AMD Radeon RX 590 Linux Benchmarks, 18-Way NVIDIA/AMD Gaming Comparison

Written by Michael Larabel in Graphics Cards on 7 December 2018. Page 8 of 8. 42 Comments
AMD Radeon RX 590 Linux Benchmarks Review
AMD Radeon RX 590 Linux Benchmarks Review
AMD Radeon RX 590 Linux Benchmarks Review

The Radeon RX 590 still offers better value than the current NVIDIA cards at their price points, but was noticeably behind the Radeon RX 580 in delivering the best performance-per-dollar for Linux gamers.

AMD Radeon RX 590 Linux Benchmarks Review

With the Sapphire Radeon RX 590 8GB graphics card used for testing, over the course of all the benchmarks run it had an average load temperature of 57 degrees with a peak of 73 degrees. While idling the core temperature was about 34 degrees.

AMD Radeon RX 590 Linux Benchmarks Review

Lastly is the AC system power consumption data overall from all of the benchmarks carried out on this Core i9 9900K Ubuntu Linux system. The RX 590 configuration had a minimum power draw of 74 Watts, an average total system power draw of 235 Watts during these gaming benchmarks and a peak of 345 Watts. That's compared the RX 580 configuration with a 209 Watt average and 307 Watt peak, or 20~30 Watts less than the RX 590.

In most of the OpenGL and Vulkan Linux games tested, the Radeon RX 590 was delivering generally 10~14% better performance than the Radeon RX 580. But the Radeon RX 590 costs roughly 33% more than the RX 580, which lowers it value but still affording Linux gamers a bit more gaming potential than laying out $400+ for a Radeon RX Vega route if wanting to use open-source drivers. And even at the current RX 590 pricing, the value still beats the current NVIDIA line-up for Linux gamers. In several of the game tests particularly at 4K with lower quality settings, the 10~14%+ in performance was enough to provide sufficient headroom above 60 FPS for ensuring a more playable experience. The RX 590 does consume 20~30 Watts more power than the RX 580 as shown by our figures but on a performance-per-Watt basis was able to come roughly in line with the earlier Polaris cards.

If you want a high performance Linux gaming setup, NVIDIA still offers the best performance, but the RADV/RadeonSI drivers in 2018 have closed the performance gap once there from the software side. For all the strides made by the open-source AMD Radeon Linux driver stack, it's unfortunate the RX 590 support wasn't squared away in time for launch day especially with this being another Polaris refresh, but hopefully this incident will lead to better internal AMD communication in the future with their Linux developers and hopefully getting all their ducks in a row before the Navi launch. At least it looks like the remaining RX 590 patches should be mainlined in time for the Linux 4.20 stable kernel release later this month.

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Michael Larabel

Michael Larabel is the principal author of and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via