XFX Radeon RX 590 Fatboy review: Pedal to the heavy metal

Smaller process, bigger cooler, faster speeds—with tradeoffs

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Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation

Ashes of the Singularity ($40 on Humble) was one of the very first DX12 games, and it remains a flagbearer for the technology to this day thanks to the extreme scalability of Oxide Games’ next-gen Nitrous engine. With hundreds of units onscreen simultaneously and some serious graphics effects in play, the Crazy preset can make graphics cards sweat. Ashes runs in both DX11 and DX12, but we only test in DX12, as it delivers the best results for both Nvidia and AMD GPUs.

aots Brad Chacos/IDG

Nvidia’s put a lot of work into optimizing for Ashes, and it shows.

GTA V

We’re going to wrap things up with a couple of older games that aren’t really visual barnburners, but still top the Steam charts day-in and day-out. These are games that a lot of people play. First up: Grand Theft Auto V ($30 on Humble) with all options turned to Very High, all Advanced Graphics options except extended shadows enabled, and FXAA. GTA V runs on the RAGE engine and has received substantial updates since its initial launch.

gtav Brad Chacos/IDG

GTA heavily favors Nvidia GPUs (and GTX more than RTX). This is the only definitive victory for the EVGA GTX 1060 SSC. The Radeon options nevertheless deliver very playable frame rates at both resolutions.

Rainbow Six Siege

Finally, let’s take a peek at Rainbow Six Siege ($40 on Humble), a game whose audience just keeps on growing, and one that still feels like the only truly next-gen shooter after all these years. Like Ghost Recon Wildlands, this game runs on Ubisoft’s AnvilNext 2.0 engine, but Rainbow Six Siege responds especially well to games that lean on async compute features.

rb6 Brad Chacos/IDG

As a counterpoint to GTA’s Nvidia favoritism, Rainbow Six Siege adores the asynchronous compute capabilities found in Radeon graphics cards, and the AMD duo mops the floor with the GTX 1060. The XFX Radeon RX 590 is a stunning 30 percent faster than the GTX 1060. Heck, it’s even faster than the $380 GTX 1070 here. It’s only about 10 percent faster than the Strix RX 580 at 1080p, though.

Next page: Synthetics, power, thermals

At a Glance
  • The XFX Radeon RX 590 Fatboy uses brute force and an improved 12nm process to muscle past Nvidia's GTX 1060, but it doesn't displace the RX 580 completely.

    Pros

    • No-compromises 1080p and good 1440p performance
    • Lots of ports
    • FreeSync and free games offer great ecosystem value
    • Dual-BIOS lets you choose: speed or quiet
    • Out-performs the 6GB GTX 1060

    Cons

    • Hot and power hungry
    • Very large, fat card may not fit in all cases
    • Not much faster than RX 580 for the price
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