This Red Devil RX 480 versus the EVGA GTX 1060 SC overclocked-to-the-max showdown is the finale to BTR’s Polaris versus Pascal series that began with the launch of the GTX 1060 versus the RX 480. We already tested a premium $279 Red Devil RX 480 with its “unleashed BIOS” but only at PowerClocks versus the $259 EVGA GTX 1060 SC. Today, we have updated each card to its latest drivers and have optimized our overclocks with maximum voltage and with all performance options set to their upper limits to get the most performance.
At stock, the reference clocked EVGA GTX 1060 6GB SC won overall in DX11 performance over the Red Devil-clocked RX 480. This time, we will overclock the EVGA GTX 1060 SC and the Red Devil RX 480 as far as they each will go with a maxed-out fan profile and with the maximum added voltage to see where they stand in relation to each other.
The Red Devil RX 480 OC vs. the EVGA GTX 1060 SC
We used Sapphire’s TriXX to set our overclock since the newest version allows voltage boosts higher than by using AMD’s WattMan. The $279 PowerColor Red Devil version of the RX 480 8GB is factory clocked up to it’s maximum boost speeds of 1330MHz , up from 1270MHz at stock. The details may be found here. We found that as long as the temperatures remain cool (72 F) and the Power and Temperature limits are maximized, it will not throttle even when overclocked to its maximum. Even at 100% fan, the noise level is acceptable and the temperatures remain in the mid to upper 60s C.
We settled on a 1400MHz core boost (1266MHz stock/1330 Red Devil clocks) with the memory clocks at 2150MHz (1750MHz stock). For the first time, higher memory clocks gained significant performance for the Red Devil RX 480 whereas with our other RX 4x0s, higher memory clocks would often negatively impact it.
Overclocking the EVGA GTX 1060 SC
We devoted a separate overclocking evaluation to the EVGA GTX 1060 SC using PrecisionX OC which you can read here. We achieved a final stable overclock of +100 MHz to the core which settled in around 2088MHz with GPU Boost 3.0 for the majority of our benching as we kept our room cool (72 F) for all of our game benchmarks. Watching the PrecisionX OC in-game overlay during our benchmark runs we also often observed 2101MHz. Our memory overclock remained at +700MHz for its clock of 4705MHz which greatly contributed to the increased performance. The fan never became intrusive when pushed from 90% to 100% – it produces a louder “whoosh” of air without an annoying whine, but the GPU remained cool in the low to mid-60s C.
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 also feature 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. We will compare the performance of 25 modern games at 1920×1080 and at 2560×1440 resolutions with maximum settings.
Before we run the benchmarks, check out the test configuration.
Test Configuration – Hardware
- Intel Core i7-6700K (reference 4.0GHz, HyperThreading and Turbo boost is on to 4.4GHz; DX11 CPU graphics).
- ASRock Z7170M OC Formula motherboard (Intel Z7170 chipset, latest BIOS, PCIe 3.0/3.1 specification, CrossFire/SLI 8x+8x)
- G.Skill Ripjaws V 16GB DDR4 (2x8GB, dual channel at 3000MHz)
- EVGA GTX 1060 SC 6GB, manually overclocked, supplied by EVGA
- PowerColor Red Devil RX 480 8GB, manually overclocked, supplied by PowerColor.
- Two 2TB Toshiba 7200 rpm HDDs for each platform
- EVGA 1000G 1000W power supply unit (for both platforms)
- Thermaltake Water2.0, supplied by Thermaltake
- Onboard Realtek Audio
- Genius SP-D150 speakers, supplied by Genius
- Thermaltake Overseer RX-I full tower case, supplied by Thermaltake
- ASUS 12X Blu-ray writer
- Monoprice Crystal Pro 4K
Test Configuration – Software
- GeForce WHQL 372.70 was used for the EVGA GTX 1060 SC. High Quality, prefer maximum performance, single display. See control panel images below.
- AMD Crimson Software 16.8.3 hotfix drivers were used for the benching the Red Devil RX 480. See control panel image below.
- VSync is off in the control panel.
- AA enabled as noted in games; all in-game settings are specified with 16xAF always applied
- All results show average frame rates including minimum frame rates shown in italics on the chart next to the averages in smaller font. Percentage differences are calculated between the average frame rates of the RX 480 and of the GTX 1060 SC.
