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article imageAMD announces new low-cost graphics cards for budget gaming PCs

By James Walker     Apr 18, 2017 in Technology
AMD has today announced a new generation of graphics cards that continue the company's recent focus on value-for-money gaming performance. The Radeon RX 500 series are priced lower than the competition but still offer ample power for most games.
The RX 500 line comprises four different parts that supersede last year's Radeon RX 400 family. The range, in particular the high-end RX 480 and RX 470, set new standards for high-performance gaming on a low budget. The RX 500 follows the same mission, offering the "most compelling" graphics cards for gamers looking for an upgrade.
At the top of the range is the Radeon RX 580 which will be available from $199 in its basic 4GB configuration. An 8GB option will also be available, retailing at $229. This puts it in exactly the same price bracket as NVIDIA's current GTX 1060, a card that generally outperforms the existing RX 480. AMD has evidently worked to close the gap with its new designs.
The RX 500 series doesn't introduce any radical changes over last year. AMD has aimed at incremental gains, boosting performance in areas where the RX 480 fell short. The RX 580 is still based on the company's Polaris architecture and basic specifications are largely identical across the board. AMD has significantly raised the clock speed of the new card, increasing it to 1257MHz from 1120MHz, but otherwise there are no notable changes.
The clock speed increase has been enabled by improvements to AMD's manufacturing process that have led to it producing more high-quality parts. The higher clock has forced AMD to raise the card's power requirements, taking it to 185W from 150W. While this is unlikely to affect many gamers, it could impact the RX 500's ability to be used in small form-factor builds.
Overall, AMD is claiming the RX 500 offers a 5% gaming performance increase over last year's cards. That's nothing too exciting and AMD recognised that RX 480 owners aren't going to be rushing to upgrade. The company is instead targeting the large number of PC gamers who are still on significantly older cards and outdated architectures. The RX 580 offers this demographic a low-cost route to a modern platform.
"The Radeon RX 500 series was designed specifically for system upgrades, catering to the 9 out of 10 PC gamers today who are hindered by outdated technology and aren't able to enjoy optimal experiences in modern games, smooth VR experiences, or the latest display technologies," said AMD.
The new cards feature all of AMD's flagship technologies, including its recently launched Radeon ReLive gaming software. ReLive allows players to record, edit and share their gameplay without installing additional software. The RX 500 also supports Radeon FreeSync to eliminate screen tearing with compatible monitors and includes Microsoft DirectX 12 compatibility for next-generation gaming.
The Radeon RX 580 is available from today at retailers worldwide. It's joined by the Radeon RX 570, a $169 card with up to 2.3x the performance of AMD's previous-generation R7 370. Entry-level options will be added to the range later in the form of the $99 RX 560 and $79 RX 550.
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