AMD Radeon RX 480 Review: Polaris Hitting The Sweet Spot

Shadow of Mordor And Thief Performance

Monolith’s surprisingly fun Orc-slaying title Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor, delivers a ton of visual fidelity even at the lowest quality settings. So, to maximize eye candy the eye-candy on these high-end graphics cards, we ran the game’s Ultra quality benchmark routine at a couple of resolutions, topping out at 4K--excuse us, 3840x2160 for the sticklers out there. All of the games graphics-related options were enabled, along with FXAA and Camera Blur...

Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor Performance
Glorious Orc-Slaying Vengeance

Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor

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At this point, we're starting to sound rather repetitive but the numbers are what they are. Once again, the Radeon RX 480 cards were able to outrun the GeForce GTX 970 at both resolutions, but couldn't quite hit the mark set by the Radeon R9 390.

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NVIDIA's latest drivers, however, caused some frametime variations in this game, that aren't present with the Radeon cards. Framerates are high enough that these variations won't be perceptible by everyone, but save for a couple of spikes, the Radeons delivered frames at a more even clip here none the less.

DirectX 11 Gaming Performance
Square Enix set the tone for Thief by saying, "Garrett, the Master Thief, steps out of the shadows into the City. In this treacherous place, where the Baron’s Watch spreads a rising tide of fear and oppression, his skills are the only things he can trust. Even the most cautious citizens and their best-guarded possessions are not safe from his reach." The Thief series has been popular for years, not only for its interesting story lines and unique gameplay, but because the games have consistently featured excellent graphics and imagery and leveraged bleeding edge technology, like AMD's Mantle API, for example.

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The smaller frame buffer on the Radeon RX 480 4GB card resulted in significantly lower minimum framerates in Thief, but average framerates for both RX 480s were well ahead of the GeForce GTX 970 here, and trailed the R9 390 by only a couple of frames per second.

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Though the differences aren't stark across the entire run, the new Radeon RX480s also offered smoother overall frame delivery than the GeForce GTX 970 in this game.

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