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This review is from: GIGABYTE Radeon RX 480 G1 Gaming 8GB GV-RX480G1GAMING-8GD Video Card
Pros: + Works great - I upgraded from a HD7970, which I honestly wasn't even planning to upgrade from. The 7970 was fine for my needs. But a friend of mine expressed interest in building a new PC on a budget and was willing to pay $100 for my old card so... here we are. The performance difference between my old card and the 480 isn't huge. But it IS noticeably faster, offers DX12/Vulcan, and does it all while using MUCH less power while gaming.
+ Price - Here is a list of all of the graphics cards and their prices that I've bought that I still have records for in my email (my first graphics card was a Trident 3D 4MB, but Gmail didn't exist back then) - 6600GT 254.60, 7900GT 339.00, 8800GTX 579.99, 4870X2 549.99, HD 7970 484.99, RX480 239.99. I didn't realize until I looked it up today but this RX480 is the least expensive card I've purchased in 12 years, and it doesn't act like it. The fact that you can buy an enthusiast gaming grade card for this cheap these days is pretty excellent. For all of my friends asking for my help building mid-range gaming rigs, this is the card I am currently recommending.
+ Much Improved AMD Software - The latest major facelift to AMD's driver software is the best thing they've done in years. Their interface looks incredibly smooth and professional, WattMan is pretty useful and looks great, and AMD has been going much better about releasing quality driver updates regularly. AND, AMD doesn't require you to sign into social media in order to use all of their software features, like a certain competitor does... *cough*nvidia*cough*
+ RGB - Every RGB component in your system automatically adds 5fps to your games. I can't see them in my blacked out case under the desk...but I'm sure they're helping. Somehow...
Cons: - Initial Overheat Issues - When I first installed the card it seemed to work fine... for a few minutes into pretty much any game. Then I would get the dreaded green screen requiring hard reset. It was a very reproducible problem as it would occur every time I attempted to play a game, after just a minute or so. It was a bit perplexing, until I noticed an additional problem that gave me a clue. Whenever I would play videos the GPU fan would go nuts. It would max out 100% RPM for absolutely no reason. I decided to check the fan/temp status and it was immediately obvious that the fan profile was...screwy. It would work properly until I either played a video or played a game. Videos would cause the fan to spool up to 100% and games would cause the fan to go to 0%, regardless of GPU temperature in either case. Changing from user defined or automatic fan profiles made no difference. Sometimes the fan would even just randomly switch between correct settings, 0%, or 100%. I wasn't able to resolve this with a driver reinstall. After numerous attempts to completely remove and reinstall the driver (even going through the registry to pull out entries that the uninstall process missed), the problem persisted. I even restored windows to a prior date before the card was installed and that didn't help either. Finally after exhausting most other options I just decided to reinstall windows and that did it. Haven't had the problem since.
- No Gigabyte software standardization - Part of the reason I purchased this specific card is that I already have a Gigabyte motherboard, whose fan profiles and RGB lighting effects are controlled via Gigabyte software. It wasn't super important to me but I figured it would be at least kinda nice to have the GPU share fan/RGB LED controller software with the motherboard. Apparently it doesn't work that way. Both the motherboard and GPU use their own distinct software - neither of which are necessary for normal operation, but still. If I want to modify fan or LED settings on motherboard and GPU then I have to do it through two separate pieces of software.
- Loud - The only card I've had that was louder was my old 4870X2, which, I'm not even entirely sure of - it's been a while. The Gigabyte cooler on this thing is VERY loud at load. If I could go back I would have done research into RX480 OEM coolers to see which ones offer the best performance while not being as loud as this one.
Other Thoughts: So, should you buy this card? That depends on a lot, largely on whether or not you want to (or can) wait for AMD's Vega cards to be released. The best info currently shows Vega release within the first half of 2017, which is somewhat vague. However, it seems reasonable to speculate that if AMD could pull off a Feb-Mar release they'd be calling it 1st quarter, so I'm betting on Apr-Jun for Vega - which narrows it down a bit. If you're at least somewhat satisfied with your current rig and would like to see what Vega has to offer then wait. At the very least this card and all of the other cards you might already be thinking about will very likely be cheaper after Vega comes out.
If your existing card is practically unenjoyable in the games that matter for you, OR if you have no rig at all and are pricing up new parts then 3-5 months might be too long to wait. Besides, there's always something 3-5 months away in the PC world. If we all perpetually waited for the next big thing then we'd never build or play anything.
