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AMD Radeon RX 480 8GB Review

Hitman, Metro: Last Light Redux & Project CARS

Hitman

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Strong performance in Hitman lands the Radeon R9 390X and 390 ahead of Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 980. The Radeon RX 480 lands right below that board, and in front of the Radeon R9 290. Absolute performance is clearly a problem for Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 960.

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The previous assessment holds true at 2560x1440, where the larger Hawaii-based chips extend their lead over Polaris 10 somewhat. Fortunately, with Radeon RX 480 behaving a lot like a GeForce GTX 980, its value is undeniable.

Metro: Last Light Redux

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Like Battlefield 4, we know Metro to be graphically taxing. It similarly beats the Radeon RX 480 up at 1920x1080, placing Polaris right around the Radeon R9 290 (and that’s despite running settings that don’t include super-sampling, which would have been debilitating). Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 970 is faster, as are the Radeon R9 390 and 390X.

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Pushing the resolution to 2560x1440 changes little; AMD’s Radeon RX 480 performs a lot like the company’s R9 290 yet again. Not that this is bad. The 290 has more Stream processors, more texture units, twice as many ROPs and a 512-bit memory bus offering a lot more bandwidth. But an improved architecture and higher clocks help even the playing field.

Project CARS

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That Nvidia enjoys a large advantage in Project CARS is no surprising. It’s more interesting that AMD’s Radeon RX 480 trumps both 300-series cards, even with the Anti-Aliasing option set to High, corresponding to a custom 4x MSAA mode. Better still, frame time variance is incredibly low on the 480, resulting in smooth delivery.

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The gap between AMD’s cards narrows, but Radeon RX 480 remains on top. Outperforming two beefy 275W previous-gen boards using a 150W GPU with fewer on-die resources is an impressive feat for AMD. Of course, Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1070 posts even more exciting numbers at that 150W power ceiling. But that card starts at $450.


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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.