AMD's RX 480 Power Draw Statement Updated, New Drivers Imminent

👤by Tim Harmer Comments 📅06.07.2016 18:20:32

The AMD Radeon RX 480 power draw controversy continues to rumble on, but will hopefully be reaching a conclusion in the very near future. An understandably ad hoc response on Saturday has been built on AMD Gaming today which stresses that, although they don't believe there is a risk to components, multiple measures are being put in place to ameliorate concerns. These measure will be rolled out in an upcoming update to Radeon Software Crimson Edition scheduled for the next 36 hours.

RSCE 16.7.1 will address the problem in two ways:

The first will be a change to power distribution in the Radeon RX 480 to reduce the current drawn from the PCI-E bus. That's important as that in particular was the major worry; auxuilary (6-pin or 8-pin) power connectors tend to be better suited to going out of spec. At one stage some hardware pundits were claiming that that this would be impossible due to hardware limitations, so it will be interesting to observe how well the fix works in practice.

Secondly, AMD are creating an alternative set of power states to reduce overall total power with only a small performance impact, and these can be enable through a 'Compatibility' toggle in the RSCE UI. Performance degradation will be offset by broader performance improvements that are rolled as normal with patch updates.

Assuming that few users have been affected and the fixes are successful, it's good work from AMD to rush a fix this swiftly. Bear in mind that this isn't a simple software or driver level bug but rather a more comprehensive undertaking, and hence critical that it's implemented correctly.

AMD statement, in full:

"We promised an update today (July 5, 2016) following concerns around the Radeon™ RX 480 drawing excess current from the PCIe bus. Although we are confident that the levels of reported power draws by the Radeon RX 480 do not pose a risk of damage to motherboards or other PC components based on expected usage, we are serious about addressing this topic and allaying outstanding concerns. Towards that end, we assembled a worldwide team this past weekend to investigate and develop a driver update to improve the power draw. We’re pleased to report that this driver—Radeon Software 16.7.1—is now undergoing final testing and will be released to the public in the next 48 hours.

In this driver we’ve implemented a change to address power distribution on the Radeon RX 480 – this change will lower current drawn from the PCIe bus.

Separately, we’ve also included an option to reduce total power with minimal performance impact. Users will find this as the “compatibility” UI toggle in the Global Settings menu of Radeon Settings. This toggle is “off” by default.

Finally, we’ve implemented a collection of performance improvements for the Polaris architecture that yield performance uplifts in popular game titles of up to 3%. These optimizations are designed to improve the performance of the Radeon RX 480, and should substantially offset the performance impact for users who choose to activate the “compatibility” toggle.

AMD is committed to delivering high quality and high performance products, and we’ll continue to provide users with more control over their product’s performance and efficiency. We appreciate all the feedback so far, and we’ll continue to bring further performance and performance/W optimizations to the Radeon RX 480."
- AMD Gaming (Source)

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