AMD RX 590 in a nutshell: all benchmarks of the new Radeon middle class

AMD Radeon RX 590 RX 640
(Picture: AMD)

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Today AMD introduced the Radeon RX 590 as the third version of the Polaris architecture. We have compiled all benchmarks and results.

The RX 590 has to fix it

AMD is currently in a swamp of problems with the graphics card market. About a year ago the last graphics cards came out. However, the RX Vega 56 and RX Vega 64 got off to an extremely bumpy start. On the one hand AMD did not come close to the GTX 1080 Ti from Nvidia, on the other hand there were massive problems with the availability, which resulted in very high prices. The mining boom then finally killed AMD. The prices of the RX Vega graphics cards dropped when the mining bubble finally exploded.

One year later AMD faces the next major problem. The competitor Nvidia has brought a new graphics card generation called Turing onto the market, to which AMD has no answer (yet). This is also well reflected in the price of the RTX 2070, RTX 2080 and RTX 2080 Ti. Nvidia can currently demand higher prices for the absolute top of the graphics market. For the high-end market, there will probably be competition for Nvidia again only in 2019 or even 2020 when Navi will arrive.

However, AMD continues to serve an important market with the RX 590. While Turing is priced far away from the mainstream, there is still no solution for the mainstream market. A large part of the sales is made in this segment. Here, the opponents have established graphics cards for some time with the RX 580 and the GTX 1060. Today AMD released the already leaked RX 590 for the holiday season. It is supposed to provide at least a little help in the mainstream segment until the launch of Navi.

12nm and significantly more clock speed

The RX 590 is actually already well known. It is the third generation of Polaris and therefore comes as Polaris 30. Compared to its predecessor Polaris 20, which works in the RX 580, there is a big change. The structure width decreased from 14 to 12nm. The chip size remained the same. Not much else changes either. Polaris 30 also comes with 2,304 shaders and up to eight gigabytes of GDDR5 memory on a 256 bit interface at 4,000 MHz clock rate. However, the clock rate of the GPU has increased due to the smaller structure width. The boost clock rises from 1.340 MHz to 1.545 MHz in the RX 590. In terms of the graphics card’s raw performance, this is a considerable leap up. While the RX 580 achieves 6 percent more raw performance compared to its predecessor, the RX 480, the RX 590 achieves 22 percent more than the RX 580.

Benchmarks: performance boost for games

Unfortunately we didn’t get any RX 590 for testing at the start, so we use the benchmark results of our colleagues from ComputerBase.de. The detailed benchmarks can be found in their article.

The benchmarks mainly show that the RX 590 can easily compete with the GTX 1060. On Full-HD, the tested custom cards are practically on par with a maximum overclocked GTX 1060. The RX 590 even outperforms the Founders Edition by up to 11 percent in the overall ranking. Thus the RX 590 ranks between the GTX 1060 and the GTX 1070, which is 25 percent faster. A practically identical result also arises on WQHD. In some games, the RX 590 can even get an advantage over the GTX 1060. For Assassin’s Creed: Origins, the GTX 1060 on Full HD is 5 to 9 percent better, while the RX 590 on WQHD is a good three percent better. The same behavior is also evident in Destiny 2. The GTX 1060 Founders Edition can only perform slightly better than the RX 590 on both resolutions in Final Fantasy XV.

ComputerBase.de has also tested the eSports games Fortnite, Overwatch, Rainbow Six: Siege and World of Warcraft. Again, the RX 590 does a bit better than the GTX 1060 as Founders Edition. In Full HD it is on average 3 percent ahead, in WQHD even 6 percent. At Rainbow Six: Siege on WQHD, the new Radeon graphics card brings out the maximum in increased performance. In World of Warcraft, the RX 590 is 10 and 9 percent slower than the GTX 1060 respectively.

Little overclocking potential and power-hungry

Of course ComputerBase overclocked or at least tried to overclock the already very high clocked custom graphics cards from PowerColor, Sapphire and XFX. The maximum boost clock increased very high compared to the RX 580. The partner cards are even higher clocked. The Sapphire RX 590 Nitro+ Special Edition has 1,560 MHz, the PowerColor Red Devil 1,576 MHz and the XFX Fatboy OC+ even 1,600 MHz. Only Sapphire overclocks the memory to 4,200 MHz. The graphics cards also kept up with the clock rate in the test without any problems. However, further overclocking resulted in disillusionment. The ComputerBase team managed to overclock all graphics cards to 1.625 MHz, but at 1.650 MHz all three cards crashed. This might be caused by a fixed power limit. However, 500 MHz more memory clock speed is possible without any problems on all three cards.

AMD pays for this high plus in clock speed on the one hand by the 12nm structure width, but on the other hand also by a slightly increased power consumption. Thus, all three models of the RX 590 consume between 56 and 107 percent more than the GTX 1060 Founders Edition. Compared to the RX 580, the consumption also increases by up to 19 percent, but overclocked the differences can be found in the low single-digit percentage range. With the RX 580, AMD still tried to keep the power consumption as low as possible and only installed a 6-pin connector in the reference version. The RX 590, on the other hand, has a 6-pin and an 8-pin connector, which is why the performance per watt is also worse. However, the reference version is above the RX 580.

Higher price, but in bundle with three games

All in all, AMD is well equipped for the holiday season with the RX 590. The graphics card offers a good performance gain of 10 percent overall thanks to improved manufacturing and significantly more clock speed. The power consumption has increased by only 7 percent, which is a very good deal. However, the price has also risen. The first custom models of the RX 590 cost $279.99 US, while the RX 580 with 8 gigabytes of graphics memory is already available from about $200 US. However, the new models have a decisive advantage. With them there are three games to start with at participating dealers on top. Resident Evil 2, Devil May Cry 5 and The Divison 2 are also included. Buyers of an RX Vega or complete systems with these graphics cards will also receive the games.

AMD will sweeten the players’ Christmas purchase of a graphics card once again. But the real competitor to Turing and the resulting falling prices are still missing. So only the year 2019 will be a really good year for AMD’s graphics division Radeon.

Buy RX 590 on Amazon US
Buy RX 590 on Newegg

About Florian Maislinger 1222 Articles
Florian Maislinger is author and founder of PC Builder's Club. As a skilled IT engineer, he is very familiar with computers and hardware and has been a technology lover since childhood. He is mainly responsible for the news and our social media channels.

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