Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 & 1070 vs AMD Radeon RX 480

Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 & 1070 vs AMD Radeon RX 480

AMD vs Nvidia is a long-standing rivalry between two GPU manufacturers that has often led to community wars. In true UFC fashion, the green corner aka Nvidia, announced its pascal-based GPU, the GeForce GTX 1080 and 1070 on 7 May 2016. In the red corner, AMD announced its new Polaris GPU, the RX 480 on 1 June 2016. (It has since also unveiled the RX 460 and RX 470.) Here's a comparison of their specs, features, power efficiency, UK availability and price.

Read next: AMD Polaris UK release date, price, specification and speculation.

Note: We don't have either card at hand, so we're not able to provide you with benchmark comparisons. However, we'll run through the cards' main features and give you a breakdown comparison of their on-paper specs.

We would like to thank our colleagues in the US at PCWorld for some of the images.

Podcast discussion: AMD RX 480 and VR

Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 & 1070 vs AMD Radeon RX 480: UK availability, release date and price

The GTX 1080 and 1070 were both announced on 7 May with a release date of 27 May and 10 June 2016 respectively. You can therefore already purchase the GTX 1080 through selected retailers, such as Overclockers UK, eBuyer, Scan, Amazon, Maplin and Currys. Prices for the GTX 1080 range from £524.99 all the way up to £679.99 for a water-cooled variant of the GPU.

Nvidia GTX 1080 & 1070 vs AMD RX 480 - 1080

The GTX 1070 has had its Founders Edition price confirmed at £399, but we're yet to know about its regular (cheaper) release price. Read next: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 & GTX 1070.

The RX 480 was announced on 1 June 2016 and is set to be launched on 29 June. The new Polaris GPU hasn't got a UK release price just yet, but given its $200 (~£140) price tag, we expect it to be released for around £160 including VAT. Given that it was very recently announced we anticipate retailers to slowly pickup stock and have it ready for its 29 June release date. We will update this article as soon as there's confirmation from retailers on its availability and price.

If you're on a budget or looking to get the best bang for buck, the RX 480 provides a lot more for your casual gamer than the GTX 1070 and GTX 1080. AMD's Polaris card is less than half the price of the GTX 1070 and is an astonishing 70 percent cheaper than the GTX 1080.

GTX 1080 & 1070 vs RX 480 - Red army

Given the popularity of the R9 390 and R9 380 among those who were looking for a budget GPU, the RX 480 could prove to be the killer combination that combines key performance attributes of the R9 390, whilst being as cheap as the R9 380 – a winning combination for those on a budget.

Winner: AMD RX 480

Read next: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 vs GTX 1070.

Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 & 1070 vs AMD Radeon RX 480: Specifications

Given the AMD RX 480's price, we didn't expect mind-blowing specs from the red team, however AMD hasn't disappointed us, with specs that sit between its older R9 380 and R9 390 – impressive considering it costs just as much as the R9 380 when it was released. The most impressive part of the GPU's specs is the high core clock it has versus previous generation AMD cards and the amount of stream processors.

RX 480 specs:

  • Stream Processors: 2304
  • Core Clock: 1266MHz
  • Boost Clock: 1733MHz (presumed)
  • VRAM: 4 & 8GB
  • TFLOP: 5.1 (unknown)
  • Memory Clock: 8Gbps
  • Memory Bus Width: 256-bit
  • Memory Bandwidth (GB/s): 256
  • TDP: 150
  • Transistors: 6.2b (unknown)
  • Manufacturing process: FinFET 14nm

The RX 480 also comes in both 4 and 8GB VRAM models. Currently the $200 pricing is aimed at the 4GB VRAM version, with the 8GB VRAM version set to be a little more expensive.

