Video Cards: GTX1060 vs RX480

Back to video cards…

The RX480 is selling at US$230 to $300 and is NOT available, sold out. See: NowInStock – 480. The RX470 not so much: NowInStock – RX470. The RX470 is selling at $60± less than the RX480 but isn’t as popular and many think it over priced for the performance in light of the 480. Plus there is a RX460 coming, for which I haven’t seen prices, performance, or a release date.

So, we are talking saving $50 to $100 by choosing an RX4xx over a GTX1060. Is that a good idea? In general terms the 1060 provides slightly less performance than the 480. But, there are some games that perform better on a 1060. In general newer games designed for DirectX12 and most Vulkan games run better on a 480.

The 1060 provides a significant edge over the 470 and even more over the 460 for OpenGL games, like SL. The edge is fuzzy ranging over 10% to 30% depending on the game. I’ve seen no hard numbers for SL run on RX4xx cards. So, I have to go with the OpenGL benchmarks.

At the 9 minute time mark they get to the testing results for OpenGL 4.5.  My GTX560 is up to date and is running OpenGL Version: 4.5.0 NVIDIA 368.69. In OpenGL land the 1060 is outperforming the 480 and that means the 470 and 460 by even larger margins. The 1060 runs an average fps of 101.3 and the 480 at 87.0 fps giving an edge of 14.2%. At 50 fps the 1060 would presumably provide 7 fps more.  The 470 at 75.7 fps is providing only 75% of the performance of the 1060 or 37 fps against 50 fps.

Once the games move from OpenGL to Vulkan things turn around to the 480 being a faster card. The 480 delivering 118.5 fps to the 1060’s 98.3 fps or 20% less than the 480. Even the 470 delivers a tiny bit more performance but, it’s less than 1%, which is stopwatch stuff and generally not a perceptible difference in play.

You’ll hear in the video that there are points where the 480 and 470 are performing so poorly the games are unplayable. This happens when the video output is pushed from 1080 (1920×1080) to 1440 (2560×1440) screen rez. The 10 series NVIDIA cards are advertised to support 4k screens. I suggest putting some salt on that and waiting for some benchmarks.

Future screen resolutions are moving toward the popular QHD/WQHD (2560×1440) and the coming 4K (4096×2160 – in use but sort of rare), 5K/UHD+ (5120×2880), and 8K UHD (7680×4320) screens.

VR

The another consideration is NVIDIA’s new support for VR in the 10 series cards. I don’t see much talk about ATI and VR. NVIDIA seems to have that tied up. In Stream’s VR benchmarks the RX480 (470 data not available) scores 6.8 and the GTX1080 and 70 (1060 data not available) score 11.

They do give the best performance per dollar to the RX480. We’ll have to wait to see how they rate the 1060-480/470.

If you plan to use VR then I think the 1060 is a better choice. If you are just going to play with it to see what it is, either card is going to work.

Summary

So, which is best for SL? If you play other games, the RX480, 470 is probably a better choice. If you primarily play SL, then the 1060 is the better choice. Provided you think SL changing to Vulkan is unlikely any time soon, which I do.

Also, the RX480 is slightly cheaper if you shop carefully. But, price verses availability… The 1060 is more commonly in stock now. (NowInStock – 1060) That should change over the next couple of weeks with the 480 and 470 becoming more commonly in stock as production catches demand.

But, there is that ever continuing ATI weak support for OpenGL. My opinion is with each update the OpenGL problems don’t get fixed until ATI has complaints. We keep telling ATI users to roll back to previous versions of the drivers.

2 thoughts on “Video Cards: GTX1060 vs RX480

  1. This might be a point to look at if you are deciding between an AMD and Nvidia card for use with SecondLife: http://jira.phoenixviewer.com/browse/FIRE-16829
    I heard the issue got fixed in the newest release of the open source driver for Linux, but it’s still in all current closed source drivers.

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