If you're filthy rich and always have the latest and greatest everything then you shouldn't even be looking at this card. A 1080 is probably your obvious pick, although I'm not a fan of Nvidia's software these days.
Personally, I highly recommend the RX480 as a series in general. It performs equal to or better than a 1060 in the games that matter to me and tends to cost the same or less, all while offering what I believe is far superior software to Nvidia's social-media-bloated tacky-looking nonsense. The only complaints I have are with this specific OEM implementation. Gigabyte could do better by standardizing their own software suit, and this GPU cooler is louder than it ought to be.
Pros: + 10 Year Warranty – The only other brand I can find that offers a 10 year warranty is EVGA, and they are selective about it (their warranties vary anywhere between 90 days and 10 years). SeaSonic, Thermaltake, and Rosewill offer 5 year warranties, Enermax and Antec offer 3 years, Raidmax just 2 years, and Silverstone is the worst with just 1 year. Corsair is really the best of the bunch with a reliable 10 year warranty.
+ Fully Modular – It’s almost pointless to get a power supply that’s not at least mostly modular. Cable management is a breeze.
+ Efficient – I wasn’t sure what to expect in the ways of actual efficiency advantages from a ‘Platinum’ PSU, but power draw at the outlet doesn’t lie and there’s a measurable difference. I’ll detail my findings in “Other Thoughts.”
+ Silent - The efficiency is so good on this PSU that the fan doesn’t even need to run as long as power consumption is low enough (according to the user manual the fan starts spinning @ 400W). My PC idles @ ~200W which sits well within that threshold. The fan can spin up to ~1450rpm, which is clearly audible, but unless you’re pushing it to the 1000W limit you should never expect to experience that. When gaming on my PC the PSU reports “Power In” of ~400W (right at the mark when it is set to start up), and even then the fan sits @ 0rpm. I purposefully taxed my system by transferring files between each of my 12 hard drives, running a CPU benchmark, and gaming, and managed to draw a peak of ~450W. EVEN THEN… zero rpm. And the fan does work. And the PSU doesn’t get hot (constant 35C).
+ Stable Temperature – Even with the fan sitting at a constant 0 RPM the power supply sits at a nearly constant 35C. Idle @ 200W, load @ 400W, doesn’t make much of a difference.
+ Lots of Cables – 2 CPU cables for dual CPU support, 4 dual PCI-E cables for Quad-SLI/Quad-fire (8 PCI-E connectors total), 12 SATA, 12 4-pin Molex… A system that needs more than this would be monstrous.
+ Corsair Link – I already use this software for my H80iv2 liquid cooler and I love it for that. Actually the software is the primary reason I opted for a Corsair power supply. Being able to monitor almost my entire system’s metrics within a single app is extremely convenient. The interface is intuitive and allows for a great deal of control and visibility.
Cons: - Could Use More SATA – This won’t be an issue for most people. My PC has 12 mechanical hard drives, 1 SSD, and 1 optical drive. This PSU comes with 12 SATA connectors (3 cables with 4 connectors each) so I came up a little short. I ended up using some 4-pin Molex to SATA adapters I had laying around but it would be nice to not have to do that. I may look into getting some aftermarket cables to pick up the slack. I also have a Rosewill 1200W that comes with 15, so there are some PSU’s out there that come with more. I thought that maybe 12 is just a common limit for 1000W but I checked Corsair’s 1200W model and it is listed as having 12 as well.
- After-Market Modular Cable Availability - This isn't a specific issue to Corsair, but it would be nice if you could just buy a single SATA bundle instead of an entire cable kit. I have no need for another 24pin or 4+4 CPU power. I can't seem to find just a single cable for this unit, Corsair branded or otherwise.
Other Thoughts: For the past 8 years I’ve been using a Zalman ZM1000-HP. It’s been a good PSU but finally started giving me trouble recently. The Zalman PSU is 80+ Bronze certified and I was curious to see how that compared with the other grades in that certification program. I recently reviewed a Rosewill 1200W 80+ Gold PSU (which I sold to a friend right before the Zalman started acting up), so I have a bit of a comparison already. I decided to give Platinum a try and this Corsair model is what I ended up with.
I measure total system power draw via a CyberPower 1500PFCLCD UPS which drives my entire system. The UPS seems to display power output in increments of 9W, so my numbers aren’t incredibly accurate, but should still give a good relative sense of comparative efficiency between these PSU’s. With the Zalman PSU my current PC build would idle @ ~315W, and draw ~531W during load. The Rosewill would idle @ ~297W, and draw ~513W during load. Finally, this Corsair HX1000i idles @ ~279W, and draws ~477W during load.
