After weeks of anticipation, AMD's high-end Radeon RX 480 "Polaris" graphics card is officially launching today! This graphics card starts at just $199 USD (or $239 USD for the 8GB version) and has day-one Linux support! There's available open-source driver support as well as an AMDGPU-PRO update that's expected today for those wanting to make use of this newer hybrid Linux driver stack. I've been testing the Radeon RX 480 under Linux the past week under both driver stacks and have my initial results to share this morning.
For those out of the loop, the RX 480 Polaris is AMD's first FinFET 14nm GPU and part of their fourth generation GCN architecture. The Radeon RX 480 boasts 36 compute units, 2304 stream processors, a 1120MHz base clock speed with 1266Mhz boost clock speed, up to 5.8 TFLOPS of compute power, 256-bit GDDR5 video memory, and has a 150 Watt TDP. With a 150 Watt TDP, just a single 6-pin PCI-E power connector is required. The $199 card ships with 4GB of video memory where as for $239+ is 8GB of the GDDR5 video memory.
In the reviewer material AMD sent over to us in advance, they claim that the Radeon RX 480 delivers 14% greater performance per compute unit over the Radeon R9 290. They also claim the Radeon RX 480 has 1.9x the performance-per-Watt of a Radeon R9 290.
With the Radeon RX 480, AMD has also been doing much to talk up the "premium VR experience" possible with this card. Unfortunately, I don't have much to add here considering Linux is still lagging behind Windows when it comes to Virtual Reality support.
Next up is some comments on the two Linux driver options for the Radeon RX 480 followed by all of our raw OpenGL/OpenCL/Vulkan benchmark results along with performance-per-Watt metrics and performance-per-dollar calculations with all of our AMD Polaris benchmarking under Ubuntu Linux.
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