- Highest quality sound (stereo) used in all games.
- Windows 10 64-bit Home edition, all DX11 titles were run under DX11 render paths. Our four DX12 titles are run under the DX12 render path. Latest DirectX
- All games are patched to their latest versions at time of publication.
- Sapphire TriXX overclocking utility
- EVGA’s Precision XOC, reviewer’s version 6.
The 25 PC Game benchmark suite & 2 synthetic tests
- Firestrike – Basic & Extreme
- Time Spy DX12
- Crysis 3
- Metro: Last Light Redux (2014)
- Middle Earth: Shadows of Mordor
- Alien Isolation
- Dragon’s Age: Inquisition
- Dying Light
- Grand Theft Auto V
- the Witcher 3
- Batman: Arkham Origins
- Mad Max
- Fallout 4
- Star Wars Battlefront
- Assassin’s Creed Syndicate
- Just Cause 3
- Rainbow Six Siege
- DiRT Rally
- Far Cry Primal
- Tom Clancy’s The Division
- Mirror’s Edge Catalyst
- Deus Ex Mankind Divided
- Ashes of the Singularity
- Rise of the Tomb Raider
- Total War: Warhammer
Nvidia Control Panel settings:
AMD Crimson Control Center Settings:
There are two methods of calculating percentages. One is the “Percentage Difference” that we are using to compare the GTX 1060 SC versus the Red Devil RX 480, and the other is “Percentage Change” which we use to show the improvements of an overclocked card versus stock performance.
For the percentage difference used in this comparison of the frame rates of the RX 480 versus the GTX 1060 SC, we are simply dividing the difference between the two results by the average of the two numbers. This is usually expressed algebraically where “V” equals value: ( | V1 – V2 | / ((V1 + V2)/2) ) * 100
Let’s head to the performance charts to primarily see how the overclocked-to-the-max EVGA GTX 1060 SC compares with the overclocked-to-the-max PowerColor Red Devil RX 480.
Performance summary charts
Below is the summary chart of 25 games and 2 synthetic tests. The highest settings are always chosen and it is usually DX11; DX12 is picked above DX11 where available. Specific settings are listed on the performance charts. The benches were run at 1920×1080 and at 2560×1440.
All results, except for FireStrike and Time Spy, show average frame rates and higher is always better. Minimum frame rates are shown when they are available and they make sense, next to the averages but they are in italics and in a slightly smaller font. The EVGA GTX 1060 SC overclocked results are in the first column, the overclocked Red Devil RX 480 results are in the second column, and third column shows the performance difference (RX 480 “wins” are denoted by a red “-” minus sign).
The GTX EVGA GTX 1060 SC is an excellent overclocker, and even though we got a very good overclock with our Red Devil RX 480, the GeForce card wins most of the benches. The overclocked RX 480 can only manage 10 individual wins out of 50 individual benchmarks that we ran.
The Big Picture
Here is the bigger picture comparing several stock and overclocked GTX 1060s with stock and overclocked RX 470s and with RX 480 results. The GTX 1070 results as well as the GTX 970, GTX 960 and RX 280 results are added also. Please open this chart in a separate window or tab for better viewing.
Let’s head to our conclusion.
UPDATED 09/14/16. Check out Tech of Tomorrow‘s video using our benchmarks!
This has been quite an interesting exploration for us in evaluating the overclocked $279 Red Devil RX 480 versus the overclocked $259 EVGA GTX 1060 6GB SC. The EVGA GTX 1060 SC is a faster card at stock, and due to its superior overclocking headroom, it pulls even further away from the overclocked Red Devil RX 480. The overclocked EVGA GTX 1060 SC wins in 4 out of 5 of our individual game benchmarks against the overclocked Red Devil RX 480.
Both cards appears to scale well with an overclock although the GTX 1060 overclocks further and uses less power. Turning the fans each to their highest settings, they do make more noise which is more like a “whoosh” of air, but they are not irritating.
Next up, we will explore GTX 1070 SLI performance compared with a TITAN X. Stay tuned. In the meantime, if you have any questions, feel free to ask them in the comments section below, or on BTR’s Community forum.