core, and 8GB of GDDR5 memory without missing a beat. Compared to last year's cooling solution, this beast of a cooler has it beat hands down. It is more compact, leading to a smaller overall footprint of the RX 580 8GB Golden Sample. By using a pair of 100mm ball bearing fans, the airflow is available to push through the heat sink without a lot of noise generated. In a less graphically intense game, the fans may not even spool up, thanks to the overall efficiency of the heat sink package. Smaller, quieter, and more efficient was the right choice by PowerColor.

There was little overclocking margin left over on the earlier Polaris cards and they had pretty predictable limits. PowerColor built this card out for long term performance, but also equipped it with the tools to deliver a really nice overclock. The Platinum Power Kit-DrMOS all-digital power circuit on the custom PCB helps deliver clean, stable voltage to the card for maximum overclocking. I was able to push the core on this card up and over 1500MHz with some voltage tuning that resulted in a final core clock speed of 1528MHz, the highest clock speed I have reached on a Polaris (original or refreshed). The memory was a little less forgiving, but still pushed up and over 2100MHz to drive FPS performance. Even if you do not overclock this card, by way of its higher clock speeds it is a bonafide 2560 x 1440 resolution card. The RX 480 was a truly decent 1920 x 1080 card that could step up into the 2560 x 1440 foot print, but the RX 580 fits in this space pretty well. PowerColor's Red Devil RX 580 8GB Golden Sample delivers a great gaming experience when you look outside the min/max and average frame rates.

Pricing on this Golden Sample edition of the PowerColor Red Devil RX 580 8GB will come in at $269 at launch, or basically $10 less than the Red Devil RX 480 launched at back in August of 2016. You will be able to find cards from PowerColor and the rest of AMD's partners all around the $250 to $279 range today. The RX 480 is going to come in from lower price points to higher price points, depending on the card, while the GTX 1060 has cards in that same price range, so again performance scales from game to game from one camp to the next.

As an upgrade path from earlier hardware, the RX 580 is not a bad path in the $250ish space as it does offer improvements in clock speeds, ergo FPS performance. If you have something more capable, you may want to wait for Vega, but if you are in the market now at the price point you cannot go wrong with the PowerColor RX 580 8GB Golden Sample. It is the golden ticket from what I am seeing and hearing.

 

Pros:

  • Golden Ticket
  • Overclocking
  • Excellent cooling
  • Low noise
  • Good looks
  • Smaller size
  • Pricing

 

Cons:

  • Polaris refreshed
  • Power use overclocked


 

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