AMD Radeon RX 590 Review: Benchmarks And Overclocking 12nm Polaris

AMD Radeon RX 590 - Unigine Superposition And VRMark

How We Configured Our Test Systems: We tested the graphics cards represented in this article on a Gigabyte Aorus X299 Gaming 7 Pro motherboard powered by an Intel Core i9-9980XE 16-core processor and 32GB of G.SKILL DDR4 RAM clocked at 2,666MHz. The first thing we did when configuring the test system was enter the UEFI and set all values to their "high performance" default settings and disabled any integrated peripherals that wouldn't be put to use. The memory clock and timings were dialed in to ensure optimal memory performance at the processor's maximum supported speed of 2,666MHz (without overclocking), and the solid state drive was then formatted and Windows 10 Professional x64 was installed and fully updated. When the Windows installation was complete, we installed all of the drivers, games, and benchmark tools necessary to complete our tests.

red devil lit

We should note that the AMD Radeon RX Vega card used for reference data was tested in its default "Balanced" power mode throughout. Power Saver (slower) and Turbo (faster) power modes are also available with Vega, which would affect performance, noise output, and peak power consumption. In addition, the GeForce GTX 1060 and Radeon RX 580 we used for additional data points were custom boards from NVIDIA and AMD partners, EVGA and MSI (exact models in the table below). The performance differences between stock, reference GTX 1060 and RX 580 cards would have been somewhat larger.

HotHardware's Test System
Intel Core i9 Powered
Hardware Used:
Intel Core i9-9980XE
(3 - 4.5GHz, 18-Core)

Gigabyte X299 Gaming Pro 7
(Intel X299 Chipset)

Radeon RX Vega 56
XFX Radeon RX 590 Fatboy
PowerColor Red Devil RX 590
MSI Radeon RX 580 Gaming
EVGA GeForce GTX 1060 SSC

32GB G.SKILL DDR4-2666
Samsung SSD 860 Pro
Integrated Audio & Network
Relevant Software: 
Windows 10 Pro x64

NVIDIA Drivers: v416.81
AMD Drivers: Crimson v18.11.1 + Press

Benchmarks Used:
Unigine Superposition
VRMark "Blue Room"
3DMark "Fire Strike"
3DMark "Time Spy"
Middle-Earth: Shadow Of War
Rise Of The Tomb Raider
Tom Clancy Ghost Recon Wildlands
Strange Brigade
FarCry 5

Unigine Superposition
Pseudo-DirectX / OpenGL Gaming
Superposition is a relatively new benchmark from Unigine, powered by the UNIGINE 2 Engine. It offers an array of benchmark modes, targeting gaming workloads as well as VR, with both DirectX and OpenGL code paths. There is an extreme hardware stability test built-in as well. Unigine Superposition uses the developer’s unique SSRTGI (Screen-Space Ray-Traced Global Illumination) dynamic lighting technology, along with high quality textures and models, to produce some stunning visuals. We ran Superposition in two modes using the DirectX code path – 1080p Extreme and VR Future -- to compare the performance of all of the graphics cards featured here.

unigine superposition
Unigine Superposition


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The Radeon RX 590 cards we tested finished right on top of each other, which is to be expected, considering they have the same memory configuration and only 24MHz separates their max boost clocks. The RX 590s also had no trouble outpacing the RX 580 and GeForce GTX 1060 here, but the Vega 56 was simply in another class altogether.




The tables turn somewhat in Superposition's VR Future benchmark. In this test, the Radeon RX 590s are still faster than the RX 580, but the GeForce GTX 1060 finishes well out in front.

Futuremark VRMark
Testing Rift And Vive Readiness
Futuremark’s VRMark is designed to test a PC’s readiness for the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift virtual reality headsets. The benchmark does not, however, require that one of the headsets is attached to the PC to run and it uses an in-house graphics engine and content to ensure comparable results between different platforms. We ran the "Blue Room" VRMark test at defaults settings here, which is currently the most taxing test offered by the tool.

vr mark thumb
Futuremark VRMark



Fururemark's most taxing VR benchmark tells a different story than Unigine's. Here, the Radeon RX 590s outpace the GeForce GTX 1060 once again, and trail only the more expensive Radeon RX Vega 56.

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