Nvidia GTX 1080 & 1070 vs AMD RX 480 - AMD Card

The GTX 1080 and GTX 1070 both have impressive specs, they are as follows:

GTX 1080 specs:

  • CUDA Cores: 2560
  • Core Clock: 1607MHz
  • Boost Clock: 1733MHz
  • VRAM: 8GB GDDR5X
  • TFLOP: 9
  • Memory Clock: 10Gbps
  • Memory Bus Width: 256-bit
  • Memory Bandwidth (GB/s): 320
  • TDP: 180W
  • Transistors: 7.2b
  • Manufacturing process: FinFET 16nm

GTX 1070 specs:

  • CUDA Cores: 1920
  • Core Clock: 1506MHz
  • Boost Clock: 1683MHz
  • VRAM: 8GB GDDR5
  • TFLOP: 6.5
  • Memory Clock: 8Gbps
  • Memory Bus Width: 256-bit
  • Memory Bandwidth (GB/s): 256
  • TDP: 150W
  • Transistors: 7.2b
  • Manufacturing process: FinFET 16nm

Both the Nvidia cards run on its latest architecture, Pascal. Seen in Nvidia's eyes as the new era of VR. Take away the VR focus and the cards are not only cheaper than its predecessors the GTX 980 and GTX 970, but also out-punching the GTX Titan X, a seriously expensive card (£800-950 on Amazon) that was previously deemed as the best single-GPU card on the market.

When you put the AMD RX 480 against the GTX 1070 and 1080, the AMD card tried to hold its own weight, but given the amount of raw power the new Nvidia cards have, it's hard for the RX 480 to realistically compete – at least on paper.

Looking at the specs and the overall comparison, it's safe to assume that the RX 480 won't out-punch the GTX 1070, let alone the beastly GTX 1080, however given that it is quite literally half the price of the GTX 1070, we're extremely impressed as to how AMD has managed to pack so much power at an extremely affordable price.

It is seen as the RX 480 will do better than a GTX 970 (especially given its 3.5GB VRAM memory problem) and be on-par in certain areas as the R9 390. As far as we're aware, we might see the new undisputed featherweight champion of the world (OK, we'll stop with the MMA chants) – the RX 480.

GTX 1080 & 1070 vs RX 480 - Performance Comparison

If you're looking for pure specs and performance, it's a no brainer; the GTX 1070 and GTX 1080 do more, but also cost more than double the RX 480. Speaking of double, AMD did share a DX12 benchmark of two RX 480s running in CrossFire and outperforming a GTX 1080 – so that's one to consider. Given that we're comparing single card setups, the RX 480 still loses out on paper.

Winner: Nvidia GTX 1080 & 1070

Read next: Best graphics cards 2016.

Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 & 1070 vs AMD Radeon RX 480: Key features

Both red and green camps have their advantages and disadvantages, the biggest one being what the new architectures of both companies can bring to the end user.

The most obvious one is drivers and software support. AMD was previously known as having horrendous driver support. They've somewhat addressed the issues with new sleek and stylish software, but at its core, AMD still has driver problems and sometime game compatibility problems. Don't get us wrong, Nvidia has the same problem, especially with some of its bundled software such as ShadowPlay (allows users to record games on the fly), but it is known to have less problems than AMD's bundled software and drivers.

Nvidia GTX 1080 & 1070 vs AMD RX 480 - Pascal

On the new Nvidia Pascal cards, the company launched Nvidia Ansel, an exciting tool for those who like taking pictures in games. The tool allows you to take multiple different images from a point-of-view that might not be present in-game. In other words, having the ability to take screenshots within a handful of games, where you can have multiple different perspectives and angles that you might not have ever seen on your monitor. Read more: Nvidia Pascal.

On the AMD Polaris card, you don't have photography abilities, but do have AMD FreeSync. This is AMD's answer to Nvidia's G-Sync, a clever way for the graphics card to synchronise with your G-Sync-enabled monitor, in order to give you a lag and tear-free experience. The major advantage of FreeSync is how much it costs – it's called Free…Sync for a reason.

Using FreeSync allows you to utilise the same benefits that Nvidia cards bring, but instead of paying an extra £100-200 on top of your desired monitor, you'll be spending a lot less on a monitor. Read next: Best budget displays 2016.

Nvidia GTX 1080 & 1070 vs AMD RX 480 - GPU

Both architectures support game streaming, VR and have great display output capabilities (DisplayPort 1.3, HDMI 2.0a/b etc).

