With the NDA embargo finally lifting on the AMD RX 500 series GPUs, reviews have started trickling in for the four cards in the lineup – RX 580, 570, 560, and 550. However, as expected, the architecture is unchanged, and the ‘new’ GPUs are still based on the Polaris™ architecture used on the RX 400 series released last year. Moreover, AMD hasn’t provided any further updates on the highly-anticipated AMD Vega either.
Without further ado, let’s get to it!
The AMD RX 500 Lineup
Leading the pack, the RX 580 replaces the RX 480 by offering better performance in the same price bracket. AMD has tactfully marketed and compared all the GPUs in 500-series lineup against the RX 300 series of graphics cards to highlight a notable performance improvement. Since these RX 500 series cards don’t really offer much of an edge when compared to the 400 series, this tactic makes sense. Hence, people who have already bought into an RX 480 need not worry about getting this particular upgrade.
Although AMD fans don’t seem overly happy about the rebranding, these products will offer significant value to those stuck on older GPUs and who are looking for a formidable mid-range option to power their 1080p and 1440p gaming needs.
Suggested Retail Price: US$229
No prizes for guessing. Yes, the RX 570 is a replacement for the RX 470. Sitting at the same price, this GPU marginally outperforms its elder brother as expected – making it one of the best options for 1080p gaming.
The RX 570 should offer a great 1080p gaming experience on the latest AAA titles, with Ultra or High graphics settings (in most cases). If you have a 1080p monitor and are still using equivalent GPUs from the NVIDIA 900 series or the AMD RX 300 series (or even older), the RX 570 will be an excellent upgrade.
Suggested Retail Price: US$169
AMD officially promises ‘Outstanding 1080p performance in your favorite eSports and AAA games’ with the RX 560, which is marketing lingo for ‘can run eSports titles pretty well and will need to compromise on graphics to get a smooth 60 fps on AAA titles.’
Nonetheless, make no mistake, this card is no slouch when it comes to 1080p gaming when you consider its price. The only caveat is – you will have to lower those graphics in most AAA titles to get a smooth gaming experience, while eSports titles like Dota 2, League of Legends, Overwatch, CS:GO will run at high framerates comfortably. At its price range, it will offer tremendous value for money for those on a budget.
Suggested Retail Price: US$99
Well, we can’t blame AMD for rebranding this one, as the RX 550 is the company’s latest attempt to offer a competitive option for the lower-end GPU market. Hence, no RX 400 series’ equivalent exists.
Although I see these GPUs being a better addition to an HTPC than a gaming PC, gaming is still a viable option. AMD advertises a stable 60 fps on eSports titles like CS:GO, Dota 2, and Overwatch. However, 60 fps in competitive games without a FreeSync™ monitor will undoubtedly result in considerable input lag (if playing with VSync enabled @ 60 fps), leading to a less-than-optimal gaming experience.
Honestly, I cannot recommend the RX 550 for gamers, unless you are on an extreme budget and already have a FreeSync™ monitor. More so, as the RX 560 is a much better option for only $20 higher. However, this GPU will be a perfect fit for any HTPC build as it should handle video workloads with ease.
Suggested Retail Price: US$79
Even though some would argue that NVIDIA offers better value with their Pascal-based GTX 1060 and 1050 Ti, people who need AMD GPUs to power their FreeSync™ monitors will find the RX 500 series GPUs are a worthy upgrade from an RX 300 series or older card. However, if you already own a GTX 10-series or RX 400 series GPU, you can safely skip the RX 500 lineup and look towards the Vega release. Whenever that happens. Soon™
All RX 500 Series GPUs are available starting today at various online and brick-and-mortar retailers like Newegg, Amazon, Microcenter, etc. Keep in mind – depending on your geographic location, the availability dates will vary.