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AMD Radeon RX 590 review: A GTX 1060 killer

AMD Radeon RX 590 review: A GTX 1060 killer

Nicely, this can be a shock, isn’t it? After all of the hoo-hah of Nvidia’s new and glossy Turing RTX graphics playing cards, AMD have gone and snuck in one other mid-ranger proper underneath our noses within the type of the Radeon RX 590. Alas, it’s nonetheless not one of many long-awaited AMD Navi GPUs everybody’s been whispering about – it’s basically a Polaris card identical to the remainder of AMD’s RX 500 household – however it’s the first one to make use of a 12 nanometer (nm) manufacturing course of, which AMD say provides it a 12% efficiency increase over the nonetheless very a lot alive Radeon RX 580. Let’s have a look, we could?

In accordance with AMD, you see, there’s an enormous gap in mid-range graphics card land proper now. You’ve received your Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060s and your AMD Radeon RX 580s down at one finish within the area of £250 / $250 (that are nonetheless my two greatest graphics card suggestions for 1080p and 1440p gaming, by the best way), after which there’s nothing till you get to Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1070 and AMD’s Radeon RX Vega 56 playing cards across the £400 / $450 mark. There are, in fact, all the time going to be some playing cards mendacity on both aspect of these worth brackets, however that’s the tough common if you take a look at every thing all collectively.

That’s an enormous leap for what some may contemplate solely a marginal increase in efficiency. Positive, the GTX 1070 and Vega 56 will do 60fps at 2560×1440 principally at max high quality or very properly close to it, whereas the GTX 1060 and RX 580 are likely to max out round medium settings, however is that basically value one other £150 / $200? In any case, neither the GTX 1070 or Vega 56 are actually fairly ok for gaming at 4K to any nice diploma, so the primary advantages you’re getting are primarily going to be felt at 1440p.

Enter the RX 590, the cardboard that AMD are hoping will fill that hole after which some. Launching immediately from $280 (UK pricing is but to be confirmed at time of writing), there can be 4 associate playing cards to select from when shopping for an RX 590: one from Asus, Sapphire, PowerColor and XFX, the latter of which I’ve been despatched for testing (and sure, that may be a real and earnest use of ‘FATBOY’ on the field). What’s barely unusual concerning the RX 590, nevertheless, is that even AMD have stated that their fundamental audience for this specific card was these after max high quality at 1080p, not 1440p. The RX 580 can already do all that, so the place precisely does that depart the RX 590? The reply is, nicely, difficult.

In some methods, the RX 590 is a a lot clearer factor to know than the complicated 3GB / 6GB and 4GB / 8GB cut up you get with the GTX 1060 and its RX 580 sibling. It comes with 8GB of GDDR5 reminiscence straight off the bat (AMD have assured me there gained’t be an additional 4GB model additional down the road), and its base clock velocity begins at 1469MHz, which is a pleasant increase up from 1257MHz on the RX 580. Increase clock speeds will differ by producer, however AMD’s official specs record it at 1545MHz, which is as soon as once more a wholesome improve over the RX 580’s increase velocity of 1340MHz.

Beneath all that, little or no has modified. Positive, you’ve received extra transistors because of that 12nm manufacturing course of (the remainder of AMD’s RX 500 household are all 14nm playing cards), however the RX 590 nonetheless has the identical variety of compute models (36) and stream processors (2034) as its RX 580 sibling, and its reminiscence bandwidth (that’s, how a lot knowledge it might course of per second) nonetheless maxes out at 256GB/s, so it’s not likely the huge revolution in hardware some may need hoped for.

And but, that small little velocity bump may simply be sufficient to push it in entrance of its fundamental competitors, Nvidia’s 6GB GTX 1060. Once I put the RX 590 via my suite of video games benchmarks, for example, there have been a number of events the place it got here out on prime – and typically by fairly a substantial margin in addition.

