Everyone losing their shit about RX480 power consumption

I’m gonna drop a quick post about this, because people apparently aren’t capable of thinking rational anymore. Also the double standards when it comes to NVIDIA and AMD…

As you might have heard, AMD released Radeon RX480 recently, a killer cheap graphic card based on new Polaris architecture. It’s priced up to $230 for 8GB version and performs a bit better than GTX 970/R9 390, but slightly worse than GTX 980 or R9 390X. Not bad to be honest.

Things got complicated when reviewers found out some cards draw more than 150W of power. Now, that by itself wouldn’t be a problem if the excess power draw wasn’t pulled from PCIe slot which is rated at 75W. The 6pin PCIe power connector on the graphic card is rated at 75W as well officially, but can draw a lot more power without any problem. Both combined deliver 150W of power. But the card in tests pulled 166W. So, you have to get more power from somewhere and RX480 apparently does it from PCIe slot. Pulling more than 75W from PCIe slot can potentially damage cheap crappy motherboards.

So, up till this point, I have no problems. There apparently is an issue and reviewers are there to point it out so company behind the product is aware of the issue and is going to remedy it. After all, I’m a consumer and such behavior is preferred because it benefits consumers.

However (not unexpected eh?), AMD already officially acknowledged the issue with this statement (provided by W1zzard from TechPowerUp):

“As you know, we continuously tune our GPUs in order to maximize their performance within their given power envelopes and the speed of the memory interface, which in this case is an unprecedented 8 Gbps for GDDR5. Recently, we identified select scenarios where the tuning of some RX 480 boards was not optimal. Fortunately, we can adjust the GPU’s tuning via software in order to resolve this issue. We are already testing a driver that implements a fix, and we will provide an update to the community on our progress on Tuesday (July 5, 2016).”

As you can see, AMD is already preparing a fix for it. Modern GPU’s are very advanced and power delivery can be fully controlled via BIOS or driver. I don’t know exact Polaris electrical design, but knowing Maxwell 2 already has this, been fiddling with it myself on GTX 980 that I have, and I see no reason why brand new GPU like Polaris wouldn’t have it as well. Meaning AMD isn’t just selling hot air and buying time, they have a realistic solution. Tuesday 5th July is the day they will give more info and potentially a driver with the fix. They can either strictly restrict power draw to 150W as whole or restrict PCIe to 75W as specified and let 6pin additional connector draw a bit of excess power. From what I heard, even though 6pin power connector is rated to 75W, it can pull up to 150W just like 8pin. Which won’t “gimp” the performance, it will just bring it to level AMD has specified while leaving PCIe within specs.

Has that calmed people? Nope. Everyone still losing their shit and creating more drama even before anyone can even evaluate the fix. I’m pretty sure using graphic card in such conditions for few days won’t affect anything. So why all this fucking drama?

What’s even more hilarious, NVIDIA had the same shit. On TWO occasions and I’ve only heard about it now. Never before. NVIDIA also fucked up the GTX 1080 fan profiles on Founders Edition cards (reference models)? There were mentions of it, but nowhere on the same level of crazy nonsense people are doing now for AMD.

For fucks sake, stop being such god damn fanboys. I own a GTX 980 and I’m defending AMD here…

Everyone calm the fuck down and wait for the fix. Evaluate it and if performance or anything else will be greatly affected by that, then start losing your shit again. But until then, calm the fuck down. Fucking hell.

UPDATE (2016/07/06)!

AMD issued an update on the given matter like an hour ago on Facebook.

We promised an update today (July 5, 2016) following concerns around the Radeon RX 480 drawing excess current from the PCIe bus. Although we are 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 based on expected usage, we are serious about addressing this topic and allaying outstanding concerns. 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.

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.
Separately, we’ve also included an option to reduce total power with minimal performance impact. Users will find this as the “compatibility” UI toggle in the Global Settings menu of Radeon Settings. This toggle is “off” by default.

Finally, we’ve implemented a collection of performance improvements for the Polaris architecture that yield performance uplifts in popular game titles of up to 3%. These optimizations are designed to improve the performance of the Radeon RX 480, and should substantially offset the performance impact for users who choose to activate the “compatibility” toggle.

AMD is committed to delivering high quality and high performance products, and we’ll continue to provide users with more control over their product’s performance and efficiency. We appreciate all the feedback so far, and we’ll continue to bring further performance and performance/W optimizations to the Radeon RX 480.

Interestingly enough, they will provide the fix, but they are confident enough the problem with PCIe power draw isn’t serious enough to enable the fix by default. Which is a bit strange, but I guess they know what they are doing. They also optimized drivers for a 3% boost which offsets the roughly 1% performance penalty when enabling the fix. Meaning even if users decide to enable the fix, they won’t lose any performance. I’m still interested in seeing performance and power draw results in a re-test of the RX480 with new drivers compared to old ones (and with or without the fix). Just to be really sure what’s happening. I’ll keep you posted…

UPDATE (2016/07/08)!

Read the news about resolved PCIe power issues on RX480 here. I’ve decided to post it as a new article while linking it back here for reference.

AMD fixed the issue entirely. That’s what I call a professional response for seemingly unfixable problem…


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