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)
  • PowerColor RX 480 8GB – $279 – at PowerColor RX 480 factory clocks with the “unlocked” BIOS, on loan from Tech of Tomorrow
  • Diamond RX 480 8GB – $239(+) – reference version.  The fan speed has been increased to prevent throttling.
  • PowerColor Red Devil RX 470 4GB at RX 470 reference speeds, supplied by PowerColor
  • GTX 1060 6GB Founders Edition at reference clocks, supplied by Nvidia
  • 2TB Toshiba 7200 rpm HDD
  • EVGA 1000G 1000W power supply unit
  • 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

  • AMD Crimson Software 16.8.2 used for the Red Devil RX 480 and 16.8.1 Hotfix drivers for the other AMD cards (the two sets of drivers are interchangeable and give the same performance results for our 25-game benchmark suite)
  • Nvidia’s GeForce 368.64 (GTX 1060 launch) drivers.  High Quality, prefer maximum performance, single display. 
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Crimson Software’s WattMan was used for the RX 480/470.  The Power Limit/Temperature targets are set to maximum for all cards.  Fan speeds have been increased manually for the reference RX 480 to prevent throttling.
  • Heaven 4.0 (Unigine)

The 25 PC Game benchmark suite & 2 synthetic tests


  • Firestrike – Basic & Extreme
  • Time Spy DX12
DX11* Games
  • Crysis 3
  • Metro: Last Light Redux (2014)
  • Middle Earth: Shadows of Mordor
  • Alien Isolation
  • Dragon’s Age: Inquisition
  • Dying Light
  • Grand Theft Auto V
  • ProjectCARS
  • 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 
  • DOOM (*OpenGL)
  • Mirror’s Edge Catalyst

DX12 Games

  • Ashes of the Singularity
  • Hitman
  • Rise of the Tomb Raider
  • Total War: Warhammer

AMD Settings

Here are the settings that we always use in AMD’s Crimson Control Center for our default benching. The new Power Efficiency Toggle  is left off in our benching.  GLOBALsettings

Calculating Percentages

There are two methods of calculating percentages.  One is the “Percentage Difference” that we used to compare the GTX 1080 versus the TITAN X, and the other is “Percentage Change” which we are using now to show the performance improvements of the factory-clocked PowerColor Red Devil RX 4870 over the reference RX 480 stock clocks.

For the percentage change, we mean the increase in frame rates between the reference RX 480 and the PowerColor factory clocks of the Red Devil RX 480, divided by the absolute value of the original stock frame rate in fps, multiplied by 100.  We do this to show the PowerColor factory clocks with the unlocked BIOS over the stock RX 480 clocks.

The percentage change may be expressed by the algebraic formula where “V” is Value: ( ΔV / |V1| ) * 100 = ((V2 – V1) / |V1|) * 100

Let’s check out the shipping BIOS versus the “unlocked” BIOS next.


    • The RX 480 4gb is the same as the 8gb one, just the VRAM changes, there’s also a 3gb 1060, so I’m unsure which one they’re using.

      • We used the Founders Edition of the GTX 1060 (6GB) for this evaluation. I just fixed the typo in the Test bed that mistakenly said 8GB. We are using the Red Devil RX 480 8GB.

  1. I just flashed the unlocked BIOS onto the rx 480, but the max powelimit i can set still is 5%. Any suggestions?

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