Can AMD Radeon RX 490 Beat NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 If It Is Vega-Based?

By Jeff Harris, Posted: 12/02/16 04:11AM EST
Radeon Series Graphics Card
AMD Radeon RX Series Graphics Card(Photo : AMD/YouTube)

Is the Polaris 10-based Radeon RX 490 better than NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 1080? Following the latest revelation that Radeon RX 490 is not a Vega 10-based architecture GPU but rather a Dual Polaris 10 graphics card, many tech analysts are now inclined that GeForce GTX 1080 is still better than AMD's upcoming graphics card that is scheduled for release this December.

Dual Polaris 10 "Radeon RX 490" vs. Pascal-based "GeForce GTX 1080" Comparison

If only Radeon RX 490 was based on the upcoming Vega architecture that comes with the second generation of High Bandwidth Memory (HBM2), then there is no need to debate. Only a graphics card powered by HBM2 should surpass that of GeForce GTX 1080 even after reaching the fullest overclocked state.

Take for instance the specs earlier reported by VideoCardz.com - 8GB HBM2 RAM. GeForce GTX 1080 also has 8GB RAM but uses GDDR5X technology. Talking about higher bandwidth, low in power, this is the output of an 8GB HBM2 RAM: 4096-bit Memory Bus Width, 716.8 GB/s Memory Bandwidth while only using 225W TDP. These numbers are way too far compared to the specifications of GeForce GTX 1080.

Two Different Types of Memory

Though the market sees these two types of memory as rivals, Anandtech.com views it as "two complementary types of memory," therefore should not be compared. The two technologies have different designs and complexities that make the other better when used differently.

On one side, comparing HBM2 and GDDR5X based on performance and power consumption, the former beats the latter, hands down. As Anandtech.com explained HBM2 technology, it is pretty much the better technology in comparison with GDDR5, GDDR5X and HBM1. But to put things in simple perspective, "HBM2 is likely to be more energy efficient than GDDR5 and GDDR5X."

Energy efficiency is one of the two most important factors when choosing a graphics card. GDDR5X is more efficient in managing power consumption compared to GDDR5. HBM2, on the other hand, offers "higher bandwidth, lower power consumption and smaller form-factors, but at the cost of design and manufacturing complexities."

"Radeon RX 490": HBM2 or GDDR5?

The answer to this question is very obvious but it still depends on what AMD has planned for Radeon RX 490 - will it come with HBM2 or GDDR5? As what recent reports suggest, Radeon RX 490 is a Dual Polaris 10 graphics card and Polaris 10 architecture only has GDDR5. But then, who knows?



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