PowerColor Radeon Red Devil RX 580 8GB Golden Sample Reviewccokeman -
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PowerColor Radeon Red Devil RX 580 8GB Golden Sample Testing:
Temperature testing will be accomplished by loading the video card to 100% using Unigine Heaven Benchmark Version 4.0, with MSI Afterburner overclocking utility for temperature monitoring. I will be using a resolution of 1920x1080 using 8x AA and a five-run sequence to run the test, ensuring that the maximum thermal threshold is reached. The fan speed will be left in the control of the driver package and video card BIOS for the stock load test, with the fan moved to 100% to see the best possible cooling scenario for the overclocked load test. The idle test will involve a twenty-minute cooldown, with the fan speeds left on automatic in the stock speed testing and bumped up to 100% when running overclocked.
- Monitoring with MSI Afterburner
- Unigine Heaven 4.0 1920x1080 8x AA
- 5-run sequence
- 20-minute idle duration
- Temperature measured in degrees Celsius
Power consumption of the system will be measured at both idle and loaded states, taking into account the peak voltage of the system with each video card installed. I will use Unigine Heaven Benchmark version 4.0 to put a load onto the GPU using the settings below. A fifteen-minute load test will be used to heat up the GPU, with the highest power usage recorded as the final result. The idle results will be measured after fifteen minutes of inactivity on the system with the lowest recorded power usage as the final result.
- Unigine 4.0 Heaven Benchmark
- 1920x1080 resolution
- 8x AA
- 15-minute load test
- 15-minute idle test
- Measurement is in watts
PowerColor really got it right on this card when you look at the cooling performance numbers. It is running big clock speeds right out of the box, so these results are even more impressive. At idle in a 2D environment, the 100mm fans do not spool up, leading to slightly higher idle numbers. These, however, are not bad. Under load, the fans just spin up when the GPU core reachs 59 °C. Once the fans kick in, they spin slowly enough that you cannot hear them turning, but they do keep the silicon at less than 60 °C under load. Overclocking and turning the fan speed to 100% shows how well the massive five heat pipe heat sink can handle the extra thermal load imposed by the elevated core voltage and massive 1528MHz clock speed on the core. Cranking the fans to 100% usually means you have an angry noisy beast whining away in the chassis, but the Red Devil RX 580 plays it cool and quiet, offering an excellent thermal performance.
Power consumption has been one of AMD's achilles heels over the past few generations. For this refresh of Polaris, we see the same concerns that we have in the past. The elevated core clock speeds do not come from just a well binned enhanced process, but it takes a little current to run the numbers. The Red Devil RX 580 8GB Golden Sample shows an uptick in current use at both stock and overclocked speeds. The power efficiency when overclocked takes a hit thanks to the massive current increase needed to run the numbers. When compared to the GTX 1060 OC, the variance is between 60 watts (stock) and 93 watts (overclocked), so AMD still has a way to go to equal the power efficiency of NVIDIA's Pascal chips.
That being said, there is still improvement over the R9 Fury. AMD has introduced Chill technology for this revision of Polaris. What this setting does, when activated in the Global Wattman tool and in the supported game, is to reduce the frame rate and power consumption in high FPS situations when there is no action detected on the screen or when there is a lack of hardware input, such as standing still. It took some tweaking and reducing the visual quality to get the FPS level high enoungh for it to work. The FPS range is configurable so that you can set the minimum and maximum ranges for application of the algorithms. In my quick testing, it did reduce power consumption in those situations where I was stationary to validate that it does work. AMD stated that the switches between low and high power are imperceptible, and in my quick test I did not see enough to make or break the technology as I normally am running visual quality settings at a point where the GPU is the limiting factor for my FPS levels. I like my games pretty! What can I say!