Forza Horizon four was maybe the RX 590’s best hour, because it managed a really respectable common of 73fps in its inner benchmark on Extremely settings at 1440p, and even a silky 62fps on Medium at 4K. The GTX 1060, in the meantime, solely got here in with 57fps on the previous, and 52fps on the latter – not that that’s something to be sniffed at, in fact, particularly in case you’ve obtained a daily 60Hz monitor, however petrol heads with larger refresh fee screens will certainly really feel the RX distinction right here.

From the side, the FAT BOY looks not unlike a piece of concept art for a cyberpunk flying car.

Higher get these Eight-pin and 6-pin energy connectors prepared…

The Witcher III was one other robust displaying for the RX 590, though that’s in all probability right down to the very fact it isn’t having to cope with Geralt’s fancy Nvidia Hairworks-ified mane. Nonetheless, the sport felt infinitely smoother than virtually each Nvidia card I’ve examined in current reminiscence, and it even managed a playable vary of 38-47fps once I was poking concerning the forests of White Orchard on Extremely at 1440p.

This felt rather more snug than the 35-40fps I managed on the GTX 1060 with the identical settings, however dropping it right down to Excessive at 1440p was the place the RX 590 actually excelled. Right here, the RX 590 was dipping both aspect of 50fps (46-56fps, to be exact) – one thing I’d be completely pleased enjoying with if I didn’t have a body price counter going within the prime nook – whereas the GTX 1060 struggled to go a lot past a chopy 42-45fps, forcing me to knock the settings down even additional to Medium earlier than I obtained a comparable expertise.

An identical factor occurred in Monster Hunter: World, too. Whereas Highest at 1440p might be somewhat out of its depth, the RX 590 nonetheless put in an admirable 30-38fps out within the Historic Forest, the place because the GTX 1060 was caught within the mud down at 25-28fps. Certainly, the RX 590 maintained its roughly 10fps lead over the GTX 1060 on each graphics settings at 1440p, producing between 44-52fps on Excessive and 46-55fps on Medium. The identical factor occurred at 1080p, too, with the RX 590 slicing forward with a variety of 46-57fps on Highest over the GTX 1060’s 38-42fps.

Elsewhere, nevertheless, it was a way more intently fought race to the highest. In Murderer’s Creed Odyssey, for instance, each playing cards felt smoothest on Medium at 1440p, with the RX 590 coming in with a mean of 53fps and the GTX 1060 with 55fps. Now, whereas that’s technically a win for Nvidia on the body fee entrance, the RX 590 was rather more secure on the entire, solely dipping to 30fps as soon as throughout its inner benchmark run in comparison with half a dozen drops all the best way right down to 11fps on the GTX 1060. Whereas the GTX 1060’s body fee was yo-yoing up and down like ten thousand eagle dives, the RX 590 stored its cool all through, which I’d argue is much more reassuring than a few additional frames.

It was a lot the identical image at 1080p, too. The GTX may need the sting on common body fee, nevertheless it was the RX 590 that had the steadier hand. This can be as a result of Odyssey has been optimized for AMD playing cards, in fact, however even some Nvidia affiliated video games performed out higher on the RX 590 as properly.

The RX 590 comes with a plentiful provide of ports, together with three DisplayPorts, one HDMI and even DVI.

Working example: Shadow of the Tomb Raider. On Medium settings with SMAA anti-aliasing at 1440p, for instance, the GTX 1060 produced an honest 38-50fps within the opening space of Cozumel Caves, and 42-46fps out within the crowded Cozumel city sq.. The RX 590, then again, was approach out in entrance with 52-64fps within the caves and 51-58fps within the sq. – one thing the GTX 1060 was solely able to attaining on Low at that decision.

The distinction was even starker at 1080p. On Highest with the sport’s full SMAA x4 in impact, the RX 590 coped with the cave’s framerate-tanking textures superbly, dipping to only 48fps with highs of 61fps. Over in GTX land, nevertheless, the framerate crashed to only 28fps and solely ever recovered to a most of 42fps. Unusually, the GTX pulled itself collectively for an outing within the city sq., its 36-41fps virtually matching the RX’s 37-45fps, however as soon as once more I’d relatively have a card that’s secure than one which’s continually scrabbling up and down looking for an honest foothold.

