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Build system around AMD RX 480: which chipset, memory, CPU?

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  • Build system around AMD RX 480: which chipset, memory, CPU?

    I am considering to build a system around the AMD RX 480 graphical card. I would like to use as many open source drivers/firmware components as possible, and ideally I would go for the Talos Desktop Edition, but at $7,100 + CPU that's a bit too much (and the crowd funding goal is still far far away...). The question is now, how can I build a cheaper X86_64 system with an RX 480, and what would be the lower limit on the CPU/memory/chipset, meaning: at which point are they becoming the bottle neck under heavy (gaming) loads? Thoughts? Suggestions?

    Michael , are you in a position to run a few tests with the RX 480 plugged into a few different systems with other (less powerful) CPUs, to create an extra data point for in graphs like here? I realize this might be labour intensive test (swapping in-out your RX 480 into various systems), but all I can do is ask :-) I am not in a hurry and will remain a loyal premium subscriber even if you don't see value in tests like these :-) It is especially at moments like these (when considering buying a new Linux system) I appreciate the wealth of information provided by Phoronix!

    There are already quite a few RX 480 benchmarks at OpenBenchmarking.org.

  • #2
    Based on the available tests in OpenBenchmarking.org, I've tried to put the few different CPU's together for the Unigine tests Heaven, Tropics, Sanctuary and Valley. These graphs are messy, and the results are not really comparable (different systems, software, etc), but it at least gives an initial picture:
    http://openbenchmarking.org/result/1...LO-UNIGINEAL63

    Seems that yes, with less powerful CPU's your RX 480 performance will drop 20-30%.

    Constructing this graph was a bit of a challenge for me:
    1. Find all test results from a test (for example unigine-sanctuary), and Find results matching hardware on RX 480
    2. Tick all boxes and press Compare 5 Selected Results (so you would land here).
    3. Repeat for unigine-heaven, unigine-valley, and unigine-tropics. Create a list of all result identifiers.
    4. Use all result identifiers to download a combined result (very long link), and download that file as xml
    5. I wrote some Python code (using lxml) to remove all non Unigine results, and all tests not carried out with an AMD Radeon RX 480 (I can share that for those interested)
    6. Rename result identifiers because there will be duplicates...
    7. Save updated composite.xml file, run phoronix-test-suite refresh-graphs, phoronix-test-suite upload-results

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    • #3
      Accumulate your funds and wait until Zen comes out. Since you decreed that you would also like as open system as possible - Intel is excluded.

      AMD still does not have a thing right now you would want to buy performance-wise, not when Zen is "around the corner". It would be waste of money.

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      • #4
        For the record, I have condensed the above mentioned workfow into a demo at Github here. See also issue 146 on the PTS github page.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Davidovitch View Post
          The question is now, how can I build a cheaper X86_64 system with an RX 480, and what would be the lower limit on the CPU/memory/chipset, meaning: at which point are they becoming the bottle neck under heavy (gaming) loads? Thoughts? Suggestions?
          Do you have any specific games in mind or you are considering the problem "in general"? Point is, different games give different results with different hardware and you could build your PC targeting particular game cheaper. Well, compared to having build "defeat-them-all" performance-monster.

          Some game engines are heavy multi-core CPU'users but are not using GPU overmuch.. Some are the exact opposite, all the work is done by GPU and only single CPU thread is ever being used.

          What monitor/resolution are you going to use? I remember seeing benchmarks from ages a go, suggesting that ancient AMD Piledriver CPUs performed remarkably better in 4K system than in lower resolutions, comparable to newer i7's actually.

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          • #6
            I haven't given myself a set of very specific requirements, and I am more of a casual gamer who never owned anything worth calling a gaming rig. What I play once in a while is some Source games from Valve (CS:GO, CS Day of Defeat), and the open source 0AD (not heavy at all on the graphics). I would like to play the X-Plane flight sim, but I haven't both it yet. I don't have a 4K monitor at this stage, nut sure when I will jump to 4K.
            Last edited by Davidovitch; 01-02-2017, 10:40 AM. Reason: edit: remove emoticon that slipped in unintentionally....

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