Asus ROG Strix Radeon RX 580 TOP Edition 8GB review
The Asus ROG Strix Radeon RX 580 TOP Edition 8GB takes the latest graphic card design from AMD and makes it into cooler, better looking and above all, faster.
Asus ROG Strix Radeon RX 580: Price
Although we’re reviewing Asus’ Strix model here, there are lots of RX 580 cards to choose between. Prices will vary a lot depending on the exact model you choose, but expect to pay around ?240-?310 for an 8GB card. This is the same price as the Radeon RX 480 was at launch and is in the same ballpark as a GeForce GTX 1060 which is the RX 580’s main competitor.
What is the Radeon RX 580?
Based on the fastest of AMD’s new RX 500-series GPUs, the Radeon RX 580 is now the go-to graphics card for AMD fans who demand the highest possible performance, but can’t necessarily stretch to the expense of a high-end RX Fury. The Radeon RX 580 has 36 compute units, 2,304 stream processors and 144 texture units.
If that looks a little familiar, it’s because it’s exactly the same spec as the previous generation RX 480. The key point here is that, despite the change in leading digit form a ‘4’ to a ‘5’, both the RX 480 and the RX 580 are based on the same fourth generation Graphics Core Next (GCN) architecture and are therefore essentially versions of the same product. The RX 580 then is simply a fitter, more efficient version of the existing RX 480.
While this will be a little disappointing for those itching to upgrade, all is not lost, because the the improved efficiency of the RX 580 allows it to run at higher clock speeds. So, it’s noticeably faster than its predecessor, clocking in at a base frequency of 1,257 MHz and topping out at 1,340 MHz in boost mode where the RX 480 managed 1,120 MHz and 1,266 MHz respectively. However, the card we’re reviewing here is no ordinary RX 580.
The Asus Strix TOP Edition model comes clocked even faster, with a maximum core speed of 1,431 MHz.
Asus ROG Strix Radeon RX 580: Features and design
The Asus Strix RX 580 is a really big card, not just in length, which remains at 298mm, the same as the Strix RX 480, but also in width. Where its predecessor required 2 slots to accommodate its width, the new card needs 2.5 slots.
This means it won’t fit into all PC cases and there may be situations where it’s not a simple drop-in replacement for a the RX 480 version either.
The reason for the card’s large size lies in its pair of hefty new heatpipe coolers, topped by a trio of variable-speed cooling fans. The board also comes with a protective backplate which runs the full length of the card. A single 8-pin connector powers the board, and a total of five video output sockets is provided, including DVI, 2x DisplayPort and 2x HDMI 2.0.
At the opposite end of the board is a pair of fan headers for direct connection to external fans, typically mounted in your system case. Asus calls this feature, ‘Asus FanConnect II’.
Fans of lighting effects will love the AURA RGB lighting support which can work in conjunction with other Asus-branded products, such as motherboards, to produce coordinated lighting effects which can be choreographed across the whole system.
Asus also throws in the control software to make it all happen. The result is a very impressive looking card, with quite imposing looks which will suit many gaming PC builds – just as long as it fits. The build quality is excellent as we have come to expect from Asus Strix products and goes some way to justifying the rather high asking price for the board.
Asus ROG Strix Radeon RX 580: Performance
This card is factory overclocked to deliver superior performance and our benchmarks show it does just that.
Easily outpacing the RX 480 and in some cases leapfrogging Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1060, although the latter has recently been made available in an upgraded version with faster memory which will be reviewed soon. The supplied Asus GPU Tweak II software gives you the opportunity to push the card further – all the way to breaking point, but we tested the card using the fastest of three preset performance modes, known as ‘OC Mode’. This is faster than the ‘Gaming Mode’ selected by default, but we feel most owners of this card are going to want to get as much performance as they can – after all, they’re paying extra for that massive cooling system, so why not use it?
Our results show excellent performance at 1080p where you’ll usually be able to select Ultra quality settings while maintaining a decent frame rate. You’ll often be able to do the same at 1440p, although this will vary from game to game. Tough titles such as Deus Ex Mankind Divided will need a more powerful card, or perhaps a second Radeon RX 580, to achieve this kind of quality level, however.
In the DX12 tests for Mankind Divided, we saw a minimum frame rate of 27.6fps at the 2K Ultra setting, and 34.3fps on average. At 4K High, these dropped to 18fps and 22fps respectively. At 1080p Ultra, the RX 580 managed 39.7fps minimum and 50.9fps on average, so that is probably the sensible quality limit for this particular card in Mankind Divided.
Should you buy a Radeon RX 580?
Whether or not you should buy a Radeon RX 580 depends on what graphics card you have already.
If you’re starting from scratch, then the RX 580 offers great performance for the money and is good for gaming at 1080p and 1440p resolutions. This overclocked model also comes in ahead of a standard Nvidia GTX 1060 in most tests, although an overclocked model such as the Asus Strix GTX 1060 is a much tougher opponent costing around the same as our Radeon review card. If you’re firmly in the AMD camp, perhaps due to your choice of gaming monitor, then the RX 580 is certainly fast enough to stop you lusting after a GeForce 1060.
However, If you already own a Radeon RX 480 there’s little point in upgrading as the technology is essentially the same. Sure, it’s measurably faster, but not so much that it would warrant upgrading to the new card. When it comes down to exactly which model of RX 580 to buy, things get a little more complicated.
For example, Asus offers six different RX 580s in 4GB and 8GB configurations with varying features and clock speeds. The model reviewed here is the top of the range model running at the highest speeds, which makes it really rather expensive. However, you can save around ?30 by buying one of the lesser Asus Strix models which will give you the same features and the same build quality, just with a slower guaranteed factory overclock.
You can then overclock the card manually and see how far you can get on your own. You can save even more by opting for one of the Dual series cards which come with a smaller cooler and twin, instead of triple, fans. These offer less headroom for overclocking as well as omitting many cosmetic features of the Strix models.
Spend some time comparing prices while paying very careful attention to exact model names as their identical physical appearance and packaging can easily lead to confusion, leading you to think you’re getting a bargain when you’re actually looking at a slower version of the card.
Ultimately the Asus ROG Strix Radeon RX 580 TOP Edition 8GB isn’t about delivering the best frame rates at the lowest price.
It’s about delivering the ultimate performance, superior build quality and enhanced features, all of which it does quite admirably.