New Driver Will Reportedly Resolve Radeon RX 480 Power Issues And Increase Performance

AMD is working on a driver fix that will address the power draw of the Radeon RX 480, its first Polaris part and a graphics card we determined is easily the best value in its price segment (see our full review for more in-depth coverage). The driver, Radeon Software 16.7.1, is in the final testing stage and will release to the public within the next 48 hours, AMD said in the wee hours of the morning.

The Radeon RX 480 was designed to give gamers a potent and affordable option for VR gaming. Pricing starts at $199 for the 4GB model and $239 for the 8GB variant, both of which represent excellent price-to-performance ratios. However, it was recently discovered that the Radeon RX 480 was pulling more than the allowable 75W from the PCI Express slot when under load. There have also been reports of the total power draw exceeding its 150W rating, along with claims of motherboards failing from the increased PCIe power draw.

AMD Radeon RX 480

AMD downplayed the concerns in a statement announcing the finalization of the new drivers, saying it's "confident that the levels of reported power draws by the Radeon RX 480 do not pose a risk of damage to motherboards or other PC components," but is nevertheless serious about addressing the issue and putting any concerns to rest.

"Towards that end, we assembled a worldwide team this past weekend to investigate and develop a driver update to improve the power draw. We’re pleased to report that this driver—Radeon Software 16.7.1—is now undergoing final testing and will be released to the public in the next 48 hours," AMD said. "In this driver we’ve implemented a change to address power distribution on the Radeon RX 480 – this change will lower current drawn from the PCIe bus."

The driver will also introduce an option to reduce total power consumption with "minimal" impact on performance. It will be listed as a "compatibility" UI toggle in the Global Settings menu of Radeon Settings and will be turned off by default.

In addition to fixing the power draw, AMD promises its usual round of performance improvements with its next driver release. AMD says you can expect a performance bump of up to 3 percent in popular games, which should "substantially offset" the performance impact of running the card in compatibility mode.