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Will The New Radeon 480 Fry Your Motherboard? Probably Not

Posted on July 4, 2016 by Rae Michelle Richards

AMD’s latest graphics card – the Radeon 480  – promised the performance of Nvidia’s previous generation near top end Geforce 970 for the shockingly low $199 USD. After only a few days users began reporting that the 480 was drawing more power from the PCI-Express port than it was drawing from the power supply connector. Is this a harm to user’s machines? AMD has issued a statement along with a promise to address the issue with an upcoming driver update.

I’ve been following the AMD Polaris architecture for months now and, of course, I got swept up into the hype surrounding the potential performance of the card. Benchmarks aside, the Radeon 480 looks to be the entry point for VR Early Adaptors who didn’t plunk down the coin for the Geforce 970 last year.


So, if you are looking to upgrade your graphics card should you be concerned about the amount of power that the 480 might draw from your board? Well, the bad news is that the card is going to draw more power than the PCIE specification. The card will pull just 75W from the six pin connector and the remaining 90W from the PCIE connector – 15 Watts over the recommended power consumption for a PCI Express slot.

YouTuber OzTalksHW tried out the Radeon 480 on an older motherboard and found similar issues to what testers have found – if are running a motherboard from the last five years or so you should be fine dealing with the power spike. If you’re running a motherboard from 2009 or prior you may experience random system shutdowns.

PCWorld spoke with anonymous motherboard manufacturers who said that random spikes shouldn’t be an issue but a sustained increased power-load could lead to damaged hardware. It should be noted that while discussions of this “power-gate” has been rampant on sites like reddit but the net hasn’t been flooded with reports of fried motherboards.  AMD has said in a statement that a driver fix is expected to be issued tomorrow.

Here is the full statement:

“As you know, we continuously tune our GPUs in order to maximize their performance within their given power envelopes and the speed of the memory interface, which in this case is an unprecedented 8Gbps for GDDR5. Recently, we identified select scenarios where the tuning of some RX 480 boards was not optimal. Fortunately, we can adjust the GPU’s tuning via software in order to resolve this issue. We are already testing a driver that implements a fix, and we will provide an update to the community on our progress on Tuesday (July 5, 2016).”

I’ve ordered a Radeon 480 and will gladly post some benchmarks using some of the most demanding titles that I own as well as some VR benchmarks. Unfortunately, these benchmarks will not include comparisons of other graphics card as my main gaming rig is currently down for repair 🙁 .. RIP previous graphics card.

Do you already own the Radeon 480? If so let me know what you think about it in the comments below.



First Benchmark Results For Polaris Powered AMD R9 480 Appear Online

Posted on May 23, 2016 by Rae Michelle Richards

The first benchmarks have been posted for the upcoming Radeon R9 480 thanks to a chart that appeared thanks to data obtained from software benchmark maker Futuremark. These benchmarks  may have used unreleased or even older drivers so these results shouldn’t be taken as final representation of the yet unannounced performance, but they do give a good baseline.

According to Videocardz.com three potentially different models of unreleased Polaris cards, each with the same clock speed but varying memory clocks. This could mean that these benchmarks were completed using the same cards with overclock enabled or separate SKUS that use the same clock speed. Videocardz postulates that the three cards represented 480, 480x and Crossfire configurations.


AMD Polaris 10 Benchmarks
Link Memory Core Clock Memory Clock Score
AMD Polaris 67DF:C4 — Radeon R9 480?
http://www.3dmark.com/3dm11/11167781 8GB 1266 MHz 1925 MHz 13160
http://www.3dmark.com/3dm11/11167887 8GB 1266 MHz 1925 MHz 16164
AMD Polaris 67DF:C7 — Radeon R9 480X?
http://www.3dmark.com/3dm11/11257751 8GB 1266 MHz 2000 MHz 15524
http://www.3dmark.com/3dm11/11263084 8GB 1266 MHz 2000 MHz 18060
AMD Polaris 67DF:C7 — Radeon R9 480X CROSSFIRE?
http://www.3dmark.com/3dm11/11263252 8GB 1266 MHz 2000 MHz 25803

Here are the basic specs for the supposed Radeon R9 480 as outlined in the original benchmarks:

  • Core clock speed of 1266mhz
  • Memory bandwidth between 1925 MHZ and 2000 MHZ
  • 8 GB of memory standard across the board.

As for the final 3DMark 11 scores, these three cards ranged from 13160 to 25803. Performance wise that would put the highest performing configuration from Futuremark (presumed to a 480 crossfire config) to be just two thousand points below NVidia’s flagship 1080. The second model referenced in these benchmarks (presumably the R9 480X) is just 200 points shy of the Radeon R9 FURY and lastly, what is presumed to be the 480 reference card sits just below the R9 390x.

Polaris is the successor to the Graphics Card Next platform that AMD has been using for a few years now. The first set of benchmarks for competitor NVidia’s Geforce 1080 hit the web a few days ago and will be available next month. No release date or even a formal announcement of the R9 480 has yet to be made by AMD.



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