For a long time, Nvidia has been the big player in the GPU market with AMD having to take a back seat in terms of sales. However, it is truly time for the tables to turn with the release of the RX 480. This is the Pascal GPU that AMD fans have been waiting a long time for, and rightly so; it’s the budget friendly card that is going to eat hard into the profits of Nvidia. Judging by the reviews, this is a budget priced card that is able to outperform the GTX 970 which is no slouch in the graphics department in a lot of games at full HD resolution.
The approach that AMD have taken with the RX 480 is that it is a mainstream powerhouse card for the masses with it being able to provide gamers with the VR experience without having to pay even more money to get the Nvidia equivalent (the GTX 1070 and 1080). To that end, they have actually came out with two versions of the card, one with 4Gb of RAM and the other with 8Gb of RAM. For those that are money savvy and are only going to be going down the route of using 1 monitor and not wanting to partake in VR then the 4Gb option is the sweet spot, especially when you consider that it is under £200. For those that are wanting to use VR, then the 8Gb version for around £225 is the ideal choice.
By going after the mid range market, AMD are effectively making the RX 480 their version of the Nvidia GTX 750 Ti. The Ti was an amazingly cheap GPU with the ability to play a lot of games at a resolution that didn’t actually stress the card to the lengths that there was extreme slow down. As times have moved on, so has the tech behind it and with the right marketing the RX 480 can become the next 750 Ti in terms of popularity amongst the mid range GPU market.
The reviews for the RX 480 are already extremely positive and by capitalising on this, it will allow AMD to take a chunk out of the market share of the GTX 1070 which is its closest competitor when it comes to VR gaming. When you consider that the 1070 can be as much as £200 more expensive than the RX 480, this is going to put a lot of people off of the 1070 if they’re wanting to go down the VR route. VR gaming headsets are extremely expensive as it is, and forking out extra cash when it isn’t necessary isn’t something that many gamers are going to want to do.
There is the argument that for a lot of games the GTX 970 and RX 480 are extremely close in terms of performance and as a result many will end up opting for the Green Team since it’s a more established brand. However the RX 480 was found to draw less power than the GTX 970 in various tests performed by EuroGamer, which in itself could swing the balance of those that may have wanted to go for the Green Team and head to the Red Team instead. Not only is it cheaper than the GTX 970, but it will cost less to run as well.
If AMD can sustain the momentum generated already by the RX 480 then it could return the company to it’s glory days of the past when it was beating Intel in the CPU race. Whilst this hasn’t been a discussion about CPUs, the revenue generated from these GPUs could be invested into the CPU sector to bring about the performance seen in the Core i7 line.
The AMD RX 480 is available in the USA Canada and also the UK.