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PowerColor Red Devil Radeon RX 590 review: Trying to keep things fresh

By Koh Wanzi - 15 Jan 2019

Test setup & gaming performance

Test Setup

The detailed specifications of our new graphics card testbed system is as follows:-

  • Intel Core i7-8086K (4.0GHz, 12MB L3 cache)
  • ASUS ROG Strix Maximus X Hero (Intel Z370)
  • 4 x 8GB G.Skill Ripjaws V DDR4-3000 (Auto timings: CAS 15-15-15-35)
  • Samsung 860 EVO 500GB SSD
  • Windows 10 Pro 64-bit
  • Acer Predator X27, 4K monitor

The full line-up of graphics cards and their driver versions are listed below:

  • PowerColor Red Devil Radeon RX 590 (Radeon Software Adrenalin 2019 Edition 18.12.3)
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (ForceWare 417.35)
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (ForceWare 417.35)
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 (ForceWare 417.54)

Test cards compared
  PowerColor Red Devil Radeon RX 590 NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 Founders Edition NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Founders Edition
  PowerColor Red Devil Radeon RX 590 NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 Founders Edition NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Founders Edition
Launch SRP
  • From S$768
Core Code
  • Polaris 30
  • GP106
  • GP104
GPU Transistor Count
  • 5.7 billion
  • 4.4 Billion
  • 7.2 Billion
Manufacturing Process
  • 12nm
  • 16nm
  • 16nm
Core Clock
  • 1,576MHz
  • 1,506MHz (Boost: 1,708MHz)
  • 1,506MHz (Boost: 1,683MHz)
Stream Processors
  • 2,304
  • 1,280
  • 1,920
Stream Processor Clock
  • 1,576MHz
  • 1,506MHz
  • 1,506MHz
Texture Mapping Units (TMUs)
  • 144
  • 80
  • 120
Raster Operator units (ROP)
  • 32
  • 48
  • 64
Memory Clock (DDR)
  • 2,000MHz
  • 8,000MHz
  • 8,000MHz
Memory Bus width
  • 256-bit
  • 192-bit
  • 256-bit
Memory Bandwidth
  • 256GB/s
  • 192GB/s
  • 256GB/s
PCI Express Interface
  • 3.0
  • 3.0
  • 3.0
Power Connectors
  • 1x 8-pin, 1x 6-pin
  • 1x 6-PIN PCIe
  • 1x 8-PIN PCIe
Multi GPU Technology
  • Yes
  • SLI
DVI Outputs
  • 1
  • 1x
  • 1x
HDMI Outputs
  • 1
  • 1x
  • 1x
DisplayPort Outputs
  • 3
  • 3x
  • 3x
HDCP Output Support
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • Yes

 

Benchmarks

Next up, here's a list of all the benchmarks used:

  • 3DMark
  • VRMark
  • Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation
  • Deus Ex: Mankind Divided
  • Far Cry 5
  • Middle-earth: Shadow of War
  • Shadow of the Tomb Raider
  • Tom Clancy's The Division

We used the Fire Strike Extreme benchmark and stress test in 3DMark for our temperature  and power consumption tests respectively.

 

3DMark

The synthetic 3DMark benchmark tests graphics and computational performance at different resolutions, starting at 1080p and going all the way up to 4K. A series of two graphics test, one physics test, and then a combined test stress your hardware in turn to assess its performance.

The Radeon RX 590 sits pretty snugly between the GeForce GTX 1060 and 1070. It's around 18 per cent quicker than the GeForce GTX 1060, but it's nowhere close to challenging NVIDIA's new mainstream offering, the GeForce RTX 2060. 

 

VRMark

Futuremark’s VRMark benchmark is designed to assess a PC’s ability to handle high-performance headsets like the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift. If a PC passes the Orange Room test, it is ready for the latter two systems. The second graph also shows how the cards fared against the benchmark's target of an average FPS of 109. 

One again, the Radeon RX 590 edged ahead of the GeForce GTX 1060 by around 11 per cent. However, it still continued to trail both the GeForce GTX 1070 and RTX 2060. 

 

Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation

Ashes of the Singularity has long been the poster child for the performance benefits a low-level API like DirectX 12 can bring. It is based on the Nitrous engine and can be extremely punishing thanks to the huge number of onscreen units and the sheer level of detail accorded to each unit. However, the CPU does become the limiting factor at lower resolutions and settings. 

Like the GeForce GTX 1060, the Radeon RX 590 doesn't do too well with the settings cranked up. It churns out playable frame rates to be sure, but it falls far short of the 60FPS ideal at Crazy settings, even at 1080p.

 

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

Mankind Divided features just about every trick to make your game look pretty, including things like volumetric and dynamic lighting, screenspace reflections, and cloth physics. Even though it was released in 2016, the game is capable of bringing even the most powerful systems to their knees. 

The Radeon RX 590 was around 18 per cent quicker than the GeForce GTX 1060 at 1080p and Ultra settings. While the more expensive GeForce RTX 2060 once again remains unchallenged, the Radeon RX 590 is also cheaper. 

 

Far Cry 5

The latest installment in the Far Cry series is actually an AMD launch title, so it'll be interesting to see how the Radeon RX 590 fares here.

As it turns out, it doesn't actually have that big of a lead over the GeForce GTX 1060, coming ahead by just 9 per cent. 

 

Middle-earth: Shadow of War

The same thing plays out in Shadow of War, where the Radeon RX 590 has an 8 per cent edge over the GeForce GTX 1060 at 1080p and Ultra settings.

 

Shadow of the Tomb Raider

The latest installment in the Tomb Raider series hands the Radeon RX 590 an 8 per cent lead over the GeForce GTX 1060, not unlike in Shadow of War

 

Tom Clancy's The Division

Finally, The Division sees the Radeon RX 590 get just under an 11 per cent advantage over the GeForce GTX 1060, again at 1080p and Ultra settings. The GeForce RTX 2060 has a sizeable 28 per cent lead here, so you'll really need to decide if you want to shell out extra for NVIDIA's new mainstream GPU. 

7.5
  • Performance 7.5
  • Features 7.5
  • Value 8.5
The Good
Attractive price
Decent performance at 1080p
The Bad
High power consumption
Still based on aging Polaris architecture
Is basically an overclocked Radeon RX 580
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