We first reviewed AMD’s Radeon RX480 a couple of months ago, and it was an interesting move on the company’s behalf. Launching a new range that ignored the high-end and went straight for the mainstream, with the promise of affordable VR performance for all, it was a solid product that suffered from the weak Aussie dollar. As a result, it wasn’t quite the great value proposition that overseas buyers enjoyed. Since then we’ve seen prices plummet though, making it a killer mid-range product. Asus has just launched the first custom-version of the RX480, but it’s of the 8GB version, and only costs a mere $30 more than the most affordable RX480 8GB cards. And for that extra $30, Asus has managed to deliver a range of goodies.
First there’s the custom cooler, a triple fan behemoth that is a little rowdier than the standard reference cooler. We measured it at 46dB versus the 44dB of the reference cooler, but this can be tamed via the Asus software. There are also a couple of fan headers on the card, so you can connect extra case fans that have their speed automatically controlled depending on the temperature of the card, which is a fantastic feature. There’s also fully customisable RGB lighting, which comes with Asus’ Aura lighting feature.
Along with the beefed-up cooling is an increase in power supply, with an 8-pin power plug replacing the default 6-pin, able to deliver up to 225W. Combined with the additional cooling, Asus has been able to give this card a rather small factory overclock. We tested in OC mode, where the maximum frequency is 1330MHz, a relatively minor increase over the reference card’s 1266MHz Boost clock. We couldn’t squeeze any more out of it, suggesting this is as fast as the AMD’s design will allow. Thanks to this frequency increase, we saw a rather small 4% to 6% performance increase over the default card in Grid Autosport, 3DMark Fire Strike and Shadow of Mordor.
The outputs have also been changed a little now including twin HDMI 2.0b, instead of the one on the reference. A DisplayPort 1.2 port has been sacrificed to do so, down from three to two, while there’s a single DVI-I output. This combination makes it a better mix, as there’s scope to attach a VR kit plus a TV.
At only $30 more than the cheapest RX 480 with 8GB of onboard memory, Asus has delivered a range of extras that are truly useful.