AMD Radeon RX 580 8GB Review

Temperatures and GPU Frequencies

Gaming Temperatures and Clock Frequencies

We start with our gaming loop, comparing Sapphire's silent and boost modes. In the two graphs below, temperatures and clock rates are recorded on an open bench table and inside of a closed PC case. The fact that there's really no difference in temperature shows the cooler keeping up with what we're asking from it.

The GPU frequency in silent mode is up to 1411 MHz, whereas boost mode achieves 1450 MHz. Neither setting is consistent throughout our test period, but they get close.

The Nitro+ Radeon RX 580 Limited Edition's 1450 MHz boost mode does represent a fairly rigid overclocking ceiling for this GPU, though. We have to assume we're already working with a hand-selected processor, and manually overclocking it beyond the boost clock rate is practically impossible. Pushing any higher simply results in the frequency dropping more often.

The most we were able to get out of Sapphire's golden sample was 1475 MHz. That's not much of an increase, and the subsequent pull-backs brought the average down to 1450 MHz. In short, manual overclocking is almost completely pointless. And we don't have anything nicer to say about our efforts with the memory.

Still, we observed temperatures between 74 to 76°C on our open bench table and closed case, and those are solid figures.

Stress Test Temperatures and Clock Frequencies

An even more taxing stress test challenges Sapphire's cooling solution more than any real-world workload. And the result is a drop in clock rate that erodes all of the boost mode's advantage. It doesn’t matter which BIOS setting you pick or if you run the card on an open bench; the result is the same.

Using Sapphire's overclocked settings, the cooler reaches its limit. Its fans spin noticeably faster and yet the temperature still ends up a tad higher at 76°C. We even see 78°C briefly.

GPU temperatures only tell part of the story, though. We also need to take measurements across the rest of the board.

Board Temperatures

Because Sapphire's backplate plays an active role in cooling, we didn't remove it from the Nitro+ Radeon RX 580 Limited Edition. Luckily for us, Sapphire provides gaps in the metal right where we need to point our infrared equipment, saving us from drilling holes.

Gaming Temperatures in Silent Mode and Boost Mode

Temperatures corresponding to both of the board's operating modes are shown below. You'll find two infrared thermal pictures each: the left one reflects performance on an open bench table and the right one is in a closed PC case.

The GPU package's temperature is much higher than what the integrated diode would have us believe. That heat comes from the PCB and its metal layers.

In boost mode, the GPU and its package get at least as hot as before, while all of the other components remain a lot cooler. You see, they benefit from the faster-spinning fan and its increased airflow (even if the consequence is more noise).

Stress Test Temperatures in Silent Mode and Boost Mode

We push the Nitro+ Radeon RX 580 Limited Edition's cooler to its limit once again with a stress test. Sapphire’s marketing material touts the thermal solution's ability to cope with up to 300W, and our loop provides a respectable 240W. This is just about as far as the GPU can go, yielding an effective worst-case scenario.

In boost mode, the load is consistently more debilitating, yet the fans don't speed up as much as they did in silent mode. As a result, we measure higher temperatures in several places across the board. Still, our readings are perfectly acceptable.

Sapphire's cooler does its job well and may even offer a bit of thermal headroom. Kudos to the company for arming this generation's Nitro+ card with a clear step up from its predecessor.

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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.