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Have AMD f**ked Up With The RX-480?

Radeon RX-480 Closeup

There has understandably been a lot of hype about the new AMD RX-480 with it’s GTX-970 like performance for just $200 for the 4GB version and $240 for the 8GB version. With me being a long time AMD fan; I really was looking forward to the company’s first new GPU in three years. But after the NDA expired on June, 29, 2016; many tech reviewers have found that AMD’s new card is drawing more power than 75 watts from the PCI-E slot, which puts the card out of spec with the PCI-E standard.

Many of you might think what’s the issue? and in many cases, you would be right. But older and budget motherboards might suffer reliability issues if too much power is being drawn from the PCI-E slot. The issue is the single six pin power, which can only provide 75w. This added to the 75w from the PCI-E slot provides a total of 150w. In select games at 4k, the RX-480 is pulling upto 155w from PCI-E slot alone.

The simplest solution would be to have installed a 8 pin power connector which could provide upto 150w instead of 75w. This would mean the PCI-E slot itself would have to provide less power, keeping the card within the certified spec. Honestly, it seems that AMD have screwed up with their 75w+75w design when 150w is clearly not enough power. We now await AMD’s response to these findings on power usage.

I’m no expert on these things, but it seems like a bad mistake for AMD to make. Claiming just a 150w total TDP and only providing 6 pin power when it clearly requires more juice. Was this a deliberate misrepresentation or did AMD just not test thoroughly enough? I don’t know the answer; but 150w TDP is clearly a myth under full gaming load for this card using the 1266mhz boost clock speed.

I will be holding off on purchasing the RX-480 until these issues have been resolved. I do run and older budget motherboard, the Asus M5A97 LE R2.0, so I am concerned about the out of spec power draw from the PCI-E interface. I’m not willing to risk damaging my motherboard and I’m not willing to buy a newer, more expensive board. I don’t overclock and the M5A97 LE has served me well for almost 4 years; I won’t pay $150 for a newer motherboard for a $240 GPU; that’s silly for the 4 year old FX8350 CPU installed.

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