This $269 Gigabyte RX 480 8GB G1 Gaming evaluation is the fourth RX 480 that we have tested including one AMD and one Diamond Reference version as well as a recently price-lowered $259 Red Devil RX 480 OC.  The two reference versions were poor overclockers, not able to get much over their 1266MHz boost clocks, but the 1330MHz Red Devil managed to reach a very respectable manual core overclock of 1400MHz.   The Gigabyte RX 480 G1 with WindForce 2X cooling starts out with a factory overclock of 1290MHz, and we want to compare its stock and maximum overclocked performance with the reference RX 480 as well as with the Red Devil, and versus its Nvidia competitor, the GTX 1060.


Instead of requiring 2 PCIe connectors as in the 28nm R9 200 and 300 series, the RX 480 uses only 1, yet it is supposed to deliver near R9 390 performance.  In the case of the Gigabyte RX 480 G1, it uses a single 8-pin PCIe cable versus the 6-pin power connector in the reference RX 480.  We already saw the reference RX 480 get into trouble with its 6-pin connector as being insufficient for overclocking. Having an 8-pin power connector instead of the 6-pin connector found in the reference board, the Gigabyte RX 480 G1 is designed for superior performance, better overclocking, and more stable power.

Overclocking Utilities for Polaris

Make sure to check the RX 480 8GB launch article which gives the details about the RX 480’s new features.  WattMan is AMD’s overclocking utility that controls GPU voltage, engine clocks, memory clocks, fan speed and temperature. WattMan even features data capture and a historical view of GPU activity, temperature, fan, and clock speeds.

Stock startGigabyte also has an XTREME Engine utility for overclocking and for controlling the G1’s LED display.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t have voltage adjustments yet for the RX 480 which are necessary to stabilize a really high overclock.   Here are the G1’s stock clocks.gigabyte-oc-utilIn the weeks since the RX 480 was released, Sapphire’s utility, TriXX, has become more fully-featured than AMD’s WattMan and it can add more voltage for higher overclocks.  trixx

Let’s take a brief look at the specifications of the AMD Radeon RX 480 reference version versus the Gigabyte RX 480 G1 Gaming.

The reference RX 480 8GB vs. the Gigabyte RX 480 8GB Gaming

Here are the specifications for the reference RX 480 8GB:RX 480 specs

The above specifications are for the 8GB version of RX 480 which uses 8GB of 8Gbps GDDR5 memory.  Now here are the specifications for the Gigabyte RX 480 8GB G1 Gaming Edition.specs-g1

The Gigabyte RX 480 G1 Gaming has a factory-set maximum boost clock of 1290MHz, or 24MHz higher than the reference 1266MHz core boost clocks.

Our Testbed of Competing Cards

Here is our testbed of 5 competing cards in approximately the $250 to $300 range.  The Red Devil RX 480 OC has had its price lowered at Newegg this week from $279 to $259 ($249 after $10 mail-in-rebate) and many of the RX 480s cards have a BF1 upgrade discount bundle worth perhaps $20.

  • Gigabyte RX 480 8GB G1 Gaming at Gigabyte factory clocks and further overclocked – $269
  • PowerColor Red Devil RX 480 OC 8GB – at PowerColor Red Devil RX 480 clocks – $259
  • RX 480 8GB – reference version and clocks – $239 to $249
  • EVGA GTX 1060 SC, 6GB, at EVGA SC clocks, $259.
  • GTX 1060 6GB, reference clocks, $249-$299

We also present our “Big Picture” which includes all of the above cards overclocked in addition to the Red Devil RX 470, the EVGA GTX 1060 3GB, the GTX 1070, the GTX 970 OC, the GTX 960 OC and the R9 280X.

Testing Platform

Our testing platform is Windows 10 Home 64-bit, using an Intel Core i7-6700K at 4.00GHz which turbos to 4.4GHz for all cores as set in the ASRock Z7170 motherboard’s BIOS, and 16GB of G.SKILL DDR4 at 3000MHz. The settings and hardware are identical except for the two cards being tested.

We will compare the performance of 25 modern games at 1920×1080 and at 2560×1440 resolutions with maximum settings featuring our newest 2016 games, Mirror’s Edge Catalyst and Deux Ex Mankind Divided, and we also include Ashes of the Singularity, Hitman, Rise of the Tomb Raider, and Total War Warhammer using DX12.  We have also added Futuremark’s DX12 benchmark, Time Spy.

First, let’s take a closer look at the Gigabyte RX 480 8GB G1 Gaming edition.