To compare the cards head-to-head, we find that Nvidia generally offers more features, however given AMD's stance on FreeSync it's hard to call a winner between the two.

We suggest looking at what features mean more to you, and then decide which architecture would better suit your general day-to-day usage. If photography is important to you, then the Nvidia cards would be an obvious first choice. If you're looking to upgrade your monitor in the future, but no looking to spend a lot of money, then you should get an AMD graphics card.

Winner: Tied

Read next: How to upgrade your graphics card.

Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 & 1070 vs AMD Radeon RX 480: Power draw, efficiency, heat dissipation and noise

In the past, power draw and efficiency are two things that AMD has gotten a lot of slack for. As the AMD cards draw a lot of power, they are more expensive to run – this might not both many, but heat dissipation which ultimately leads to fan noise, has bothered the PC community.

Nvidia GTX 1080 & 1070 vs AMD RX 480 - Pascal card

In this respect, the AMD cards are known to run a lot hotter and because of this, for the same GPU load, they have been much louder. You might not think a graphics card can be that loud, but believe us AMD cards can sound like turbines wanting to take off in a jet. Thankfully third-party manufacturers, such as MSI designed very cool (pun intended) fans that did a lot better than the stock AMD coolers.

With the RX 480, AMD has addressed this by utilising the Polaris architecture to its full glory. Due to the card using much less power than its previous generation Hawaii GPUs (R9 3xx line), we anticipate the RX 480 to run a lot quieter than ever before.

GTX 1080 & 1070 vs RX 480 - Efficiency

It's therefore hard to call a winner in this comparison as we've yet to see or hear any reviews of the RX 480. However, both the GTX 1070 and GTX 1080 have been getting a lot of good press for their relatively quiet and efficient design.

Read next: How to build a gaming PC for under £500.

Winner: Tied

Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 & 1070 vs AMD Radeon RX 480: User poll

Which card will you get or think is the better overall card given their price?

Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 Founders Edition: Specs

  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 GPU
  • Codename: Pascal GP104
  • Process: 16nm
  • Core clock: 1607MHz (base) 1733MHz (boost)
  • Memory clock: 10,000MHz
  • Memory bus width: 256-bit
  • Processor cores: 2560
  • Texture units: 160
  • ROPs: 64
  • APIs: DirectX 12, Vulkan
  • Memory type and capacity: GDDR5X 8GB
  • Cooling system: Nvidia NVTTM Cooler
  • Power connectors: 1x 8-pin PCIe
  • Ports: 3x DisplayPort 1.4, 1x HDMI 2.0b, 1x DL-DVI-D
  • Simultaneous outputs: 16
  • Card width: 2 slots
  • Dimensions: 270 x 42 x 111mm
  • Cosmetic enhancements: None
  • Warranty: 3 years
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 GPU
  • Codename: Pascal GP104
  • Process: 16nm
  • Core clock: 1607MHz (base) 1733MHz (boost)
  • Memory clock: 10,000MHz
  • Memory bus width: 256-bit
  • Processor cores: 2560
  • Texture units: 160
  • ROPs: 64
  • APIs: DirectX 12, Vulkan
  • Memory type and capacity: GDDR5X 8GB
  • Cooling system: Nvidia NVTTM Cooler
  • Power connectors: 1x 8-pin PCIe
  • Ports: 3x DisplayPort 1.4, 1x HDMI 2.0b, 1x DL-DVI-D
  • Simultaneous outputs: 16
  • Card width: 2 slots
  • Dimensions: 270 x 42 x 111mm
  • Cosmetic enhancements: None
  • Warranty: 3 years

OUR VERDICT

On paper the Nvidia GTX 1080 and GTX 1070 come out on top, meaning if you're in search of performance, Nvidia offers more horsepower. However if you're on a budget, the AMD Radeon RX 480 is considerably cheaper and offers a solid performance across the board, making it the easy go-to GPU for most gamers.

We will be happy to see your thoughts

Leave a reply