AMD Radeon RX 580 8GB Review

Power Consumption

Power Consumption Overview

Our exploration of power consumption begins with a look at the loads while running different tasks. After all, this is where AMD made the most headway with Radeon RX 580.

Specifically, power consumption is way down with multiple monitors attached, so long as you're running them all at the same resolution. Moreover, power use drops while watching video using hardware acceleration. An aggressively-overclocked card like Sapphire's Nitro+ Radeon RX 580 Limited Edition set to its O/C mode really shows off the effect of these lower GPU and memory clock rates.

Of course, it'd be great to see AMD roll these enhancements out to older Polaris-based cards via firmware update, but it sounds like the company has no plans to do this.

At 1411 MHz in silent mode and 1450 MHz in boost mode, you're talking about much higher clock rates than Ellesmere was originally set to run at. Impressively, Sapphire enables these frequencies without using more power than the Radeon RX 480. In our gaming loop, its Nitro+ Radeon RX 580 operates at an almost-constant 1450 MHz, whereas the previous-gen card was limited to 1350 MHz and used just as much power. One explanation for this is lower leakage current. A much better cooling solution helps keep GPU temperatures down, and we estimate this provides an advantage of ~10W.

The Radeon RX 580's higher frequency does come at a price, though: it requires a higher voltage setting.

Sapphire's Nitro+ Radeon RX 480 averages 1.15V and peaks at 1.1563V. Those numbers increase to an average of 1.1688V and a peak of 1.19V for the company's Nitro+ Radeon RX 580 Limited Edition, creating more power loss. This doesn't show up in the graph, though, because of the RX 480 card's much higher leakage current.

A Closer Look at Silent Mode

The Nitro+ Radeon RX 580 Limited Edition ships with a silent mode clock rate of 1411 MHz, which matches the boost mode setting of Sapphire's non-Limited Edition model. As a result, our results should apply to that card as well.

First, we present power consumption during our gaming loop:

The rails are balanced fairly well, though there are some brief peaks that exceed the motherboard slot’s maximum rating of 5.5A.

During our stress test, all of the numbers go up (some of them significantly). Now the motherboard slot consistently nudges up to the PCI-SIG specification's limits.

Illustrating the motherboard slot’s results with a bar graph shows just how close to the limit Sapphire gets with its Nitro+ Radeon RX 580 Limited Edition. The peaks aren’t particularly meaningful since they're brief; it's the constant loads you want to focus on. Those stay well within a safe range.

A Closer Look at Boost Mode

Switching over to boost mode pushes the Nitro+ Radeon RX 580 Limited Edition to a GPU clock rate of 1450 MHz. That's a big step up from the vanilla version's ceiling, but it should still represent what you might see after some manual overclocking. With this in mind, let’s take a look at power consumption during our gaming loop:

The rails are still balanced fairly well, even though we observe short peaks that exceed the motherboard slot’s maximum rating of 5.5A once again.

Again, our results increase significantly during the stress test, with the motherboard slot’s power consumption hovering around the PCI-SIG specification's limit.

The motherboard slot’s load doesn't increase, since the GPU is driven by the auxiliary power connectors. However, our numbers with manually overclocked memory, which is supplied by the PCIe slot, show Sapphire toeing the line.

Power Savings with Chill

AMD is making a big deal of its Chill technology with Radeon RX 580. This isn't new, though. Check out Benchmarking AMD Radeon Chill: Pumping The Brakes On Wasted Power from last December if you want more information.

Comparing To GeForce GTX 1060, 1070, and 1080

For a point of comparison to Radeon RX 580, check out the following power consumption measurements from several GeForce GTX 1060s. They fall well below Sapphire's overclocked board.

Why is it necessary to throw this information in as a post-script. Well, we think it's pretty important to mention that Sapphire's Nitro+ Radeon RX 580 Limited Edition uses as much power as overclocked third-party GeForce GTX 1080s in our gaming loop:

Bottom Line

The Radeon RX 580 shows us that when finesse isn't in the cards, brute force works, too. Dialing in a higher core voltage (and enduring its higher power losses) are the price you pay for a few extra megahertz of GPU clock rate. The improvements to get excited about are found elsewhere: AMD's Radeon RX 580 demonstrates lower power consumption in multi-monitor configurations and hardware-accelerated video playback thanks to a new memory clock state.