That stated, there have been nonetheless a few events the place the RX 590 merely couldn’t compete with the GTX 1060, and that was mainly in Complete Warfare: Warhammer II and Ultimate Fantasy XV. Over in Warhammer land, they have been just about neck and neck on every little thing besides the important thing battleground of Excessive at 1440p, the place Nvidia scored a decisive victory with its common of 53fps over the RX 590’s 43fps – one thing the RX couldn’t match until I dropped the standard right down to Medium.

Equally, whereas each playing cards managed round 44-50fps in Last Fantasy XV on Common at 1440p, pushing it as much as Excessive noticed the GTX 1060 take one other 10fps-odd lead, shifting as much as 45-50fps with all of Nvidia’s fancy results turned off over the RX 590’s slightly uneven 33-37fps. The GTX 1060 had the higher hand at 1080p as properly, simply hitting 50-55fps on Highest sans Nvidia results in comparison with the RX’s 45-51fps. Likewise, making an attempt to activate any of the Nvidia results with the RX 590 (they nonetheless work to some extent on AMD playing cards, by the best way), was like casting a Demise spell on the framerate. It doesn’t matter what high quality setting I used, all the things simply plummeted down under 30fps the second I attempted to make use of any of them.

Nonetheless, as a lot because the RX 590 clearly isn’t the most effective graphics card for Ultimate Fantasy XV followers, the very fact stays that, usually, it provides the 6GB GTX 1060 an actual run for its cash. Admittedly, it’s troublesome to do a correct worth comparability at this exact second in time, what with it being every week earlier than the enormous day o’offers that’s Black Friday, however even when you will discover a GTX 1060 for beneath $280 (together with a free copy of Monster Hunter: World, let’s not overlook), AMD have their very own free recreation deal to assist counter this.

Certainly, whereas its earlier three free video games deal was fairly nice (*cough*Murderer’s Creed Odyssey*cough*), the brand new one which’s being bundled in with all RX 590 playing cards is arguably even higher, as this one entitles you to a free copy of Satan Might Cry 5, The Division 2 and Resident Evil 2 as and when every recreation will get launched. That’s fairly nice worth when all’s stated and accomplished, and if I used to be in search of a graphics card for medium to excessive (if not max in some instances) 1440p gaming in addition to flawless 1080p speeds for slightly below £300 / $300, the RX 590 would undoubtedly be a prime contender.

The way it compares to the RX 580, nevertheless, is a bit of more durable for me to gauge. Whereas we’ve got technically reviewed the RX 580, that was again when my freelancers and I have been taking a no-numbers strategy to graphics card testing (I do know, how silly). Likewise, as you could properly have seen from its continued absence in all of my subsequent graphics card efficiency checks with Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Murderer’s Creed Odyssey and Forza Horizon four, it’s been inconceivable to get one other one again in for retesting. As such, I’m at present missing any concrete RX 580 knowledge to do a correct comparability with, though I’ll in fact proceed to do my greatest to get one in for that very objective.

Nonetheless, as soon as costs are again to regular post-Black Friday, I’d think about the RX 590 will grow to be a really tempting proposition certainly – a really area of interest proposition, all advised, however a tempting one all the identical. Whereas there’s not a lot in it on the subject of Medium 1440p efficiency, the RX 590 makes pushing into Excessive settings or above far more viable than the GTX 1060 at this decision, which for some will probably be greater than value any additional expense. It’s nonetheless not fairly ok to fret the GTX 1070 or GTX 1070Ti on this entrance, however its lower cost makes it much more compelling for 1440p seekers.

When you’re nonetheless knocking round 1920×1080, nevertheless, the RX 590 doesn’t actually have that rather more to supply when it comes to 60fps efficiency past a little bit of future-proofing for whenever you ultimately determine to improve your monitor’s decision. As an alternative, you may as properly save your pennies and get both the RX 580 or GTX 1060 if you will discover one for much less, or go for the even cheaper Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050Ti when you’re not notably fussed about having max graphics high quality.

For these with their eyes firmly on near-perfect 1440p efficiency that doesn’t value the earth, nevertheless, the RX 590 is nicely value contemplating.