AMD Radeon RX 480 review: Redefining what's possible with a $200 graphics card

The $200 Radeon RX 480 is the first graphics card built around AMD's 14nm Polaris GPU, and it changes the game.

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SteamVR

VR benchmarks haven’t been able to keep up with graphics technology. More granular VR benchmark tools promised from Crytek and Basemark haven’t hit the streets yet.

That leaves us with no easy way to quantify the Radeon RX 480’s potential performance increase over the competition except for the SteamVR benchmark. Having said that, this tool is better as a pass/fail test for determining whether your rig can handle VR than it is for making head-to-head GPU comparisons. Here the RX 480 falls—barely—in the test’s green “capable” limits, just behind the EVGA 970 FTW.

480 steam vr

3DMark Fire Strike and Fire Strike Ultra

We also tested the RX 480 and its rivals using 3DMark’s highly respected Fire Strike synthetic benchmark, which runs at 1080p.

480 fire strike

Next page: Power and heat

At a Glance
  • AMD's first graphics card built around its cutting-edge Polaris GPU delivers big performance and better power efficiency for just $200, or slightly more for an 8GB version.

    Pros

    • Dirt-cheap price
    • No-compromises 1080p gaming, good 1440p gaming
    • Can power virtual reality headsets
    • Big leap in power efficiency over past AMD cards

    Cons

    • Still not as power efficient as GeForce cards
    • Stability and performance issues with slick new overclocking software
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