MORE: Best Graphics Cards

MORE: Desktop GPU Performance Hierarchy Table

MORE: All Graphics Content

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  • max0x7ba
    Battlefield 1 2560x1440, Ultra benchmark Radeon RX 580 minimum fps does not look right.
  • lasik124
    Unless I am really missing something, can't you just slightly overclock the 480 to match the slight performance boost the 580 has?
  • FormatC
    Anonymous said:
    Battlefield 1 2560x1440, Ultra benchmark Radeon RX 580 minimum fps does not look right.
    Take a look at the frametimes at start. I think, it's a driver issue, because it was reproducible ;)

    Anonymous said:
    Unless I am really missing something, can't you just slightly overclock the 480 to match the slight performance boost the 580 has?
    No, it were in each case less than 1375 MHz. Slower as the Silent Mode of this 580 and simply too hot for my taste. The problem is not the pre-defined clock rate itself but the reduced real clocks from power tune due temps and voltage/power limtations;)
  • lasik124
    Anonymous said:
    Anonymous said:
    Battlefield 1 2560x1440, Ultra benchmark Radeon RX 580 minimum fps does not look right.
    Take a look at the frametimes at start. I think, it's a driver issue, because it was reproducible ;)

    Anonymous said:
    Unless I am really missing something, can't you just slightly overclock the 480 to match the slight performance boost the 580 has?
    No, it were in each case less than 1375 MHz. Slower as the Silent Mode of this 580 and simply too hot for my taste. The problem is not the pre-defined clock rate itself but the reduced real clocks from power tune due temps and voltage/power limtations;)



    So i guess what Im trying to ask is it worth buying at 580 (Currently at a 7870) or save a couple bucks pick up a 480 non reference cooler and be able to slightly overclock it to get in game benchmarks similar if closely identical to the current 580?
  • Math Geek
    no, you'll get the 480 numbers with a 480. the tested card was already oc'ed and you won't get any better manually. the changes made to the 580 can't be done to the 480.

    want the extra few fps, then you'll want to get a 580.
  • turkey3_scratch
    I like the design of the Nitro card.
  • Tech_TTT
    I dont get it , for sure AMD could release this card as the original RX 480 long ago , why did they allow Nvidia GTX 1060 to steal the RX 480 share ?

    Very Stupid Strategy ... I now alot of people who bought GTX 1060 and wished AMD were better Just to take advantage of the cheaper Freesync Monitors.

    AMD you lost millions of buyers !!! for nothing !!!
  • turkey3_scratch
    Anonymous said:
    I dont get it , for sure AMD could release this card as the original RX 480 long ago , why did they allow Nvidia GTX 1060 to steal the RX 480 share ?

    Very Stupid Strategy ... I now alot of people who bought GTX 1060 and wished AMD were better Just to take advantage of the cheaper Freesync Monitors.

    AMD you lost millions of buyers !!! for nothing !!!


    Don't think it's as simple as you make it out to be. They're a huge company with a ton of professionals, they know what they're doing.
  • madmatt30
    Anonymous said:
    I dont get it , for sure AMD could release this card as the original RX 480 long ago , why did they allow Nvidia GTX 1060 to steal the RX 480 share ?

    Very Stupid Strategy ... I now alot of people who bought GTX 1060 and wished AMD were better Just to take advantage of the cheaper Freesync Monitors.

    AMD you lost millions of buyers !!! for nothing !!!

    .
    Better binning ,refinements on the power circuitry - something thats come with time after the initial production runs of the rx470/480.
    Fairly normal process for how amd work in all honesty.
    Has it lost them some custom to prospective buyers in the last 6 months since the rx series was released ?? Maybe a few - not even 1% of the buyers they'd have lost if theyd actually held the rx series release back until now though!!
  • Tech_TTT
    Anonymous said:
    Anonymous said:
    I dont get it , for sure AMD could release this card as the original RX 480 long ago , why did they allow Nvidia GTX 1060 to steal the RX 480 share ?

    Very Stupid Strategy ... I now alot of people who bought GTX 1060 and wished AMD were better Just to take advantage of the cheaper Freesync Monitors.

    AMD you lost millions of buyers !!! for nothing !!!

    .
    Better binning ,refinements on the power circuitry - something thats come with time after the initial production runs of the rx470/480.
    Fairly normal process for how amd work in all honesty.
    Has it lost them some custom to prospective buyers in the last 6 months since the rx series was released ?? Maybe a few - not even 1% of the buyers they'd have lost if theyd actually held the rx series release back until now though!!


    Thats the Job of the R&D in the beta testing interval .. not after release, I am not buying this explanation at all.
  • Tech_TTT
    Anonymous said:
    Anonymous said:
    I dont get it , for sure AMD could release this card as the original RX 480 long ago , why did they allow Nvidia GTX 1060 to steal the RX 480 share ?

    Very Stupid Strategy ... I now alot of people who bought GTX 1060 and wished AMD were better Just to take advantage of the cheaper Freesync Monitors.

    AMD you lost millions of buyers !!! for nothing !!!


    Don't think it's as simple as you make it out to be. They're a huge company with a ton of professionals, they know what they're doing.


    Blind faith ?

    sorry does not work .

    well Apple were huge once and they knew what they were doing and still lost the market when they kicked Steve Jobs out ...

    Digital Equipment were huge once ... they knew what they were doing

    SGI were huge once they knew what they were doing ...

    Comaq once were better than Dell they knew what they were doing .. where is Compaq now ?

    sorry does not work this way .
  • Isokolon
    Pretty sure they've released the rx480 ASAP
    And the Rx580 now wasn't ready back then

    It was important to release the 480 before the 1060 would come out to get early buyers.
    The fact that it took almost a year to release the 580 shows a lot.

