There are few things I want to cover with this post. All of them are related to Radeon RX 400 series.
Sapphire Radeon RX 400 cards leaked
Reddit user found all Radeon RX 400 cards from Sapphire listed somewhere at their support website. What’s interesting is the appearance of ‘Radeon 490’. However, before you get too excited, product code of this card actually belongs to reference RX 480, which you can already find in stores. So this is just a typo.
When it comes to other cards, we have a comprehensive list of all Sapphire models arriving in the channel soon:
- SAPPHIRE NITRO RADEON RX 460 4G GDDR5 PCIE-E HDMI / DVI-D / DP OC W/BP (UEFI) (11257-02)
- SAPPHIRE RADEON RX 460 4G GDDR5 PCIE-E HDMI / DVI-D / DP OC (UEFI) (11257-06)
- SAPPHIRE RADEON RX 460 2G GDDR5 PCIE-E HDMI / DVI-D / DP OC (UEFI) (11257-00)
- SAPPHIRE RADEON RX 470 4G GDDR5 PCIE-E HDMI / TRIPLE DP (UEFI) (11256-00)
- SAPPHIRE NITRO+ RADEON RX 470 8G GDDR5 PCIE-E DUAL HDMI / DVI-D / DUAL DP OC W/BP (UEFI) (11256-02)
- SAPPHIRE RADEON RX 480 4G GDDR5 PCIE-E HDMI / TRIPLE DP (UEFI) (21260-01)
- SAPPHIRE RADEON RX 480 4G GDDR5 PCIE-E HDMI / TRIPLE DP OC (UEFI) (11260-01)
- SAPPHIRE NITRO+ RADEON RX 480 4G GDDR5 PCIE-E DUAL HDMI / DVI-D / DUAL DP OC W/BP (UEFI) (11260-02)
- SAPPHIRE NITRO+ RADEON RX 480 8G GDDR5 PCIE-E DUAL HDMI / DVI-D / DUAL DP OC W/BP (UEFI) (11260-02)
- SAPPHIRE RADEON 490 8G GDDR5 PCIE-E HDMI / TRIPLE DP (UEFI) (21260-00) <- RX 480
So what this list reveals:
- there will be RX 480 NITRO+ with 4GB memory,
- there will be overclocked NITRO RX 460 with no backplate,
- there are five RX 480 models from Sapphire (one listed as 490), three with 4GB and two with 8GB memory
Polaris BIOS Editor
First tool to modify Polaris BIOS was released. I’m posting this as a gossip, not encouragement to modify BIOSes. This tool is only for those who need it. If you have no experience with BIOS flashing I suggest you don’t try doing anything with your RX 480 (especially when RX 480 has only one BIOS, so once you flash it, there is no easy way of going back). You can find Reddit thread about this tool here, and source code of this program here.
XFX Radeon RX 480 Double Dissipation?
So you might have seen this picture posted at WCCFTech. There was a reason why I didn’t post it. XFX announced few weeks ago that they will implement R9 380X cooler with removable fans for RX 480. However they never said it will look exactly the same, and card shown at this photograph is indeed just R9 380X, which was confirmed by XFX rep at Reddit:
Sorry guys, pictured is the new 380x, with Hard Swap Technology. Pictures were probably taken from the 480 manuals included on all new 480 sales. the XFX AIB 480 will be announced soon
Radeon RX 480 4GB models can be flashed into 8GB models
The news is that some RX 480 4GB card can be transformed into 8GB models, just by flashing new BIOS. So how is this even possible? AMD decided to use the same memory modules for both variants. Those with 4GB enabled buffer, are still 8GB cards, only half of the buffer is disabled with BIOS.
This was actually first mentioned by Ryan Shrout in his RX 480 video review. Although it was never confirmed by AMD.
Later guys over at TechPowerUP bought a retail version of 4GB model and tried to flash 8GB BIOS. The results were positive and they successfully unlocked additional 4GB memory.
What’s funny is that XFX did not even try to hide the fact that they are really shipping 8GB cards with their ‘custom 4GB BIOS’:
AMD issues another statement over Radeon RX 480 PCI-E power draw issues
Just as promised, AMD gave us an update on their progress for software implementation that would resolve PCI-Express slot power draw problem. We are expecting new driver in the next 48 hours. Hopefully it will not affect performance by limiting power delivered to the GPU.
Full statement follows:
We promised an update today (July 5, 2016) following concerns around the Radeon RX 480 drawing excess current from the PCIe bus. Although we are confident that the levels of reported power draws by the Radeon RX 480 do not pose a risk of damage to motherboards or other PC components based on expected usage, we are serious about addressing this topic and allaying outstanding concerns. Towards that end, we assembled a worldwide team this past weekend to investigate and develop a driver update to improve the power draw. We’re pleased to report that this driver-Radeon Software 16.7.1-is now undergoing final testing and will be released to the public in the next 48 hours.
In this driver we’ve implemented a change to address power distribution on the Radeon RX 480 – this change will lower current drawn from the PCIe bus.
Separately, we’ve also included an option to reduce total power with minimal performance impact. Users will find this as the “compatibility” UI toggle in the Global Settings menu of Radeon Settings. This toggle is “off” by default.
Finally, we’ve implemented a collection of performance improvements for the Polaris architecture that yield performance uplifts in popular game titles of up to 3%. These optimizations are designed to improve the performance of the Radeon RX 480, and should substantially offset the performance impact for users who choose to activate the “compatibility” toggle.
AMD is committed to delivering high quality and high performance products, and we’ll continue to provide users with more control over their product’s performance and efficiency. We appreciate all the feedback so far, and we’ll continue to bring further performance and performance/W optimizations to the Radeon RX 480.