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AMD Radeon RX 580 8GB Review

Fan Speed and Noise

Fan RPM and Fan Control

Sapphire promised a fan controller that would react to load changes much more quickly than before, and the company kept its word. The temperature curves didn't really illustrate this, so we decided to chart the fan speeds we logged during our tests instead, starting with the gaming loop:

The boost mode curve shows that the fans have to push hard in a closed case to keep Sapphire's temperatures within reason. This is why the board and components mounted on it are so much cooler, even though the GPU itself operates at the same temperature as silent mode. The fans spin at 1700 RPM. That's 300 RPM faster than our silent mode measurements. This also shows why we make it a point to test inside of a case.

Repeating the process with our more taxing stress test yields surprising results: in silent mode, the fans spin at 1500 RPM. This is a big increase compared to what we found in the gaming loop.

In boost mode, however, the fans don't get up to the same 1700 RPM. Rather, they remain just under 1600 RPM. Their speed is more consistent, reflecting a balanced curve.

Even though these results might seem puzzling (why spin slower under a heavier load?), they actually make sense. Sapphire set its fan controller to react to changes in load, and the gaming loop generates bigger spikes than the stress test. Our power consumption numbers bear this out.

Noise

Sapphire's noise levels land right around 36 dB(A) in silent mode during our gaming loop. This is a quiet graphics card, to be sure. An analysis of the frequency spectrum yields more interesting findings: the lines between 220 and 300 Hz are caused by fan bearings and vibrations; they fluctuate along with fan speed and load changes.

The mark from ~1400 Hz upwards is indicative of the actual fan noise. And the high-frequency strip at approximately 15 kHz represents electrical noises (coil whine), which is well within reason.

Switching to boost mode doesn’t have much of an impact on the noise level, which goes up by 1.4 dB(A), or the frequency spectrum.

Hitting the card in boost mode with our stress test adds another 1.8 dB(A). The resulting 39 dB(A) is audible, but the noise's gentle whooshing character helps Sapphire's Nitro+ Radeon RX 580 Limited Edition blend into the background.

Although there are certainly quieter coolers out there, Sapphire achieves a good balance between size, weight, performance, and noise. Again, kudos to Sapphire for listening to feedback and implementing improvements that result in better products.


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  • max0x7ba
    Battlefield 1 2560x1440, Ultra benchmark Radeon RX 580 minimum fps does not look right.
    Reply
  • lasik124
    Unless I am really missing something, can't you just slightly overclock the 480 to match the slight performance boost the 580 has?
    Reply
  • FormatC
    19579183 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 ;)

    19579237 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;)

    Reply
  • lasik124
    19579253 said:
    19579183 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 ;)

    19579237 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?
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • turkey3_scratch
    I like the design of the Nitro card.
    Reply
  • 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 !!!
    Reply
  • turkey3_scratch
    19579402 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.
    Reply
  • madmatt30
    19579402 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!!
    Reply
  • Tech_TTT
    19579428 said:
    19579402 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.
    Reply