AMD Radeon RX 580 benchmarks: the Red Team’s 1080p contender

The AMD Radeon RX 580 is one of the best graphics cards for PC gaming, particularly in the mid-range space where it rivals the slightly more expensive GeForce GTX 1060 – which, at the time of writing, is the most popular GPU on the Steam hardware survey by a significant margin.

In theory, the RX 580 should be able to hit 60 frames per second in most games at 1080p, making it a good option for getting console-quality graphics, or better, at double the frame-rate. To see how well theory lives up to reality, we’ll show you gaming benchmark results for nine different games, pitting the RX 580 against its closest competitors: the RX 570 and both the 3GB and 6GB variants of the GTX 1060. We’ll also compare the RX 580 to its antecedents and descendants, including the Fury X, Vega 56 and Vega 64, at the end of the article.

Before we delve into the benchmarks, it’s worth noting that so-called ‘reference models’ aren’t available for the RX 570 or RX 580, so there’s no standard model to benchmark. Therefore, we’ve chosen two relatively high-end models to test: the Asus Strix RX 570 and Sapphire Nitro RX 580. These are among the fastest models available for each card (the Nitro, especially), so you may notice better results, in the region of around five to seven percent, than on models that cost less and come with lower clock speeds.

For each benchmark, you’ll see a YouTube video within a bespoke benchmark system unless you’re viewing this page on mobile. Start the video by pressing the play button, and you’ll see how each card handles the scene in real time. You can use the controls on the right to add or remove graphics cards from the comparison, as well as see how different cards perform at different resolutions.

Below the live graph, you can see the average results from the entire run, including the average frame-rate and the often useful worst one per cent and worst five per cent figures. You can click on the barchart to toggle between absolute and relative (percentage-based) frame-rate values.

You can learn more in our guide to the new Digital Foundry benchmarking system.

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s get right into the results!

We begin with Assassin’s Creed Unity, released in 2014 but still a favourite of ours as it is a punishing GPU workout. The benchmark takes us over the rooftops of Revolution-era Paris, with intensely detailed environments, a wealth of NPCs and even a stress-inducing depth of field implementation. The RX 580 looks strong throughout the test, taking the top spot with more than 60 frames per second at 1080p. That’s about 15 per cent faster than the RX 570 and seven per cent faster than the GTX 1060 3GB. The 1440p results are also strong, at 40 frames per second, just 1fps ahead of the GTX 1060 6GB. However, the lowest frame-rates suffer on AMD, with the depth of field effect causing issues for Radeon hardware.

Ashes of the Singularity offers a good test of how well a given graphics card can handle more lasers than a mid-naughties silent disco. The RX 580 and RX 570 tend to do better with DirectX 12 tests like this one, and both cards are able to equal or better the GTX 1060 6GB at both of the tested resolutions. The RX 580 is about nine per cent faster than the GTX 1060 6GB in both tests, and more than 15 per cent faster than the 3GB card.

Battlefield 1, set in 1916 and released a hundred years later, is a challenging test which tends to punish Nvidia cards a little bit harder than their AMD counterparts when running under DX12. The RX 580 achieves a comfortable 72 frames per second in this test even at 1440p, about nine per cent faster than the GTX 1060 6GB. It’s a similar story at 1080p. It’s worth noting that the frame-time spikes can be somewhat disregarded, as they’re due to randomly-occurring close-range explosions.

Crysis 3 is this benchmark suite’s oldest title, being released in 2013. The game remains a surprisingly tough one even for modern graphics cards, and the RX 580 doesn’t possess such a commanding lead here. In fact, the RX 580 is neck-and-neck with the GTX 1060 6GB at 1080p, sitting just one frame per second ahead, and the gap gets even smaller at 1440p. However, the RX 580 does show a more stable frame-rate than the Nvidia cards throughout, as it lacks the dips noticeable in the latter half of the test.

The Division from Ubisoft Massive is tested here under DirectX 12. This graphics API tends to favour cards from Team Red, and indeed we can see that the snowy, post-apocalyptic streets of New York City are rendered more comfortably on the RX 580 than its competitors at both 1080p and 1440p by about 10 per cent – a not unsubstantial margin.

Far Cry Primal is a prehistoric offshoot in the series, released in between the main series releases of Far Cry 4 and Far Cry 5. Nvidia cards tend to do better in this DirectX 11 title compared to AMD, and indeed the GTX 1060 6GB eclipses the RX 580 at 1080p by a few frames per second. However, when it comes time for the 1440p test, the RX 580 does much better, carving out a four per cent lead over the GTX 1060 6GB.

Ghost Recon Wildlands is the most demanding title in our current test suite, as well as being the most recent game we feature with a release date of March 2017. Even the powerful RX 580 is only able to hit 40 frames per second at 1080p, and to be honest, it is best run at a mixture of high and very high settings on this class of GPU. However, the 580’s 8GB of VRAM ensures that you can comfortably accommodate top-tier textures.

The Rise of the Tomb Raider benchmark – tested here under DX12 – transitions between three different scenes featuring Lara in her winter gear, a watery tomb and an alpine forest. It’s important to note we’re using the very high preset with high textures to prevent cards with small amounts of RAM from stuttering. The RX 580 delivers a 15 per cent jump over the RX 570 at 1080p, but only three per cent over the GTX 1060 6GB. However, that same gap widens to about seven per cent at 1440p.

We’ll conclude with one of the most popular games from its era, The Witcher 3 from 2015. The RX 580 is able to outpace its GTX 1060 6GB competition by about three frames per second on both the 1080p and 1440p test. Another three frames per second back gets you to the GTX 1060 3GB, and a final three gets you to the level of the RX 570; quite an even spacing for the 1080p results.

Finally, we’ll look at how the RX 570 and RX 580 compare to their (admittedly more expensive) AMD stablemates in the Assassin’s Creed Unity benchmark. We’ll compare the RX cards against the older R9 Fury X and AMD’s latest flagship cards, the Vega 56 and Vega 64. The RX 580 sits midway between the RX 570 and the R9 Fury X, with the popular Vega 56 turning in a 23 per cent higher result at 1080p and 24 per cent at 1440p.

That brings our benchmark review of the AMD Radeon RX 580 to a close! If you like, check out our full review of the RX 570 and RX 580 to learn more.

Now that you’ve seen the benchmarks for one card, why not check out see which GPUs we recommend? Click through to see Digital Foundry’s updated selections for the best graphics cards and for the best gaming monitors of 2018.

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