The RX 480 Performance Paradox: Overclock + Undervolt = Better Performance

If you own an AMD Radeon RX 480 8GB graphics card, your card is more than likely not reaching its full potential at the stock voltage. For example, my VisionTek-branded reference model has a boost clock of 1266MHz @ 1.150V, but many users report being able to achieve even higher core clocks of 1300+ while dropping the voltage down to 1.100V or even lower. Paradoxically, this also improves performance, probably because the undervolted card is able to run longer at higher clocks. So do yourself a favor, open up the built-in WattMan overclocking utility, and invest some time in fine-tuning your card:

RX 480 WattMan settings

I tweaked the top 3 power states, and my card is stable at 1300MHz/1.100V core. I was also able to apply a modest +100MHz overclock to the memory while keeping memory voltage at the stock 1.000V. Don't forget to also max out the Power Limit slider to 50% (I didn't notice any significant change in power consumption, at least according to HWInfo).

On my Core i5-3570S-based system, these modifications were good enough to bump my 3DMark Fire Strike score by almost 20%, from ~8,500 to 10,076 - a score that's comparable to many newer systems equipped with GTX 1060 6GB cards. Not bad for about a half hour of tweaking!


Read more posts by this author.