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PowerColor Red Devil Radeon RX 590.

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On paper, the Radeon RX 590 looks pretty boring. It’s not Vega or Navi, and it’s still based on the same two-year-old Polaris architecture as the Radeon RX 580.

Plus, now that the US$349 NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 has been released, the Radeon RX 590 is up against much stiffer competition.

AMD has set the retail price at US$279, which is pretty attractive, and the card is generally quite capable of running any game at 1080p. It’s also between 10 and 20 per cent quicker than the GeForce GTX 1060 6GB, depending on the game, which is a modest performance step up.

AMD’s latest Polaris graphics card uses GlobalFoundries’ 12nm process node, so that’s one thing that’s changed coming from the Radeon RX 580 and its 14nm process. Nearly everything else remains unchanged though, including the 2,304 Graphics Core Next (GCN) stream processors, 144 texture units, 32 ROPs, and 8GB of GDDR5 memory. It also has a 256-bit memory bus width, which gives it a total memory bandwidth of 256GB/s.

The most significant difference is probably the nice increase in clock speeds. PowerColor’s Red Devil card can boost up to 1,576MHz, compared to 1,380MHz on the equivalent Radeon RX 580 model. That’s a 196MHz increase, which propels the card past the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 6GB.

PowerColor’s card is pretty fat, measuring 57mm thick, which means you’ll need a three-slot allowance to install it. In addition, it’s powered by one 6-pin and one 8-pin power connector. A lot of its girth is due to the larger cooler, which comprises five heat pipes and a thick fin stack to provide more surface area for heat dissipation. The two ballbearing fans also support semi-passive operation, so they’ll stop spinning entirely once temperatures fall below 50°C.

Finally, the card has a rated TDP of 225W, which still gives NVIDIA a healthy lead in terms of power efficiency.

Having said all that, it’s not immediately clear why anyone would pick the Radeon RX 590 over the GeForce RTX 2060.

The GeForce RTX 2060 is significantly faster, consumes less power, and isn’t actually that much more expensive. The US$70 price premium it asks for doesn’t seem too steep for a card that features the latest ray-tracing tech and can run nearly any game at 1080p and max settings.

If we’re talking strictly about gaming, there are just better alternatives out there. And honestly, a new card that’s based on an aging twoyear-old architecture doesn’t do a lot to get you excited about it.
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The card has one DVI-D, three DisplayPort, and one HDMI output.
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