AMD Radeon RX 590 in the test – Fast mid-range graphics card with bigger performance per dollar

AMD brings the Radeon RX 590 a fast mid-range graphics card, which stuffs the performance gap between RX 580 and RX Vega 56 and exceeds the Geforce GTX 1060.

Update, 15.11.2018 16:46 clock: We have revised our measurements for power consumption. The XFX RX 590 Fatboy does not consume as we falsely claimed only 260 watts under load but 283 watts. The paragraphs and diagram on page 3 are updated accordingly.

With the Radeon RX 590 in the test AMD reveals the Polaris Refresh of the Polaris Refresh and wants in the middle class segment the GeForce GTX 1060 6GB of Nvidia put further under pressure. The RX 590 replaces no previous models, Radeon RX 570 and RX 580 remain available.

The Polaris 30 graphics chip on the RX 590, unlike the RX 580, is officially manufactured using the 12-rather than 14-nanometer process, but this is not a new process, it’s just a slight progression – the nanometers are mostly pure marketing.

Nevertheless, the revised manufacturing process allows AMD to significantly increase the clock speed of the RX 590 compared to the RX 580: While the RX 580 has a chip clock of 1.257 MHz (1.340 MHz boost), the RX 590 delivers at least 1.469 MHz (1.545 MHz boost) – a not to be despised clock rate of over 15 percent.

In addition to the more modern production but also the higher power limit of 225 instead of 185 watts contribute a significant contribution to the clock increase. The remaining technical data are similar to the RX 580 and its Polaris 20 chip: The RX 590 has like the RX 580 also 2.304 shaders, 144 texture units and 32 ROPs.

Also with the video memory AMD relies on proven: The 8,0 GByte GDDR5-VRAM clocks with effective 8,0 GHz, by a 256 Bit wide memory interface thus also the memory bandwidth of 256 GB / s is identical to the RX 580 from.

Similar to the release of the RX 580 in April 2017, AMD will refrain from using a reference card for the launch of the Radeon RX 590 on November 15, 2018. Instead, there are only RX 590 custom designs of the usual suspects like Asus, Powercolor, Sapphire and XFX.

The price of the RX 590 for the release starts at 289 euros, and there is currently a bundle of three games ( Devil May Cry 5 , The Division 2 , Resident Evil 2 , all yet unpublished).

XFX RX 590 Fatboy in detail

The XFX Radeon RX 590 Fatboy OC + is overclocked at the factory, the two 100 millimeter large fans are idling.The XFX Radeon RX 590 Fatboy OC + is overclocked at the factory, the two 100 millimeter large fans are idling.

With the Radeon RX 590 Fatboy in the test, manufacturer XFX already has an overclocked custom design ready for launch on November 15, 2018. XFX boosts AMD’s officially announced boost rate from 1,545 to 1,580 MHz. The effective clock rate of the 8.0 GB GDDR5 video memory remains unaffected and continues to be 8.0 GHz.

In order to keep the Polaris 30 graphics chip cool and quiet under load, XFX relies on a cooler with three slots in the housing, consisting of two 100 mm axial fans and an aluminum radiator with four heatpipes. The graphics chip touches directly the copper base plate.

The RX 590 Fatboy features a classic black with red accents, a backplate for stabilization and noiseless idling as the fans stand still. The cooler cover made of plastic is not a haptic pleasure, we would have preferred the same metal for the front as XFX uses it on the back for the back plate.

Technical specifications

XFX RX 590 
Fatboy

AMD Radeon RX 590 (reference)

AMD Radeon RX 580 (reference)

graphics chip

Polaris 30

Polaris 30

Polaris 20 (XTX / XTR)

chip clock

1,469 / 1,580 MHz boost

1,469 / 1,545 MHz boost

1.257 / 1.340 MHz boost

shader

2304

2304

2304

TMUs / ROPs

144/32

144/32

144/32

production

12 nm

12 nm

14 nm

VRAM

8 GB GDDR5

8 GB GDDR5

4/8 GB GDDR5

Memory clock (effective)

8 GHz

8 GHz

8 GHz

memory interface

256 bits

256 bits

256 bits

Memory Bandwidth

256 GB / s

256 GB / s

256 GB / s

TDP

225 watts

225 watts

185 watts

price

from 289 dollars

from 289 dollars

4 GB: from 195 dollars
8 GB: from 210 dollars

XFX Fatboy vs. Powercolor Red Devil

AMD again refrains from a reference card, so custom designs are in demand.  Here are the XFX RX 590 Fatboy OC + tested by us and the Red Devil by Powercolor.AMD again refrains from a reference card, so custom designs are in demand. Here are the XFX RX 590 Fatboy OC + tested by us and the Red Devil by Powercolor.

XFX RX 590 
Fatboy

Powercolor RX 590 
Red Devil

Dimensions 
(L x W x H)

26.5 x 13 x 5 cm

24 x 14.7 x 5.7 cm

power connectors

1x 8-pin, 1x 6-pin

1x 8-pin, 1x 6-pin

monitor connections

3x DisplayPort 1.4 
1x HDMI 2.0b 
1x DVI

3x DisplayPort 1.4 
1x HDMI 2.0b 
1x DVI

Radiator, height

Axial design 
3 slots

Axial design, 
3 slots

heatpipes

4

5

Fan

2x axial fan (100 mm)

2x axial fan (100 mm)

Silent idling

Yes

Yes

backplate

Yes

Yes

Clock rates under load 
(WQHD resolution)

1,580 MHz

1,576 MHz

Also Read:  Best Gaming Graphics Cards Buying Guide

Leave a Reply