These results seem significant to me. Going from a Bronze rated PSU to gold results in an 18W improvement in both idle and load performance. Going from Gold to Platinum results in yet another 18W improvement for idle and 36W for load. That results in a 36W idle difference between Bronze and Platinum and 54W for load. I have reason to suspect that these differences would be even greater with systems that draw more power.
In terms of how much you can save on your electric bill it really depends on how often and how hard you run your system. In my area electricity costs $0.0958/KWh, so if I let me system idle 24/7 then this PSU would save me ~$15/yr when compared with my old Bronze PSU. If I let it idle constantly but also game about 3 hours a day then the savings get close to $19/yr. Granted, my usage is much more casual with ~1hr of gaming per day and ~5hr idle usage, which results in ~$5/yr savings. So, not huge… but if you use this PSU for the full 10yr warranty then it will probably end up being LESS expensive than most of the cheap PSU’s out there. Moral of the story: If you’re deciding between a Bronze and Platinum PSU and you plan to use it for years then definitely go Platinum if it’s no more than $50 difference – you’ll probably save more than that in the long run.
Overall I’m very pleased with this PSU. It is probably a higher wattage rating than most people need (probably too high for my system if I’m honest), PSU’s are most efficient at ~50% of their rated capacity, so you should pick a PSU that is rated about double the power your system typically draws. The 750, 850, and 1200 watt models of this series appear to be of equal quality and features. Regardless of what you pick, give this one a chance – it won’t disappoint.
Pros: + Price – For over 1KW, 80 PLUS gold rating, and modular you won’t find many PSU’s as affordable as this model.
+ 5 Year Warranty – From my research I found this to be on the high end of what you can expect from a warranty on PSU’s currently. By comparison Silverstone offers just 1 year, Raidmax just 2 years, and both Enermax and Antec offer 3 years of coverage. Meanwhile both SeaSonic and Thermaltake match Rosewill with their own 5 year warranties. Corsair surpasses all of them with a 10 year warranty, but they are the only brand I could find that goes beyond 5 years. EVGA has a complicated warranty system that you have to go out of your way to figure out, depending on your EVGA model number the warranty could be anywhere from 90 days to 10 years – most seem to be 5 years. Overall this places Rosewill above average with their warranty coverage.
+ Efficient – It’s measurably more efficient than what I’m used to. Measured at the wall my system using my old 1000W PSU would idle @ ~315W and load @ ~531W (this includes my somewhat power hungry system, both displays, and speakers). With this Rosewill PSU the same system idle’s @ ~297W and load @ ~504W. The difference isn’t huge, less than 20W, but assuming my PC runs 10 hours a day it’s a difference of ~5KWh/month, which goes a small way toward reducing energy consumption/bills over time.
+ Dual CPU Support – This shouldn’t be terribly uncommon for a 1200W PSU, but is worth noting for anyone in the market for that specific feature.
+ Nearly Fully Modular – Only the 24pin motherboard power connector isn’t modular, and the only disadvantage to that would be if you wanted to replace the cable with a shorter or longer one.
+ Plethora of SATA Cables (15) – I have massive amount of storage in my rig (I haven’t deleted anything since 2005), namely 4 WD Velociraptor 500GB’s in RAID 10, 4 WD Black 1TB’s in RAID 5, 4 WD Green 2TB’s in RAID 5, 1 Samsung 500GB 850Pro SSD. 1 optical drive on top of all of that still leaves 1 port unused. This should be enough for just about any setup.
Cons: - Not as fancy looking as many – This isn’t a big deal to me, but if you’re building a rig to show off (windows, lights, and the like) then this one might not impress as much as the more expensive models.
Other Thoughts: Back in 2008 I bought a Zalman ZM1000HP which I used up until installing this PSU a few weeks ago. It still works like the day I bought it, even after nearly 24/7 constant use since then, which is a testament to the quality of that particular PSU. My biggest concern with this Rosewill PSU is that it won’t be able to run for 8 years straight and keep kicking like my Zalman PSU. However, that is still an unknown quantity for me. It could very well last that long, or it might die next week. I fully intend to update this review if I ever experience issues. For now I have no issues with this unit and have officially set aside my old Zalman model as my backup PSU.READ FULL REVIEW