At Computex 2016 today, AMD took to the stage to reveal their latest GPU, the RX 480. Priced at starting at $199, the company says they designed the card to help make the first 100 million PCs ready for VR.

On stage at AMD’s Computex 2016 keynote today, Raja Koduri, Senior VP & Chief Architect of Radeon Technologies Group, revealed the AMD RX 480 GPU, saying that the card is designed for “premium VR”.

amd rx 480 polaris (5)

Koduri said that AMD has found that of 1.43 billion PCs worldwide, only 13 million (just 1%) this year will have the graphics power needed to run high end virtual reality like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. Further, the company found that cost is the leading factor preventing adoption.

amd rx 480 polaris (6)

The $199 4GB version of the RX 280 is a far cry from Nvidia’s recently launched $699 GTX 1080, against which AMD compared their new card. The less expensive GTX 1070 ($450) is probably a more fair cost comparison, but the reason why AMD chose to pit it as the benchmark backdrop quickly became clear.

amd rx 480 polaris (3)

Running a non-VR game, Ashes of the Singularity (2016), side-by-side against the GTX 1080 showed that two RX 480s in a Dual Graphics configuration bested the 1080 with only 51% utilization compared to 98.7% on the competing card. And that, Koduri gladly noted, was achieved for less than $500. Of course, a singular benchmark like this doesn’t come close to telling the entire story, but AMD could have an interesting case for gamers wanting high-end performance for less. Importantly for VR gamers though, there’s no telling yet if using dual RX 480s will scale as well for VR applications as it does as well as we see here in a non-VR application.

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“We’ve seen an incredible range of immersive applications and game-changing experiences that have given millions of people around the world their first taste of virtual reality,” said Nate Mitchell, VP of Product at Oculus. “AMD is going to help drive that adoption forward even more by bringing their high-end VR GPUs to the $199 price point.”

AMD Radeon RX 480 Specs

amd rx 480 polaris (4)

Despite the relatively diminutive cost, AMD claims that the RX 480 is “built like a $500 premium card,” noting that the cooling and other design aspects can be seen in their top-of-the-line cards from their last generation.

The RX 480 is among the first GPUs from AMD build on their 14nm FinFET ‘Polaris’ architecture, making it, at 150W, the company’s most power efficient GPU ever, according to Koduri. The card’s $199 starting price is for the 4GB flavor, while an 8GB model will be offered as well, though the company has not yet priced it. The RX 480 release date is set for June 29th.


And while the RX 480 is priced at $199, Koduri claims that the 5 TFLOP card hopes to last for the next several years of VR gaming.

“We chose the computing and the bandwidth and the specification of the card based on what the content developers are going to tune for over the next 3-4 years,” he said. “So we didn’t make it a card that is just for this year, this is a card for the next 3-4 years, with our deep understanding of the content pipeline for what’s coming.”

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Of course, where the acceptable bar for GPU horsepower in VR uses is ultimately in the hands of consumer and developer adoption, and that largely depends upon what the market decides it’s willing to pay for the VR experience. If the market leans toward the high-end, and sticks with Nvidia’s more powerful but generally more expensive GPUs, the RX 480 may see itself outmoded earlier than AMD hopes. If things go the other way, and the market jives with a lower price point, AMD could be in a great place with their cost-focused strategy, leaving Nvidia cards for a more niche high-end audience.

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Ben is the world's most senior professional analyst solely dedicated to the XR industry, having founded Road to VR in 2011—a year before the Oculus Kickstarter sparked a resurgence that led to the modern XR landscape. He has authored more than 3,000 articles chronicling the evolution of the XR industry over more than a decade. With that unique perspective, Ben has been consistently recognized as one of the most influential voices in XR, giving keynotes and joining panel and podcast discussions at key industry events. He is a self-described "journalist and analyst, not evangelist."
  • CM Harrington

    Wow, that DX12 chart is some seriously shady jiggery pokery.

    The fine print: it uses 2x 480s to get *slightly* more FPS in one single test on one game.

    I doubt this card, ostensibly a rebadged 280 with some more VRAM, will really be able to hit what we consider high-end VR today.

    For the super budget conscious though, it may work out. For the $200-$300 range though, I’d check out the (as yet unofficial) GTX1060, which will probably have similar or better TDP of the 480, and probably slightly better performance.

    • LoLo

      Lol, it runs about as fast as the gtx 980 and is much less than half the price of the nvidias offering. They are targeting the mainstream market. It’s not a rebranded card… do some research for God’s sake.

      • Brandon Toy

        Actually, CM Harrington was more on the nose than you might think. That DX 12 chart showed performance of TWO 480s and it may be a moderately isolated performance test. We will have to wait for more conclusive benchmarks before we can make an accurate assessment. Also, note how it says “Under $500” instead of $400 (which would be the price of two 480s). This makes it seem like they may be the more expensive 8GB variations rather than the baseline unit.

        • LoLo

          On the nose? A hammer on his own foot perhaps.

          It’s not a rebranded card and Noth is targeted at the mainstream market. This is not AMD’s high end card, this is the card that they are using to retake market share.

