AMD RX 480 8GB Review, Overclocking, & Exhaustive Benchmark

By Published June 29, 2016 at 9:00 am
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Additional Info

  • Component: Video Card
  • Original MSRP: 240
  • Manufacturer: AMD

 

How to Overclock the RX 480 & Polaris GPUs

Overclocking the RX 480 is only possible through AMD's WattMan software right now. Keep in mind that this testing was conducted pre-launch, but it is likely that the usual crew of AIB partner utilities will update as the RX 480 rolls out to market. For now, Afterburner is not compatible, leaving us to rely on AMD's software.

This time, though, that's an OK thing to rely on. WattMan is a massive improvement over OverDrive (now dead, thankfully), and allows enthusiast-level fine-tuning over most normal OC functions. Something like Afterburner may remove a few restrictions, but there don't seem to be many in place with the Radeon Settings utility.

WattMan allows dynamic or fixed clock speed modulation, controlled through a toggle and then through sliders (or manually input numbers). We switched to manual control and then configured the numbers to be equal across all 7 DPM states, since we don't much care for power savings when running OC testing. vCore can be tuned per state or left to automated control. Manually tuning vCore allows movement up to 1150mV. Power percent target increases to +50%, which grants us an additional 50% of base power to increase the clock and voltage. Memory overclocking is done with memory MHz offsets and memory voltage control (can be left to 'auto'). Thermal targets and fan RPM targets are relatively self-explanatory.

AMD RX 480 Max Overclocking Results

Here's our stepping table that shows the RX 480's overclock progression.

Core Clock (MHz) Mem CLK (MHz) Mem Offset (MHz) Power Target (%) Voltage vCore Offset 5m Test 60m Endurance Fan target
1266 2000 100 1.05 P P Auto
1280 2000 150 1.075 1100 P - 3500
1300 2000 150 1.0813 1110 P - 3500
1320 2000 150 1.0875 1110 P - 3500
1350 2000 150 1.0875 1110 F - 3500
1340 2000 150 1.1 1130 F - 3500
1340 2000 150 1.1 1130 F - 3800
1340 2000 150 1.1 1130 F - 3800
1340 2000 150 1.1187 1140 F - 3800
1340 2000 150 1.125 1150
Max
P - 3800
1340 2100 100 150 1.125 1150 P P 4100
1350
Max
2100 100 150 1.125 1150 P F 4100
1340 2150 150 150 1.125 1150 P P 4100
1340 2200 200 150 1.125 1150 P P 4100
1340 2250 250 150 1.125 1150 F
Flickering
- 4100

Voltage ended up around 1.125V, power target at 150%, and we configured the frequency (manually, across all states) to 1340MHz (~+74MHz offset from Boost). This effectively disables Boost. Memory was configured to 2200MHz (+200MHz offset) and left to a single state. Memory voltage control was left to WattMan to handle on auto, while vCore was manually tuned to its maximum setting of 1150mV.

Following this, we performed a two-hour burn-in of the overclock and created the below chart:

rx-480-oc-endurance-burn-in

This shows Metro: Last Light at 1440p (Very High with High tessellation) hammering the GPU for about two hours. The clock-rate, represented by the blue line, was almost perfectly stable at 1340MHz. There was only one anomalous instance where the clock dipped below 1340MHz, and that dip was inconsequential.

Temperature fluctuates pursuant to our fan speed configuration, which was a range of 3800~4300RPM, depending on test. This was loud and largely unbearable, but fine for burn-in. We would advise that any “real” user stay away from RPMs approaching and exceeding 4000.

GTX 1080 Founders Edition Overclocking Results

Here's our 1080 FE stepping, for reference. Note: Specific OC settings cannot be compared cross-architecture!

Core Clock (MHz) Core Offset (MHz) Mem CLK (MHz) Mem Offset (MHz) Power Target (%) 5m Test 60m Burn-in
1733 5005 100 Pass Pass
1880 150 5305 300 120 Pass -
1974 171 5305 300 120 Pass -
1987 190 5305 300 120 Pass -
2025 210 5305 300 120 Pass -
2050 230 5305 300 120 Fail
Driver Crash
 
~2030 220 5400 400 120 Pass Pass

GTX 1070 Founders Edition Overclocking Results

Here's our 1070 FE stepping, for reference. Note: Specific OC settings cannot be compared cross-architecture!

Core Clock (MHz) Core Offset (MHz) Mem CLK (MHz) Mem Offset (MHz) Voltage Voltage Offset Power Target (%) 5m test Endurance
1771 4006 950mv 0% 100% P -
1936 150 4151 300 1000mv 30% 112% (max) P -
1974 200 4353 350 1000 30 112 P -
x 250 x 400 1000 30 112 F -
1974 200 4374 375 1000 30 112 P -
x 250 x 375 x 30 112 F -
2015 225 4374 375 1000 30 112 F -
1974 200 4374 375 1000 30 112 P -
1974 200 4404 400 1000 30 112 P -
1974 200 4455 450 1000 30 112 P -
1987 215 4498 500 1000 30 112 P -
1987 215 4551 550 1000 30 112 P -
1987 220 4551 550 1000 30 112 F -
1987 215 4608 600 1000 30 112 P P
1987 215 4704 700 1000 30 112 artifacts -

AMD RX 480 – Overclocked FPS vs. Stock

Here's the output:

rx-480-oc-gtav-4k

rx-480-oc-gtav-1080p

rx-480-oc-mordor-4k

rx-480-oc-mordor-1440p

rx-480-oc-mordor-1080

We're looking at a range of ~5% to 10% change, depending on the game. Not massive, but enough to help push past 60FPS in some instances.

Mirror's Edge Catalyst shows some reasonable gains:

rx-480-oc-me-c-1440

rx-480-oc-me-c-1080p

Continue to the final page for the conclusion.


Last modified on July 19, 2016 at 9:00 am
Steve Burke

Steve started GamersNexus back when it was just a cool name, and now it's grown into an expansive website with an overwhelming amount of features. He recalls his first difficult decision with GN's direction: "I didn't know whether or not I wanted 'Gamers' to have a possessive apostrophe -- I mean, grammatically it should, but I didn't like it in the name. It was ugly. I also had people who were typing apostrophes into the address bar - sigh. It made sense to just leave it as 'Gamers.'"

First world problems, Steve. First world problems.

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