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Let’s talk a little about the history of RX 580 graphics. Rumors are that AMD is about to present its new AMD Vega GPU architecture soon and, given the success of AMD’s release in the CPU segment with the Ryzen family, it’s easy to understand why AMD fans are getting hyped. NVIDIA has been dominating the GPU segment for quite a while now, and even though AMD managed to come close in some aspects and offer better price/performance ratios, the truth is that AMD never managed to rank up to NVIDIA’s high-end cards such as the GTX 1080, the GTX 1080 Ti, or the Titan XP. AMD Vega is expected to change the scenery a bit, and go after NVIDIA’s top dogs.
Before Vega sees the light of the day, though, AMD opted to give its current Polaris architecture one more go, and thus the RX 500 series was born.
Known as Polaris Enhanced, AMD’s RX 500 series is basically a refresh of the Polaris-based RX 400 series, and it was primarily designed to tighten up the competition in the mid and low-end segments and give users who were hesitant to update when the RX 400 series came out a reason to consider upgrading. Featuring roughly the same specs as the RX 400 series, the RX 500 series does have some higher clocks and other refinements that reflect a modest performance increase, while the prices remain the same.
The Radeon RX 580 is the highlight of the RX 500 family, and the direct descendant of the RX 480, so they are very much similar cards. Specs-wise, the RX 580 and the RX 480 share the same number of stream processors (2304), texture units (144) and ROPs (32).
They both come in 4GB and 8GB variants and the only noticeable difference between the RX 580 and the RX 480 are the operating frequencies, which are higher for the 580 (1257MHz base and 1340MHz boost vs. the 480’s 1120MHz base and 1266MHz boost), and the higher TDP (180W vs. 150W for the 480).
Keep in mind that these are the reference specifications, though – manufacturers can tweak and tune them to their will to squeeze out the very best of Polaris. If you’re wondering which manufacturer did it better, wonder no more – here are the best RX 580 implementations out there.
If your quest for performance cannot be limited by stock settings, and you feel the urge to push your card to its limits, the XFX GTR-S Black Edition RX 580 is the card to go with.
The card comes with some colossal clock speeds out of the box: 1430MHz base and 1450MHz Boost, but the card’s specs allow you to push it even further. XFX opted for an 8-pin + 6-pin power setup paired with Ultra Low Noise XL inductors for better power delivery, a massive unibody heatsink with a full backplate to offer enhanced cooling for the GPU and VRM area as well, and easily-upgradable fans – all in an effort to provide you with the perfect setup for overclocking.
This Radeon RX 580 also features XFX’s True Clock Technology, which ensures that the overclocking settings and overall settings are enforced at the hardware level directly via BIOS, rather than via software only.
The XFX Black Edition has the looks to go with its performance as well, the card coming with a black backplate and heatsink enclosure, along with white fans for a powerful contrast.
AMD cards are not exactly known for being neither cool nor quiet, and the RX 580 is no exception – while the card does provide solid performance for its price, it does so by chewing through a lot of power and pumping out a lot of heat. If you want to keep an RX 580 both cool and quiet, you need to resort to some heavy cooling solution, and luckily, that’s exactly what the ASUS ROG RX 580 packs.
Asus’ cooling solution, which consists of 3 large fans and a tremendous heatsink, is designed to keep even the wildest video cards out there running at peak performance and not sound like a jet engine, and that’s exactly what it manages to do for the RX 580 as well.
With its Fan Stop technology, the card is basically dead-silent when not under load, but when you do put it to work, the three fans can provide the necessary cooling while remaining almost inaudible. The hefty cooling also allowed Asus to push the RX 580 to some more-than-decent clocks: 1360MHz in Gaming Mode and 1380MHz in OC Mode.
Small cases and hot video cards are not a good mix, and with NVIDIA offering numerous variants of its cool Pascal-based cards that are just right for an SFF build, there’s really no reason to go with AMD for such a build. However, if you cannot resist AMD’s calling, and still want to opt for a small form factor build, you’d better go with a card that has a proven track record when it comes to cooling, such as the AORUS RX 580.
Fitted with Gigabyte’s renowned Windforce 2X cooling system, which consists of a carefully-designed heatsink and two 90mm fans to keep it cool, along with the AORUS-specific cooper plate solution integrated into the backplate of the card, the Gigabyte AORUS RX 580 provides a very good balance between performance and thermal efficiency.
The card features an 8-pin connector and has a length of 232mm, so it should fit most SFF cases that can accommodate a dual-slot video card.
Performance-wise, this RX 580 lives up to its AORUS name, coming with a stock 1340MHz clock that can go up to 1365MHz in Gaming Mode, and as high as 1380MHz in OC mode. Higher values might be achievable via overclocking, but overclocking an AMD video card in an SFF means having a death wish for your hardware.
If you’re on a very tight budget, and want the most bang for your buck, the MSI Gaming X 4G is the RX 580 you want to go with. As its name suggests, the 4G is the model that comes with 4GB of video memory instead of 8GB, but that’s still plenty to play all recent games in Full HD resolutions with the details pushed to the max.
You get MSI’s premium design and cooling, so you can be sure you won’t run into any stability issues, design errors, or anything else that might prevent you from using the card to its full potential. The Twin Frozr VI cooling system will keep the card properly cooled, and thanks to the large fans and their design, you will barely hear anything even if the card is under heavy load.
MSI managed to pump out some decent numbers out of the RX 580: 1340MHz base clock, 1380MHz in Gaming Mode, and 1393MHz in OC mode – these are all on par with the 8GB models out there. However, there is a difference in the memory clocks: while the 8GB models usually have the memory running at 8000MHz (or higher, via overclock), the 4G model runs at 7000MHz only. This should not translate into a noticeable performance difference, though.
Sapphire is one of the heavy names in the AMD camp, so the fact that they offer the best implementation for the RX 580 is not really a surprise. The Sapphire Nitro+ Limited Edition RX 580 provides you with the best of the best the RX 580 has to offer.
On the power side, the card comes with an 8-pin connector and a 6-pin connector, along with high-polymer capacitors and Black Diamond 4 Chokes for better power filtering and distribution, meaning that the Nitro+ can support a hefty overclock. Adding to the overclock potential is also the fact that the Nitro+ Limited Edition features cherry-picked GPUs that have proved to be the most robust and reliable, so you’re no longer at the mercy of the silicon lottery.
In the cooling department, Sapphire redesigned its Dual-X cooler to be more efficient, and now features two 8mm and two 6mm heat pipes, paired with a large fin area to serve for heat dissipation and two 95mm fans. Speaking of fans, they also come with the Quick Connect feature, which makes replacing the fans a breeze.
And it’s no coincidence we mentioned replacing the fans – the Nitro+ Limited Edition comes with 2 translucent led-lit extra fans to give the card a more imposing look, so if the RGB lighting does not suffice, just replace the fans for an extra kick.
On the inside, the Nitro+ Limited Edition is just as impressive as on the outside: the core clock can go as high as 1450MHz in Boost Mode. And that’s before you tinker with it, so you’re bound to be able to hit some pretty nice figures with a bit of experimenting.
Last update on 2021-01-23 at 21:39 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API