          The point of the benchmark is showing the efficiency of the new architecture. Your looking at two cards at half utilization dominate their competitors flagship. And at a fractional cost.

          We will see benchmarks soon. We’ll chat when we see the numbers

          • Andrew Jakobs

            But if 2 cards could do it on half the utilization, then why can’t it do a bit less on one card with 99% utilization… You know there is something not right with that comparision.. But we’ll just have to wait until actual real (independent) benchmarks are released..

          • LoLo

            The benchmark is there to show you that the two cards efficiently leverage the performance benefits of async compute and explicit asynchronous multi-GPU features. I am not a gpu architecture expert but I am a programmer. Sometimes when you add resources you don’t get linear performance improvements. And I mean that for better and for worse.

            I think we should be able to infer from the move from the 28nm to 14nm and architectural advances that we are going to get serious performance improvements. A card that matches the fury x at $200 and half power consumption is groundbreaking.

            We obviously need to wait for benchmarks. But I am hopeful. I agree we need to wait.

          • Vae

            The RX 480 runs at 5.5 TFLOPS, so it basically falls in the R9 390/390x range for performance…which is 5.1 and 5.9 respectively.

          • LoLo
          • jalebi Singh

            Wccftech is lazy, that’s why they can’t calculate tflops

          • LoLo

            Also the 1070 as of right now does not beat the fury x in Ashes of Singularity benchmark, a showcase of dx12 performance.


          • The RX 480 clocks were allegedly leaked at 1266 MHz that we have been seeing validated at various places. Now if AMD’s Compute Units still house 64 ALUs then with some simple math.

            36 * 64 = 2304 * 2 * 1266 = 5.8 TFLOPS

        • Jim Cherry

          of course its the 8gb version no one does sli/crossfire memory pooling so two 4gb cards would probably run into issues running the same benchmark as a 8gb 1080.

          • Lord Xantosh

            You might need to read up on some of the potential of dx12. Not only does it have multiadapter (the ability to run amd and nvidia in the same system as long as specs are close to each other) but it has what dx9-11 were missing VRAM SCALING not to sure if aots has it enabled. But say you bought an rx480 4gb then say for your birthday a family member stuffed up and bought you an 8gb version 4 + 8 = 12gb not like dx9-11 where 4+8=4, that is just some of the potential with dx12

          • Jim Cherry

            please point me to a current bench mark that takes advantage of this

          • Lord Xantosh

            Read my comment again. And understand that dx12 is still new and also it is up to game developers to implement vram stacking in their games.
            Best way to describe how vram stacking works.
            This is taken from another forum

            In order for vram to stack, you have to use split frame rendering in crossfire or sli. This is in comparison to alternate frame rendering that multi gpu setups use now.

            In AFR, each gpu renders every other frame.
            In SFR, each gpu renders half of every frame.

            A long time ago, AFR was adopted because it spat out higher frames per second. Higher fps sells more cards.

            Well, now its about moving back to SFR – because while it may have lower fps, it allows for the vram in each additional card to stack on top of the first one, instead of all being a copy of the data in the first one’s vram. And it delivers a much smoother delivery of frames.

            The only game I can think of that uses SFR is Civilization V, a mantle game.

          • Jim Cherry

            my original comment said that the crossfire test was using 8gb cards cause no bench marks do memory pooling.

        • Michael

          Did you see the 50% utilization? He did not come even close.

    • Al

      Now, what they are really demonstrating with the crossfire is that the cards scale very well at low power consumption and at an affordable budget. Granted most games today use DX11 and this does not quite apply but as the industry tumbles into DX12/Vulcan with Async and multi-GPU addressing (not crossfire) they are positioned to become an effective and valid perf/cost option.

      Also this is the first mainstream p10 core. Coming up are the full die P10 (64? CU) in the next while – or summer, followed by the real enthusiast cards with the Vega 10/11 core. Those last 2 (Rx-490(x) and FuryX replacement) should be on par with their NVIDIA equivalent.

      Last AMD has a proven record of having their cards improve in performance over time (drivers optimizations) and legacy support, something the competition tends to place less emphasis on to the detriments of their users.

    • Diglo1

      My guess is that what he meant with 50% utilization was the second GPU on crossfire. So while other works 100% the other one works at 50% so that makes it about 66% of total utilization, while those games are capped at 60fps. Otherwise that was a bad gpu scaling sense they have made close to 90% in some cases and AOTS is one of AMD or lets just say async favoring games. So if 1070 is around 70% of the 1080 in performance it puts one rx480 at 60-70% of 1080.
      That would be insane, but I can expect that in AOTS. I’m just ballparking, but it’s sad they didn’t show single card performance.
      As for xfire still getting 600 dollar card beating with 400$ xfire is very promising.

      • jalebi Singh

        Amd was actaully talking api headroom.

    • Jim Cherry

      they are going from 28nm to 14nm thats the antithesis of what a rebadge is also the 380 was a rebadge of the 290 so you must be trolling

      • DecimationPro

        2nd part is incorrect 7870-280 was correct but 290->390 is the same chip tech redesigned to be slightly more powerful (390x is basically a clocked up 290x with better optimisation).

