AMD released the Polaris based RX 590 GPU yesterday. This graphics card is targeted for the mainstream market with a price range of less than $300. The RX 590 is sort of an overclocked version of the RX 580 which was launched last year. There is no hiding the fact that the high-end segment of GPUs is still dominated by NVIDIA and mainstream market is the only sector AMD can really compete in and make a difference. The only NVIDIA GeForce GPU in the sub-$300 category is the GTX 1060 whose current direct competitor is the AMD RX 580. The RX 580 already beats GTX 1060 because of its modern API and lower price and the RX 590 is only going to increase the lead.

The Radeon RX 590 is based on Polaris graphics architecture and has identical specifications as the RX 580, with a slight performance boost due to a better and more recent 12nm manufacturing process from GlobalFoundries. This enables higher clock speeds on an increased power supply.

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AMD is not going to ship a reference design for the RX 590, but four custom models from Asus, Sapphire, XFX, PowerColor are already available to buy. AMD is also including a launch bundle of three games: Resident Evil 2 (2019), The Division 2, and Devil May Cry 5. This offer is being called the “Raise the Game Fully Loaded” bundle and runs until February 9, 2019.

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THE TEST BED

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GAMING BENCHMARKS

Battlefield 1 (DX 11)

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As you can see, the RX 590 sits right below the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070. The difference between fps for the two GPUs is not drastic but can still make some difference when it comes to multiplayer gaming.

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The GTX 1060 6 GB Founder’s Edition lags behind the original RX 480 8GB, and the higher clock speeds on the RX 590 allowed it to further increase the lead.

Far Cry 5 (DX 11)

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The results in Far Cry 5 are somewhat identical to what we saw in BF1. The RX 590 is still sitting between GTX 1070 FE and GTX 1060 6GB FE. The card was able to come really close to the 60 fps mark at 1440p Ultra settings and reached 80 fps mark at 1080p Ultra settings.

Final Fantasy XV (DX 11)

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As you can see the RX 590 is able to handle Ultra settings at both 1440p and 1080p ultra settings. Interestingly, the GTX 1060 6GB FE was able to reduce the gap in this game but is still behind. Again the GPU was very close to touching the 60fps mark at 1080p resolution.

GTA V (DX 11)

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As you can see, the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 6GB FE was finally able to beat the RX 590 in this test. NVIDIA cards are known to perform better on this game and it is quite evident by the results. As you can see, the GTX 1060 was able to cross the 60fps mark on 1080p with the RX 590 still falling a bit short in touching the magical number.


COMPUTE AND SYNTHETIC BENCHMARKS

Compute: CompuBench 2.0

Compute: FAHBench

Compute: Geekbench 4

Synthetic: TessMark

Synthetic: Beyond3D


POWER, THERMALS, AND ACOUSTICS

Power Consumption

The performance gains that the Radeon RX 590 has been able to achieve are due to the increased clock speeds, and with increased clock speeds comes increased power consumption.

Increasing TBP has been a trend already seen as it increased from 150W to 185W for RX 480 and RX 580 respectively and now with the RX 590, TBP has increased to 225 W.

Idle power consumption is still normal and shows no changes.

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When it comes to load power consumption, this is where you can observe the difference.

The RX 590 uses about 30-45 W more power than the RX 580 in Battlefield 1 and about 45-80 W more in FurMark. Compared to GTX 1060 6GB FE, the differences are even more drastic, in Battlefield 1, the RX 590 draws about 110 W more power than the GTX 1060 to provide a performance boost of 10 percent.

It can be safely said that the RX 590 is nowhere close to being called a power efficient card.

Thermals

As power consumption increases, heat and temperatures also become a huge issue. Here are the temperature levels reached in the idle state, running Battlefield 1 and then FurMark.

Acoustics

The RX 590 uses the zero dB functionality to reduce the noise levels. The fans turn off under certain temperatures making the card completely silent.


CONCLUSIONS: AMD RADEON RX 590

The RX 590 is obviously more powerful than the RX 580 thanks to higher clock speeds but also at the cost of additional power consumption. RX 590 is about 12 percent faster than the RX 580 at 1080p/1440p and about 14-15 percent faster than the RX 480.

The RX 590 competes directly with NVIDIA GTX 1060 6GB and older GTX 900 series cards. It leads the GTX 1060 GB FE by around 9 percent in performance but still lags behind in some games like GTA V.

Coming out with the RX 590 is a smart move on AMD’s part by slightly tweaking their already existing mainstreams GPUs and launching a ‘new’ 12nm card and showcasing just how good their cards are for the mainstream market.

AMD knows that the high-end category is still dominated by NVIDIA and there are still no cards to compete against even the old but powerful GTX 1080 Ti and the new RTX 2070. The Radeon RX 590 is AMD’s attempt to make a dent in the mainstream GPU market, and it’s a good one.

Still, we wouldn’t recommend buying the RX 590 right away though, because the slight performance improvement over the RX 580 doesn’t justify the increased power consumption and the price difference.

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