Today MSI is announcing the latest entry in the Gaming X GPU line with the Radeon RX 480 Gaming X 8G/4G cards as well as non-X variants. The main difference between the non-X and X cards is in the core and memory frequencies, with the X card having the higher performance. In return, there will be a small price difference between the two variants.

MSI Radeon RX 480 Gaming Specification Comparison
Core Clock
Silent 1266 MHz
Gaming 1303 MHz 1279 MHz
OC Mode 1316 MHz 1292 MHz
Memory Clock (Reg/OC) 8.0/8.1 Gbps GDDR5 8.0 Gbps GDDR5
VRAM 8 GB 4 GB 8 GB 4 GB
Launch Date TBD Mid August 2016
Launch Price Unknown ???

Starting with appearance, all four models shown today feature an angular, aggressive, red and black design for the cooler, which glows through the red highlights. On the side of the card is an MSI logo lit by customizable RGB lighting which is adjusted through the MSI Gaming software bundled with the card. Around back there is a full cover back plate on the Gaming X cards, and moving back around to the cooler we have two large fans over a full-length cooler and PCB. Running through the heatsink are three heat pipes at 8mm thick each. These heat pipes are squared off at the bottom and mated to a nickel-plated copper baseplate, aiming to increase contact with the GPU core and hence increase heat transfer. This cooler is toned down from that used on the highest end cards, but should still make for a very capable cooling solution.

Moving from form over to function, MSI’s RX 480 Gaming X cards are built from what MSI calls “Military Class 4” components, which is marketing speak for their choosing quality components to assemble this card. For power, the cards have a single 8-pin connector, and for the output we have two HDMI, two DisplayPort, and one DVI-D connection. This appears to be a very popular arrangement this generation, allowing one HDMI port for a monitor and another for a VR headset. MSI also use their TORX Fan 2.0 design which they say will generate 22% more air pressure, and like other Gaming and Gaming X cards the fans will shut off at temperatures below 60C. If true these fans coupled with the Twin Frozr VI heatsink could do an admirable job of quietly handling any heat an RX 480 can muster. For performance numbers on the Gaming X, we have a moderate clock speed gain over the reference card in OC mode, while the memory is bumped up to 8.1 Gbps in OC mode.

With no word on pricing, both 8GB and 4GB versions of the MSI Radeon RX 480 Gaming X are expected to be in stores worldwide around the middle of August 2016.


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  • Stochastic - Tuesday, July 26, 2016 - link

    Pricing and OC headroom are going to be critical with the AIB 480s. Although with availability being limited they can probably get away with whatever pricing they want.
  • monkeybars - Tuesday, July 26, 2016 - link

    With the 1060 out, they really can't get away with whatever pricing they want.
  • Drumsticks - Tuesday, July 26, 2016 - link

    The 4GB models are the stars of the show. Sapphire's 4GB Nitro looked to be very close if not equal to a 1060, but at $220. This could do even better with 8Gbps memory.
  • damianrobertjones - Tuesday, July 26, 2016 - link

    Or just buy a second hand 980?
  • LordanSS - Tuesday, July 26, 2016 - link

    Second hand 980? Give me a break.

    As an owner of a 980, I'll be glad to switch back to the AMD camp on my main PC soon. The number of issues I've had with drivers and games I play with friends, and media playback, were too much of a pain.

    My 7970 running on my old second machine trots along just fine, just with lower gaming performance. All this "nVidia drivers are better" has been a lie for a long time now. I'd say they're the same, both sides having issues here and there. You just have to pick what's better with what you are going to do.
  • medi03 - Tuesday, July 26, 2016 - link

    nvidia cards age terribly, so, uh, unless there is a great deal, nope.
  • Morawka - Tuesday, July 26, 2016 - link

    i'd take a 980 anyday over a rx480. more performance, better drivers (DX11).

    980's are selling for around $325 tho on ebay, there is a price gap
  • emn13 - Wednesday, July 27, 2016 - link

    The 980 uses much more power, and is much more expensive, so it's not really a useful comparison. The 970 would be a better comparison.

    Around here anyhow, those two are fairly closely matched in price, though the really cheap 480's are still cheaper. And the 480 uses less power, and it's probably more future-proof too, even though perf at the moment is comparable.

    In short: unless there's some specific game you feel the RX480 isn't going to run well enough, I'd pick that.

    And if you think it's not fast enough, I'd be really really cautious picking last-years models. They're just not cheap enough, and the extra power use means more noise and typically earlier fan-death. And of course there are feature differences too.

    So I'd never pick a 970 or 980 (unless you get an *extremely* good deal); if rx480 isn't fast enough in your games of choice, pick a 1060, 1070 or 1080 (and check benchmarks for that game first).
  • Chaser - Thursday, July 28, 2016 - link

    Oh please. The difference in power between a 980 and Rx480 is 30 watts at load. Its 100 freaking watts against a 390X. Since when did AMD GPU people give a damn about power usage? LOL.
  • medi03 - Tuesday, August 2, 2016 - link

    Yeah. Those Fermi times when AMD people didn't give a damn about power usage, but nVidia people bought 450/460 etc which were SLOWER and consumed MORE and also more EXPENSIVE.


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