Having been announced back at Computex, the AMD RX 480 is the first graphics card to hit the market using the company's new Polaris architecture. Lots of big claims were made about the RX 480 at launch, not least that AMD was shooting for "good VR at $200."
This isn't a high-end option and it's not for those who are seriously considering a GTX 1080 or 1070 from NVIDIA. AMD went for the mass market, the balance of price to performance, and puts itself squarely in the space of the GTX 970, a highly regarded, VR capable card.
The reviews so far look pretty promising for AMD. One goes so far as to say that "there's no reason to buy a GTX 970 anymore," since the RX 480 performance is sufficiently high with a decent undercutting on price.
But, we'll let you make up your own minds. Below we've rounded up a selection of written and video reviews, be sure to check them out and let us know your own thoughts in the comments below.
For those that don't have pockets deep enough to keep up with the bleeding edge, AMD's Polaris 10 architecture aims for the sweet spot and ends up being mighty tasty. It may not be the fillet mignon of graphics cards, but you can enjoy several good RX 480 steaks for the price of a GTX 1080 fillet. Besides, rib-eyes taste better than fillet mignon.
Today's launch of the Radeon RX 480 leaves AMD is in a good position. They have the mainstream market to themselves, and RX 480 is a strong showing for their new Polaris architecture. AMD will have to fend off NVIDIA at some point, but for now they can sit back and enjoy another successful launch.
In the end, AMD has successfully delivered on its promise of making a VR-ready card that everyone can afford. And what's most intriguing is that NVIDIA doesn't yet have a viable budget competitor. The door is wide open for AMD to redefine what a low-end GPU can do.
If you have a 1440p monitor and have extra money to spend, the GTX 1070 is a better bet, but if you're on a tight budget the RX 480 is more than capable, especially if you're not fussed about having every single graphics setting maxed out.
In the end, we get performance somewhere between a Radeon R9 290 and 390 at dramatically lower power and a $240 price tag. Compare that to GeForce GTX 970 with half as much memory for ~$280 and Radeon R9 390 8GB in the same neighborhood. It's hardly what we'd call the cusp of a revolution, particularly since you still have to pay $600 for a Rift or $800 for the Vive. But we certainly appreciate the combination of smaller, faster, cooler and quieter, all for less money.
AMD has delivered the most cost-effective GPU for a premium VR experience. That's a key sell for the red team, but in a world where the headsets are so hugely expensive, we're not sure it's the most compelling use-case scenario for this product
The AMD RX480 8GB is a powerful and capable graphics card which appears to exhibit plenty of overclocking potential. While the reference card has performed well in our analysis, the cooling system is rather feeble and we look forward to testing higher grade partner cards in the coming weeks.