AMD has today launched a new generation of Radeon GPUs for graphics cards, called the Radeon RX 500 series. The new Radeon RX 580, RX 570, RX 560 and RX 550 are based on a revision of the Polaris architecture which powered last year’s Radeon RX 400 series, not the all-new Vega architecture which is also expected to launch in the near future.
The new Radeon RX 500 series is aimed at gamers who want to upgrade from graphics cards that are at least two years old and do not support VR or the latest game development standards such as DirectX 12 and Vulkan. AMD promises that the new products’ higher clock speeds, reduced latency and improved software will help gamers play current-day titles such as Battlefield 1, COD: Infinite Warfare and Resident Evil: Biohazard without compromising on resolution or image quality. Notably, AMD has not compared these cards to their immediate predecessors, because there are only relatively minor differences between the two Polaris generations.
The Radeon RX 580 is the most powerful GPU of the lot, superseding the RX 480. It is aimed at gamers who want a smooth 60fps at 1440p with the settings turned up high. It has 36 “compute unit” processing clusters and base/boost clock speeds of 1257/1340MHz respectively. All Radeon RX 580 graphics cards will have either 4GB or 8GB of GDDR5 RAM on a 256-bit interface, similar to Radeon RX 480 cards. AMD claims that users can expect 57 percent better performance compared to that of a Radeon R9 370. AMD’s recommended prices are $229 (approximately Rs. 14,800) for 8GB cards and $199 (approximately Rs. 12,850) for 4GB cards. These will compete with Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1060 and possibly the GTX 1070 for some use cases, leaving the high-end GTX 1080 and GTX 1080 Ti still unchallenged.
Next up, the Radeon RX 570 replaces the RX 470 and offers 32 compute units with base/boost clock speeds of 1168/1244MHz respectively. Cards will have 4GB of RAM and are aimed at gamers who aren’t likely to push beyond 1080p. Performance is expected to be up to 2.3X better than that of a Radeon R7 370 in some games. Cards will be priced starting at $169 (approximately Rs. 10,925) in the US. This model should go up against Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1050 and GTX 1050 Ti.
Lower down the line, the Radeon RX 560 replaces the RX 460. It will target budget-conscious users who will play e-sports games at 1080p and who won’t expect to run the latest AAA titles at full settings. Buyers will get a modest 16 compute units and base/boost speeds of 1175/1275MHz respectively. Cards will have 4GB of GDDR5 RAM on a narrower 128-bit bus. Performance is said to exceed that of a two-year-old Radeon R7 360 by up to 57 percent. Prices will start at $99 (approximately Rs. 6,400).
Finally, the Radeon RX 550 targets those who want to upgrade from integrated graphics. It will have 8 compute units and 2GB of GDDR5 RAM on a 128-bit bus. Clock speed is set at 1183MHz. Radeon RX 550 cards will not need a power supply, making them suitable for drop-in upgrades of much older PCs or those with weak power supplies. AMD says that buyers can expect a 4X performance boost compared to integrated graphics, and a 1.7X increase over the Radeon R7 250. Starting at $79 (approximately Rs. 5,100), AMD calls this “the doorway to PC gaming”.
All four GPUs support HEVC H.265 4K video decoding. AMD also touts its Freesync technology which allows monitors and graphics cards to synchronise their refresh cycles to avoid frame tearing, and Radeon Chill, which can regulate power consumption depending on the intensity of different scenes in a game.
Graphics cards based on the Radeon RX 580 and 570 should be available immediately from board partners including Sapphire, Asus, PowerColor, Gigabyte and MSI. Radeon RX 550 cards are set to become available globally on April 20, while Radeon RX 560 cards will follow in early May. There is no official word on whether Radeon RX 400 series prices will be adjusted downwards or whether these models will disappear from the market.