Update July 8, 2016: AMD have now released Radeon Software Crimson Edition 16.7.1 hotfix for the AMD RX 480's power problems. That should stop it getting too over-excited on the power front...
Want to see how the RX 480 actually performs? Check out our review of the first AMD Polaris GPU.
The update, which AMD have had their engineers working on over the weekend and have been testing extensively all week, has been designed to fix the power distribution of the first Polaris card. AMD claim the fix lowers the current drawn from the PCIe bus, which should now bring the Radeon RX 480 back down to the specified levels for the PCIe standard.
They've also introduced the promised 'compatibility mode' which reduces the overall power draw of the card while offsetting the performance impact that will have.
The full driver patch notes are available from AMD, where you can also download the software fix too.
Original Story July 6, 2016: The Radeon RX 480 has had a rocky launch, with some nasty power issues spiking AMD’s bold efficiency claims, but they’ve been working around the clock and the fix is almost in.
It should have been a super-exciting time for AMD, launching their brand new Polaris architecture with an unchallenged ~$200 mid-range graphics card. But some in-depth oscilloscoping around the power draw of the RX 480 has highlighted the card’s penchant for supping a little too much juice from your motherboard.
It’s not the sort of issue that’s immediately going to set your rig alight on a warm afternoon, but it has the potential to weaken the actual connections between card and PCIe slot over time, especially with overclocked versions of the card.
AMD though have assembled a crack team of engineers over the weekend and have been busy developing a driver which not only addresses the over-excitable power draw of the RX 480, but also offsets any performance degradation the easing of energy requirements might introduce.
They’ve also drafted in Nick Nolte and Eddie Murphy to ensure the driver is released to the public within the next 48 Hours. And if they don’t Raja Koduri has demanded Nolte’s badge and gun and threatened to nix Murphy’s parole.
AMD released their official update around the power issues late on Tuesday.
“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.”
The hotfix team has also introduced a new option to the Radeon Settings software to drop the overall power draw of the card.
“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.”
Kudos to AMD for moving so swiftly on this RX 480 issue to ease any public concern around their new card, but it’s still too soon to tell if it’s going to be enough to help stave off the green team’s mid-range onslaught with the rumoured release of the GTX 1060 not so far away now.