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.
  • 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.