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AMD Radeon RX 480 8GB Review

Rise Of The Tomb Raider, The Division & The Witcher 3

Rise of the Tomb Raider

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The Radeon RX 480 beats its predecessors again in Rise of the Tomb Raider. Although the GeForce GTX 980 and 970 end up on top, we keep seeing the 480 land between what HTC and Oculus specify as a baseline for enjoyable VR.

At the time of writing, GTX 970s are selling for ~$275. R9 290s aren’t readily available any more, but 390s land in the same general vicinity. If AMD can offer the 8GB 480 we’re testing today for $220 or $230, it’ll play a more meaningful role in making VR accessible to more gamers.

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A more taxing graphics workload at 2560x1440 is just enough to give AMD’s Radeon R9 390X an edge over the 480.

The Division

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Remember that the partner boards we’re using are almost all overclocked a bit, so it’s fair to call the Radeon RX 480 as fast as the R9 390X and GTX 970 in The Division at 1920x1080. Frame time spikes from the R9 390 and R9 290 may be perceptible to some, though I didn’t note distracting stutter as the benchmarks ran. What we saw from Grand Theft Auto was far worse.

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A move up in the field is unexpected as the Radeon RX 480 contends with a higher resolution, especially since temporal anti-aliasing is always on (and the default option is super-sampling). But Polaris doesn’t pick up a position at the expense of another Radeon. Rather, it’s the GeForce GTX 970 that falls two spots. That’s fine by us—at least in this test, the 480 is faster than both VR entry points.

The Witcher 3

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It’s clear that, even at 1920x1080, the GeForce GTX 960 is out of its element in The Witcher 3. Meanwhile, we’ll glad put the RX 480 on par with AMD’s Radeon R9 390X and Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 970, both of which are represented by overclocked partner boards.

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AMD’s Radeon R9 390 and 390X both pass the GeForce GTX 970 at 2560x1440, costing Polaris one position in our average frame rate chart. Still, it enjoys a sizeable advantage over the aging R9 290. The frame time variance numbers look good as well, unless you’re the GeForce GTX 960, of course.


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Chris Angelini
Chris Angelini is an Editor Emeritus at Tom's Hardware US. He edits hardware reviews and covers high-profile CPU and GPU launches.