    If they'd had waited with the 480 a few month they'd probably lost a huge amount of money
  • madmatt30
    Not seeing any reason to be disappinted at all personally.
    The 480 is still a good card for anyone who bought one on release - for anyone who hasnt it means a big price drop to the same pricepoint as the 1060 3gb for the 8gb models.

    The rx cards were a totally new fabrication process for amd after using pretty much the same stuff for the last 3 generations.
    Better binning refinements come with time on a new process!

    Where do you think the intel kaby lake chips appeared from 12-18 months after skylake ?? Theyre quite simply from a refined process & better binning of the same production line.
    Its a normal process , amd actually just managed it a bit quicker than is normal for them.
  • Sakkura
    Anonymous said:

    Blind faith ?

    sorry does not work .

    well Apple were huge once and they knew what they were doing and still lost the market when they kicked Steve Jobs out ...

    Digital Equipment were huge once ... they knew what they were doing

    SGI were huge once they knew what they were doing ...

    Comaq once were better than Dell they knew what they were doing .. where is Compaq now ?

    sorry does not work this way .


    Apple lost the market and were huge once? Excuse me, they just set a quarterly revenue record with 78 billion dollars earned in Q4 2016 (fiscal Q1 2017).

    The RX 480 was held to low clocks because the process node wasn't mature, and it was one of the first gaming GPUs in a long time not built by TSMC. It's only natural that they would eventually be able to reach higher clocks, which were not feasible at the 480 launch.

    Funny thing is it bears at least a passing resemblance to Nvidia's troubles with the GTX 480 back in the day. The GTX 580 polished that up.
  • elbert
    Anonymous said:
    Unless I am really missing something, can't you just slightly overclock the 480 to match the slight performance boost the 580 has?

    The 480 has a voltage limit of 1.15v so you had to mode the bios on the 480 to break beyond 1.4Ghz. Yes it could be done but only those that know how. Last OC I remember for the 480 was 1.65Ghz using LN2. I think the best Air OC was mid-ish 1.5Ghz but most on air wouldn't break 1.5Ghz due to the silicon lottery. The 580 seems to have a best performance around 1.48Ghz anyways with the memory OC'ed 50Mhz.
  • Martell1977
    I think you can attribute this to process maturity and design refinement. Have to remember that the 14nm process was brand new and as we always see, when the process matures, we get some enhancements. ALL companies do this.

    I have to admit I was surprised to see a 8 and 6 pin power connector on the 580, especially since the 480 took 1 - 8pin to be properly powered. But since this isn't a arch tweak, I understand it.

    So what it comes down to now is:
    Better efficiency and preference for older DX11 games = 1060
    Better DX12 and Vulcan + equal current DX11 games = 580

    I think this is a win for AMD overall. Guess we will have to wait for the 680 for architecture refinements or maybe by then we will be getting a look at Navi.
  • Tech_TTT
    a win for AMD ? it is TOOO LAATE .. ALL are waiting for the VEGA now... TOO LAATE ...
  • Tech_TTT
    Anonymous said:
    Anonymous said:

    Blind faith ?

    sorry does not work .

    well Apple were huge once and they knew what they were doing and still lost the market when they kicked Steve Jobs out ...

    Digital Equipment were huge once ... they knew what they were doing

    SGI were huge once they knew what they were doing ...

    Comaq once were better than Dell they knew what they were doing .. where is Compaq now ?

    sorry does not work this way .


    Apple lost the market and were huge once? Excuse me, they just set a quarterly revenue record with 78 billion dollars earned in Q4 2016 (fiscal Q1 2017).

    The RX 480 was held to low clocks because the process node wasn't mature, and it was one of the first gaming GPUs in a long time not built by TSMC. It's only natural that they would eventually be able to reach higher clocks, which were not feasible at the 480 launch.

    Funny thing is it bears at least a passing resemblance to Nvidia's troubles with the GTX 480 back in the day. The GTX 580 polished that up.


    I was talking about Apple old times when they struggled after kicking out Steve Jobs ... READ
  • Martell1977
    Anonymous said:
    Apple lost the market and were huge once? Excuse me, they just set a quarterly revenue record with 78 billion dollars earned in Q4 2016 (fiscal Q1 2017).


    I think they were referring to how they dominated the PC market back in the 70's, then Jobs made some really bad business decisions, got removed from the company and Apple spent several decades as a footnote. Today, their computer business isn't exactly booming, just the phones and tablets.
  • Martell1977
    Anonymous said:
    a win for AMD ? it is TOOO LAATE .. ALL are waiting for the VEGA now... TOO LAATE ...


    Vega is top end, this is a mainstream market refresh. Not too late for anything, they tuned and corrected some design flaws while the maturity of the process let them boost the clocks.

    nVidia could potentially do a similar thing, but they are probably just moving on.