The PowerColor Red Devil RX 590 8GB takes on the EVGA GTX 1060 SC 6GB in 37 Games

The RX 590 arrived at BTR for evaluation as an 8GB Red Devil video card from PowerColor priced at $279.99.  We have been benching it versus the Gigabyte RX 480 G1 8GB at RX 580 clocks, and versus the $259 EVGA GTX 1060 SC 6GB video card using 37 games and 2 synthetic benchmarks.  Although the Red Devil RX 590 is a refresh of the Red Devil RX 580 with the same 2000MHz memory clocks, it is now on the 12nm process which has allowed Polaris to really flex its muscle with a substantial overclock to its core.

This brand new card has been released today at the PowerColor Red Devil factory overclocked speed of 1576MHz. By comparison, AMD’s reference RX 590 which is also priced at $279 has a base clock of 1469MHz and a boost clock of 1545MHz which still faster than any factory overclocked RX 580 such as the Sapphire Nitro Pulse which clocks to 1430MHz and also sells for $279 .

Our competing cards – the EVGA GTX 1060 SC 6GB (left), the Gigabyte RX 480 8GB G1 at RX 580 clocks (right), and the PowerColor Red Devil RX 590 8GB (bottom)

Besides benching the Powercolor RX 590 versus a RX 480 at stock RX 580 clocks (1340MHz), we will also benchmark the only other other competing NVIDIA card in a similar price range – the EVGA GTX 1060 6GB SC (“superclocked” edition) – to see where the new Red Devil RX 590 stands regarding price versus performance.  In addition, we shall show the performance of the PowerColor Red Devil RX Vega 56 which is in a much higher price range and higher class.

AMD released its Polaris architecture as the RX 480 on June 29, 2016. We followed its progress with improved drivers, and we also saw that it was only a fair overclocker versus the GTX 1060 SC.  The RX 580 released afterward as identical to the RX 480 but with higher core clocks, and our Gigabyte RX 480 8 GB G1 Gaming was able to match its 1340MHz reference core clock with a simple overclock.  This same card will stand in today for a stock RX 580.

Let’s take a look at the specifications of the PowerColor Red Devil RX 590.

The Red Devil RX 590 8GB Features & Specifications

Here are the specifications for the $279 PowerColor Red Devil RX 590 which comes with a code for a three-game bundle worth up to $180 – Resident Evil 2, Devil May Cry 5, and The Division 2.

The major upgrade to the specifications of the PowerColor Red Devil RX 590 over the RX 580 is an increase of 236MHz to the Boost clock from the RX 580’s 1340MHz by virtue of being fabricated on the 12nm process.  In addition, the Red Devil RX 590 has two BIOSes easily accessed by a switch. The Silent BIOS allows for very quiet operation and power efficiency while the Performance BIOS is for gaming with no power limit overclocking.

The RX 590 Red Devil Performance mode uses a temperature target set at about 70C while the Silent mode uses a target of 80C to allow the fan profile to reach quiet operation while still allowing for some overclocking.

Designed for further manual overclocking, the Red Devil RX 590 has improved the VRMs over the RX400 series with enhanced 6+1 power phases using DrMos, their highest rated Digital power.  It also uses 8×6 power pin connectors.PowerColor uses spring screws to pin through the rivets of the blackplate and the PCB to lock in the thermal module so the overall structure remains super solid.

Our Test Bed 

We shall test 37 games and 2 synthetic benchmarks at 1920×1080 and at 2560×1440.  We have just added Battlefield V and Hitman 2 which both released this week.  Our testing platform is a recent install of Windows 10 64-bit Home Edition, and we are using an i7-8700K which turbos all 6 cores to 4.7GHz, an EVGA Z370 FTW motherboard, and 16GB of HyperX DDR4 3333MHz. The games, settings, and hardware are identical except for the cards being compared.

First, let’s take a closer look at the new PowerColor Red Devil RX 590.