AMD today announced its Radeon RX 590 graphics card. This is an unexpected product launch given the current competitive environment, and nobody expected something new from AMD until 2019. The Radeon RX 590 is designed for the vast majority of PC gamers who still play at Full HD (1080p) resolution and is priced under $300. With a number of AAA game launches lined up for the holiday, AMD is going after the crowd that's either upgrading or gifting a graphics card for gameplay at 1080p with all details maxed out in every game. Rival NVIDIA hasn't managed to address this segment with its RTX "Turing" architecture yet, and there is a big price-performance gap between its "Pascal" GeForce GTX 1060 and $360 GTX 1070, which AMD is targeting with the RX 590.
The Radeon RX 590 packs none of the exotic HBM tech from its RX Vega siblings and uses existing GDDR5 memory, which has AMD and its partners enjoy more headroom in which to adjust prices. It is based on the "Polaris 30" silicon, which is essentially a "Polaris 10" die built on the latest 12 nm FinFET node at GlobalFoundries, yielding significant energy-efficiency dividends AMD is cashing in on to increase clock speeds by 15 percent. The engine clock has been dialed up to 1545 MHz, compared to the 1340 MHz of the RX 580.
Unlike the RX 580, the new RX 590 only comes with 8 GB of video memory (no 4 GB variant), and the card's memory setup is unchanged: 8 Gbps GDDR5 over a 256-bit wide memory interface, which yields 256 GB/s of bandwidth. The "Polaris 30" silicon features the same core-configuration as its predecessors, with 2,304 stream processors spread across 36 compute units, 144 TMUs, and 32 ROPs. There's still no ray-tracing machinery to rival RTX, or other new features.
In this review, we're taking a look at the Sapphire Radeon RX 590 NITRO+ Special Edition. Thanks to the pin-compatibility between Polaris 30 and its older siblings, Sapphire is reusing the PCB and cooler design from its RX 580 NITRO+ Special Edition. The card draws power from an 8-pin and a 6-pin PCIe power connector. There's also a factory-overclock on tap, which has the card running at 1560 MHz out of the box. Memory is overclocked to 8.40 Gbps. The card offers dual BIOS, and while the main BIOS packs the advertised speeds, a second "Silent" BIOS runs it at lower clock speeds, which triggers the existing fan-curve less, resulting in a generally quieter card.
|RX 470||$165||2048||32||932 MHz||1216 MHz||1650 MHz||Ellesmere||5700M||4 GB, GDDR5, 256-bit|
|RX 570||$150||2048||32||1168 MHz||1244 MHz||1750 MHz||Ellesmere||5700M||4 GB, GDDR5, 256-bit|
|GTX 970||$235||1664||56||1051 MHz||1178 MHz||1750 MHz||GM204||5200M||4 GB, GDDR5, 256-bit|
|RX 480||$230||2304||32||1120 MHz||1266 MHz||2000 MHz||Ellesmere||5700M||8 GB, GDDR5, 256-bit|
|RX 580||$200||2304||32||1257 MHz||1340 MHz||2000 MHz||Ellesmere||5700M||8 GB, GDDR5, 256-bit|
|RX 590||$280||2304||32||1469 MHz||1545 MHz||2000 MHz||Polaris 30||5700M||8 GB, GDDR5, 256-bit|
|Sapphire RX |
|$280||2304||32||1469 MHz||1560 MHz||2000 MHz||Polaris 30||5700M||8 GB, GDDR5, 256-bit|
|GTX 1060 3 GB||$200||1152||48||1506 MHz||1708 MHz||2002 MHz||GP106||4400M||3 GB, GDDR5, 192-bit|
|GTX 1060||$230||1280||48||1506 MHz||1708 MHz||2002 MHz||GP106||4400M||6 GB, GDDR5, 192-bit|
|GTX 980 Ti||$390||2816||96||1000 MHz||1075 MHz||1750 MHz||GM200||8000M||6 GB, GDDR5, 384-bit|
|R9 Fury X||$380||4096||64||1050 MHz||N/A||500 MHz||Fiji||8900M||4 GB, HBM, 4096-bit|
|GTX 1070||$360||1920||64||1506 MHz||1683 MHz||2002 MHz||GP104||7200M||8 GB, GDDR5, 256-bit|
|RX Vega 56||$350||3584||64||1156 MHz||1471 MHz||800 MHz||Vega 10||12500M||8 GB, HBM2, 2048-bit|
|GTX 1070 Ti||$380||2432||64||1607 MHz||1683 MHz||2000 MHz||GP104||7200M||8 GB, GDDR5, 256-bit|