        But the troll that says that the 480 is just a rebrand has a green tree growing out his posterior.

    • Michael

      This is a blatant lie. The performance of the RX 480 will far surpass the 1060, especially at the price point.

      • realtrisk

        Wow! You can predict the future! What a genius you are! It makes you sound smart.

        • jalebi Singh

          If a disabled 230mm2 chip can get 2/3 of a 1080 @ 314mm2, then a 170-200mm2 gp106 stands no chance.

    • Lord Xantosh

      “Rebadged 280” stop please, I’m going to pee myself

    • jalebi Singh

      How in the world is this a r9 280? It’s not everyday you get 2x fps jump from a rebrands. And 2.8x in performance per Watt

  • Cobyn Brakebill

    I wanna know 1) how much the 8GB version will run for and 2) how good just one is against a 1070.

    • Jim Cherry

      if its 85 percent as good at just two thirds the price. I’d buy that then again i’m a cheap bastard

      • DecimationPro

        Ummm no, it will likely be 50% slower and 60% of the price of a 1070 if it is going for $229 as rumors suggest.

        THIS IS GOOD, getting 40FPS on a 480 in the same game that a 1070 gets 60 FPS is better value for frame.

        Also the $200 option is better because you can put two cards into a rig for only $20 more then a 1070 and you should clean up the 1070 in most modern games with 2x 480’s as DX12 Vram stacks.

        I am sure a 485 or a 490 would be a better option if you want higher end.

    • jalebi Singh

      8gb version is rumoured to cost 229

  • victor

    Right now there are NO VR games that use SLI properly. Every game I’ve come across for VR has people complaining on forums that iits so unoptimzed that it’s better performance using just one card than 2. But that nay change one day.

    • Jim Cherry

      dx12 and vulkan arent utilized in alot of titles. so crossfire and sli are in a limbo, where the new apis should make things better. But devs didnt have the tech needed while they developed the stuff coming out now.

  • Well, the performance is set for VR, and for 200.00, I’m getting this. $ is the bottom-line. Good enough. :)

  • Mageoftheyear

    A small typo in paragraph four Ben:
    “The $199 4GB version of the RX 280 is a far cry…”
    Should be RX 480. ;)

    On topic: I was expecting this card to come in at $250. Even if it’s only for the 4GB version, $200 is bloody impressive. Well done AMD!

    • Jim Cherry

      rumor has it the 8gb version will be 230 usd

      • qwerty asdf

        I hope so. If it’s $250 USD I might not get a second one for some time.

        • DecimationPro

          Don’t need the 8GB if you are playing on DX 12. DX 12 allows the RAM to stack (in other words in DX11 2x4GB cards gave you 4GB Vram but with DX12 2x4GB cards will give you 8GB Vram.

  • DonGateley

    When this is backpack packaged with a capable computing system my eyes light up.

    • realtrisk

      So much yes. I can tolerate ’em, but I sure look forward to the day when we can say ‘byebye’ to the cords.

  • Muhammad Jihad ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

    The GTX 1070 is $380, not $450.

    • Jim Cherry

      founders edition is 450

      • Muhammad Jihad ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

        The edition everyone will buy is $380.

        • Jim Cherry

          true but the founders edition is the one that will be available the soonest

          • cdm283813

            The founders edition is meant for suckers. Suckers that can’t wait another week or two for OEM cards that have better features at a cheaper price.
            And look at all the concerns over cooling on the 1080 founders edition. How embarrassing that a card from Asus has better cooling, clocked higher and is cheaper to buy? The founders addition will sit on the shelves once the pipeline is filled with aftermarket alternatives.

        • Nathan Hamman

          The base model is $380 the ones everyone will buy will be at least $400

        • DecimationPro

          That is if AMD doesn’t release a RX 485 and RX 490 at a better value at month end.

          Anyway as I see it GTX 1070 is $380, 2x RX 480 4GB cards are $400. BF1 and many other modern titles are supporting DX12 so Vram will stack.

          Therefore I see no reason to buy a 1070 even at the $380 pricepoint.

    • Thisisaname

      No sellers will sell it at that price for a while

  • Wu

    not into VR but should i buy this for pc gaming?

    • Nathan Hamman

      an rx480 would be good for pc gaming, ill be either going with 2 of these or 2 of the highest end in this series.

    • Fleetwood

      A card that can do 1080p/60fps, demoed HItman running at 1440p/60fps, and VR for only $200, yes sir!

    • Elusive

      It’s a long painful wait, i hope you’ve held your money long enough as i have

      • Dark Star Thresh

        shit I just found out about this today and I only have $10 saved up on my amazon wallet

  • jonah hannett

    Under the “one of the biggest deterrents” graphic you put RX 280 not 480

  • Ze Melon Lord

    What are the dimensions? Would they fit in an Inspiron 3847?

  • Walter S

    480 outperforms a geforce 980 at less than 1/3 the price!

  • Burn a Koran a Day

    Supposedly released today, yet nobody has them in stock.

  • maniaque37

    I just bought this card = Sapphire RX 480 for 100$ refurbished. It is even faster than the RX 570.

  • LizaW83

    Is any big difference between rx480 and rx580 (found it here )?