AMD's RX 500 series get mildly updated GPUs with new names and not much else

Best graphics card runner-up

Update, March 20: So, not only are AMD rebadging their last-gen RX 400 series graphics cards with the RX 500 nomenclature, they're also rebadging the GPUs behind them. Polaris 10 becomes Polaris 20, Polaris 11 becomes Polaris 21, and then out of nowhere comes Polaris 12 just to make things weird.

So, what are the best GPUs? Check out our pick of the finest graphics cards around today.

Well, if the GPUs have got new names and the graphics card themselves come from a brand new series then this generation must be completely different. Maybe it is worth upgrading from an RX 480 to an RX 580. I'm pretty much sold now.

The news comes from a report on Benchlife which states the new Polaris GPUs will be based on a more mature 14nm node from GlobalFoundries, shifting from their initial Low Power Early (LPE) design to the latest Low Power Plus (LPP) production process.

Realistically that is unlikely to make any real difference to the two Polaris 20 cards, aside from allowing AMD to push the basic clockspeed of their reference designs a touch higher than the first Polaris cards launched last year. Rumours are the GPUs will be boosted by less than 100MHz.

There is talk, however, that the RX 560 isn't just going to be a straight rebadge, but might actually get the full 1,024 core count from the GPU which the RX 460 missed out on. Sapphire did create a fully unlocked version of the RX 460, but it only saw a China-exclusive release. There is also set to be an even more cut-down Polaris with 640 cores (the Polaris 12) to support a lower-end RX 550 card.

A rose by any other name...

Original story, March 16: AMD announced last night that the new Ryzen 5 CPUs will be launching on April 11 and now it seems they’ll be swiftly backed up by the Radeon RX 500 series of graphics cards the following week. Super-exciting, no? Well… no. The RX 500s will simply sport rebranded Polaris GPUs. Sigh.

To coincide with the Origin Access release of Mass Effect: Andromeda AMD released a new Crimson ReLive driver last night and in it have been found references to the RX 580, RX 570 and RX 560 cards. Alongside those GPU names are the device ID tags which identify them as belonging to the Polaris family of graphics cards.

I was really excited about the potential of the new RX 500 series of AMD graphics cards when I thought they might actually be new. All I’ve heard about the Vega GPU architecture makes me feel all gooey inside about the possible graphical goodness on offer. 

I mean I kind of knew that, as is their wont, AMD would fill out much of the 500 series with GPUs from their last generation, but I naively hoped we might at least get a couple of Vega chips mixed in there at the high-end.

Polaris 10 GPU

But no, Vega looks like it really is only actually going to appear in the flagship RX Vega card. At least for the time being. I’m sure eventually the GPU architecture will filter down to other cards in the stack - maybe AMD will follow Nvidia’s lead and release an RX 590 using the same chip as the RX Vega but at a more reasonable price point.

After all, with the RX Vega card sporting non-numerical nomenclature it’s surely going to be priced well outside their standard GPU range. Though with the GTX 1080 Ti launching at $699, and looking like it’s going to outperform the RX Vega, AMD are going to have to bring it out below that pricing high water mark.

So when’s this all going to happen? Current reports have the RX 500 series of cards starting to trickle out the week after the Ryzen 5 launch, with the RX 580 and RX 570 coming first on April 18.

Fingers crossed they’ll at least have a maybe a clockspeed bump...

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Rock1m1 avatarM3GAD3TH avatar[HFA]Dragonstongue avatarDave James avatarEmre avatarcampcreekdude avatar
M3GAD3TH Avatar
1 Week ago

I'm getting it for sure

[HFA]Dragonstongue Avatar
1 Week ago

Rock1 and this article, there is a massive difference between rebrands as this and other sites are alluding to, and an optimized version using higher speeds and lower power as well as supposedly targeting and even lower pricepoint for the RX 580-570-560 models, you do not want to buy it, then do not, at least AMD builds their products very well using high quality components compared to some other company more interested in buying reviewers opinions and hiding truthful numbers.

Just saying, just as a base example, a pure rebrand would be like the Radeon HD 8000 series which is a TRUE(albeit OEM only) of the 7000 series that were built very well with high quality components and verifiable quality, compared to say Nv and their 8000 series becoming a massive chunk rebranded with all the same quality control KNOWN problems as the 9000 series they did not care much if they had 10s of thousands of in field failures or more OEM or consumer purchases, cause they make $$$$$$$$ so can keep pushing BS quality into the open market.

So, even if it were and is not going to be a pure rebrand(i.e same clock speeds, memory amounts, TMU/ROP, wattage, TDP etc) that is ok, cause they will be put on the shelf at a better pricing, but everything I have heard so far states in fact, nope, they are an optimized version featuring higher clock speeds, less wattage(and therefore even better temperatures which the RX 400 series is actually quite good with)

So anyways, does it matter really if it is or is not a true rebrand, nope, you buy it, or you do not, nuff said, guess you can just go on supporting a corrupt Nv bs buy reviewers and tilt numbers in their favor instead of saying the truth as it really is(such as Pascal is NOT any better then Maxwell, they only ramped clock speeds and chopped other things away to make "appear" as more power efficient, when in fact, Polaris is more efficient in regards to actual power use for the work it can do, is more area dense when it comes to transistors, is capable of far more grunt when used to its fullest, built tougher, etc etc)

Am done, no point wasting more time on this, folks that see blue(Intel) or Green (Nv) as always the best answer (without knowing much of the true cost) will always find some of their kool-aid to drink even if it is laced with poison :)

Dave James Avatar
1 Week ago

Like I said in the piece, I was fully prepared for AMD to be dropping mildly-refreshed Polaris cards in to fill out the 500-series below the top-end Vega-powered cards, but it does have me a little worried if we're only going to get a likely low-volume, high-margin part sitting outside this new series of GPU instead of an actual range.

And realistically I can't see AMD releasing an RX 580 for less than the £200 you can pick up an 8GB RX 480 for right now.

As for the corruption claims, in all my time working in the industry I've not experienced anyone trying to buy/strong-arm reviews in the UK, though I obviously can't speak for your experiences.

Emre Avatar
5 Days ago

8GB AIB for $200 and I'm sold!

Dave James Avatar
4 Days ago

Yeah, if AMD do start the RX 580 out below $200 / £200 - and they actually end up at that price in retail - that will defo be a win even if there's no performance difference.

campcreekdude Avatar
4 Days ago

With this round of GPU, CPU releases, AMD makes anything slower or equivalent irrelevant.

The RX 480 is really cheap and the 1060 3 gig is not even a contender. The 1060 6 gig is better contender but short 2 gigabytes of vram. Plus no SLI on 160. In all honesty the RX 480 is winner in features/price/performance (crossfire).

AMD is performing similar to the core i5 with its latest CPU's. Except you can get hyperthreading and more cores in AMD flavour. AMD is not cheaper yet but with the Ryzen 5 series it might be a real contender with core i5 in price/performance/features.

I wouldnt doubt that the RX 580 can crossfire with the RX 480 if they as similar as the rumors show it to be. (just like 280x and7970). But wait and see.

Rock1m1 Avatar
1 Week ago

It is a rebrand so don't really care.