AMD Radeon RX 580 And RX 570 Mainstream GPU Review: High Performance Polaris

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AMD Radeon RX 580 & RX 570 - Overclocking, Power, And Noise

We also spent a little time overclocking the new Radeon RX 580 and RX 570 cards, to see what kind of additional performance we could squeeze out of them. Like previous-gen Polaris-based Radeon cards, when boosting, frequencies and voltages scale upwards (power and temperature permitting) based on the GPU's workload at the time. With the WattMan tool built into AMD's drivers, however, users have the ability to manually alter frequencies and voltages on a per-voltage step (or state) basis and the power and acoustic targets can be changed as well.

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WattMan Running On The Radeon RX 580

There is also a real-time graph at the top that maps out GPU activity, clocks, and temperatures, along with the memory clock and fan speed over time. To overclock the Radeon RX 580 and 570, we took the simplest route and began by upping the power and temperature targets to their maximum values and then increased the GPU and memory offsets by a few percentage points.

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Wattman Running On The Radeon RX 570

The Radeon RX 580 was mostly cooperative and we were able to massage some additional performance from the card fairly easily. The Radeon RX 570, however, was unstable with an increased memory clock and pushing the GPU frequency offset by just a couple of percent caused instability as well.

Ultimately, we ended up with a peak boost clock of 1465MHz for the Radeon RX 580 and 1281MHz for the RX 570 without tuning voltages. We should also note that the GPU temperatures remained low on both cards while overclocked (around 70'C on the RX 580 and 61'C on the RX 570), though we had the fan speed cranked up very high. Dropping the fan speed to a lower, and hence quieter, speed would have resulted in higher GPU temps. But that also means there's some room for voltage tweaks, especially at the lower power states, which would likely push frequencies a bit higher.

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While we had the cards overclocked, we re-ran a couple of tests to see what kind of additional performance was available. The Radeon RX 580 showed some nice improvement, and was able to overtake the factory-overclocked EVGA card at 1440P in Hitman. The Radeon RX 570 showed less improvement while overclocked, however.

Total System Power Consumption
Tested at the Outlet
Before bringing this article to a close, we'd like to cover a couple of final data points -- power consumption and noise. Throughout all of our benchmarking and testing, we monitored acoustics and tracked how much power our test system was consuming using a power meter. Our goal was to give you an idea of how much power each configuration used while idling and also while under a heavy workload. Please keep in mind that we were testing total system power consumption at the outlet here, not the power being drawn by the graphics cards alone.


The Radeon RX 570 and RX 580 consumed slightly less power than their Radeon RX 400-series counterparts at idle, but under load they consumed more power than all of the other cards. The more aggressive power tuning and higher frequencies of these Radeon RX 500-series cards results in more power being consumed.  These load power numbers could be brought down by enabling Radeon Chill in games / titles that support it, but since it isn't universally supported and affects frame rates, we tested with Chill disabled.

In terms of noise output, the MSI Radeon RX 580 and RX 570 Gaming X cards we tested are usually quiet, and can be completely silent at idle when their fans spin down.  When idling, the cards are inaudible over the other components in our test system (we test inside a mid-tower chassis with a Corsair HX series PSU and Arctic Cooling CPU air-cooler on the CPU). Under load though, the MSI Radeon RX 580 Gaming X was somewhat louder than the other cards we tested, though we'd still consider it quiet. The MSI Radeon RX 570 Gaming X was quieter overall than its higher-end counterpart.

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