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XFX Radeon RX 580 8GB GTS Black Edition Review

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Category: Video Cards
Price: $259.99
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XFX Radeon RX 580 8GB GTS Black Edition Introduction:

Having looked at one of the latest RX 580, it's clear that this launch was not about Vega, but that we get an update of Polaris. While many will try and crush AMD for pushing out a refresh to extend the life cycle of Polaris with new features, it's not something that is wholly uncommon in this day and age. Therefore we can look at these cards for what they are - a higher binned Polaris GPU that offers improved FPS performance with a new feature set. As AMD states, Polaris Refreshed!  That being said, the first card I looked at was an overclocking beast and set a high bar to reach for. This gave me hope that I could see some really nice overclocking margins across the board.

XFX's RX 580 8GB GTS Black Edition card is a factory overclocked card that uses a TrueClock OC of 1405MHz on the core right out of the gate with an OC+ core clock of 1425MHz possible. A total of 8GB of high speed GDDR5 memory is used to handle the textures to make 2560 x 1440 the new resolution target. The RX 480 was billed as a card that offered a great gaming experience at 1920 x 1080 and could make its way to 2560 x 1440 with some tweaks. The higher clock speeds on the RX 580, or Polaris Refreshed, actually can get the card to deliver a great gaming experience at 2560 x 1440.

Market price for this card from XFX is going to be $259, or pretty much the same price points that the RX 480 came to market at, making this a perfect card for someone looking for a hardware upgrade right now. Let's see how this card from XFX performs to see if it measures up!  

XFX Radeon RX 580 8GB GTS Black Edition Closer Look:

If you look for your XFX products at a brick and mortar location, the dark packaging with red accents is easy to spot on the shelf. The front of the package has the XFX logo up top with a shadowy image of the RX 580 8GB GTS Black Edition. The red bar across the box lists the model number, Radeon RX 580 8GB, with badges to the left and right that let the user know this is a factory overclocked GTS Black Edition card. Along the bottom of the box are the AMD-specific features that states this card is VR ready, HDR ready, supports AMD FreeSync technology, and is built on the 14nm FinFET process. The back side again looks at the feature set of this card from XFX. Three highlights are XFX's use of Supercell 100mm fans, the Quad Com four heat pipe-based cooling solution, and that the Supercell fans support ZeroDB load sensing technology. Inside the package is a bare bones box that holds the card in place during shipping. While I think foam does a better job of insulating the card from damage, XFX's all cardboard option just works.

 

 

XFX has several versions of the RX 580 8GB. This one is the GTS Black Edition, a factory overclocked sample that should allow it to outperform the RX 480. The front view shows off the unique design of the card with a pair of Supercell 100mm fans dominating the view. The shroud has a carbon fiber effect on it for added visual appeal The back side of the card has an aluminum back plate that serves multiple purposes from adding stability to the card and to aid in cooling the back side of the PCB. The XFX logo stands out prominently on the backplate. Measuring 266x116x60mm, this card easily fits in most chassis. This Polaris "20" card is built around the 14nm FinFET Polaris GPU and is for use in a motherboard equipped with a PCIe Gen3 16x slot. The top side of the shroud provides a visual of the XFX logo that lights up, along with the quad heat pipes that are integral to the cooling solution. The bottom view shows how robust the heat sink package is and the amount of space occupied by the heat sink.  

 

 

 

Display connectivity on the XFX RX 580 8GB GTS Black Edition consists of a single DL-DVI-D port, a single HDMI 2.0b port, and a trio of HDR-ready DisplayPort 1.4 ports that support up to four displays. The openings in the I/O panel continues to be the large XFX logo that allows for plenty of airflow to come out of the card; the bulk of the thermal load will be dumped into the chassis. This is not a new problem, as we see it on most cards with this cooling design. Modern chassis are well equipped to turn over the case air volume fairly regularly with large 120mm and 140mm fans to manage the airflow. The back end of the card features an angled, vented, decorative shroud. This shroud is part of the aluminum backplate and wraps around the back end of the card to finish the back end of the RX 580 8GB GTX Black Edition.

The RX 580 does support CrossFireX technology if you want to push your 4K gaming to higher FPS levels. Gone are the bridge connections of the past, as AMD to moved on to XConnect technology to pass the cross card communication through the PCIe 3.0 bus. This cleans up the look in your chassis. A single 8-pin PEG connection helps supply up to 200 watts of power when you combine the 75W from the PCIe bus and the 125W from the power supply through the 8-pin PEG connection. XFX recommends at least a 500W PSU as the minimum requirement, with a preferred PSU with a rating of 550W or better when using the RX 580 8GB GTS Black Edition.  A small switch is located just forward of the 8-pin power connection. This switch lets you choose between normal and low noise BIOS profiles.

 

 

Peeling the heat sink package off the card shows just how much space is occupied by the PCB and the new composite heat pipe-based cooling solution. XFX uses its XL Ultra Low Noise Inducters to reduce any coil whine on the 6+1 phase digital VRM circuit. Much like the PowerColor card I looked at, the PCB is short on this RX 580 as well. You get a good bit of space behind the PCB that is open and is used more as a detail element rather than adding functionality.

 

 

XFX is known for its cooling solutions. The solution used on the RX 580 8GB GTS Black Edition features a large aluminum fin array that connects to a copper base plate. A quartet of 8mm composite heat pipes carry the thermal load from the GPU, VRM, and GDDR5 memory to the large fin array. XFX now utilizes a composite heat pipe with a sintered bronze inner structure that rides against an internally micro-grooved copper outer layer to employ both liquid and capillary action as a means to improve cooling efficiency by up to 30%. Thick thermal pads are used to interface with the GDDR5 memory and VRM circuit, while a moderate layer of thermal compound is used between the copper plate and 14nm FinFET silicon.

 

 

A pair of First D 100mm fans are used to provide the airflow through the heat pipe-based cooling solutions. These fans, part number FDC10U12S9-C, are a 100mm diameter fan with 11 blades to provide a steady stream of airflow to cool the GPU, as well as the VRM components and memory. XFX calls these fans its Supercell fans that are designed to lower fan noise by 10% while improving airflow by 10% to maximize the cooling potential of the cooling package. As a Zero DB fan, these fans can sit idle until the thermal load increases to a predetermined set point and cycle on to keep the card's components cool. 

 

 

As a refresh, we are going to see the same 4th Generation 14nm FinFET GCN core, renamed Polaris 20, based on the Ellesmere architecture powering this generation of RX 500 series products. Packed into the 232mm² sized die are 36 compute units, 2304 Stream processors, 144 texture units, and 32 ROPs. The baseline core clock speed on this card comes in at 1405MHz from the factory and is tuned with XFX's True Clock technology. The 8GB of Samsung GDDR5 memory is running at an effective data rate of 8000Gbps or 2000MHz through a 256-bit bus to ensure you have plenty of memory bandwidth available. 

 

 

XFX normally puts together some interesting cards and this one is no different with the large cooling fans, custom cooing, all-digital VRM circuit, and decidedly unique looks; its hard not to like this card. The only way to improve it would be to incorporate the company's Hard Swap fan technology!




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