While AMD’s Polaris family of GPUs have surprised us in a few different ways, perhaps the most impressive aspect has been their sheer longevity. First introduced in 2016 as a 14nm update to AMD’s GPU lineup, the GCN 3-derrived chips were the backbone of AMD’s mainstream video cards for over three years. And while it seemed like they’d finally be put out to retirement with the launch of AMD’s 7nm Navi chips late last year, Polaris is getting (another) new lease on life, this time in a video card that’s being released exclusively in China.

Dubbed the Radeon RX 590 GME, the new card isn’t receiving any formal fanfare for its release. But AMD has added it to their product stack and updated their Chinese-language pages accordingly.

So what is Radeon RX 590 GME exactly? Unfortunately, as has become a recurring theme with China-only video cards, AMD and its partners are playing fast and loose with product names. Despite the name, the RX 590 GME is notably slower than a proper RX 590 – about 10% slower, on paper – making it an RX 590-lite at best, or more pragmatically, a mildly overclocked RX 580.

AMD Radeon RX Series Specification Comparison
  AMD Radeon RX 590 GME AMD Radeon RX 590 AMD Radeon RX 580 AMD Radeon RX 5500 XT
CUs 36
(2304 SPs)
(2304 SPs)
(2304 SPs)
(1408 SPs)
Texture Units 144 144 144 88
ROPs 32 32 32 32
Base Clock 1257MHz 1469MHz 1257MHz 1607MHz
Game Clock N/A N/A N/A 1717MHz
Boost Clock 1380MHz 1545MHz 1340MHz 1845MHz
Throughput (FP32) 6.4 TFLOPs 7.1 TFLOPs 6.2 TFLOPs 5.2 TFLOPs
Memory Clock 8 Gbps GDDR5 8 Gbps GDDR5 8 Gbps GDDR5 14 Gbps GDDR6
Memory Bus Width 256-bit 256-bit 256-bit 128-bit
Transistor Count 5.7B 5.7B 5.7B 6.4B
Typical Board Power N/A 225W 185W 130W
Manufacturing Process GloFo 14nm? GloFo/Samsung 12nm GloFo 14nm TSMC 7nm
Architecture GCN 4 GCN 4 GCN 4 RDNA (1)
GPU Polaris 20? Polaris 30 Polaris 20 Navi 14
Launch Date 03/09/2020 11/15/2018 04/18/2017 12/12/2019
Launch Price N/A $279 $229 $199/$169

In fact, while AMD hasn’t confirmed which specific Polaris GPU the card is using, the specifications are closer to an RX 580 (Polaris 20) than they are an RX 590 (Polaris 30). The RX 590 GME ships with the RX 580’s 1257MHz base clock, but offers a 40MHz higher boost clock, topping out at 1380MHz. The card’s (listed) specifications are otherwise identical to the 590/580, including a full 36 CU configuration and 8GB of GDDR5 VRAM on a 256-bit bus that’s clocked at 8Gbps.

Otherwise, unverified third-party reports have claimed that the card is indeed using Polaris 20, and these specifications would be consistent with that.

On paper, this puts the peak performance of the card at just less than 3% ahead of the RX 580, which is similar to what AMD’s partners have previously been doing with their own factory overclocked cards. So the performance of the RX 590 GME is by and large a known quantity at this point, with the card set to offer just a bit more performance than AMD's well-tenured RX 580.

The big question, of course, is why AMD is releasing another Polaris 10/20/30 card almost 4 years after the GPU was first launched. With previous China-only cards this has been to fill specific market needs or to sell off excess stock, and both may be a factor here. Within AMD’s product stack, RX 580-class cards in particularly are wholly redundant; the newer 8GB RX 5500 XT delivers 8% better performance than those cards, which means the new RX 590 GME is going to be slower than AMD’s slowest 8GB Navi cards.

What the RX 590 GME offers that the RX 5500 XT doesn’t however is ease of availability. AMD continues to be somewhat capacity constrained on TSMC’s 7nm process – they have a lot of CPU demand to fill, never mind GPUs – whereas if AMD needed to fab more chips, GlobalFoundries’ 14nm lines are readily available. Furthermore, the RX 590 GME enjoys a lower bill of materials cost as far as memory is concerned: whereas the RX 5500 XT uses newer (and still more expensive) GDDR6, the Polaris-based 590 uses more readily available GDDR5.

Ultimately, while China is still a growing market for technology – both in terms of total scale and in how much consumers have to spend on individual products – it’s still primarily a market dominated by mainstream parts. So if AMD is looking to scrape together a cheaper offering to compete on a purely price/performance basis – and especially if they still have leftover chips lying around – then they could do worse than another Polaris 20 card. That said, they could definitely do better as far as the product name goes.

Source: AMD (via SH SOTN)

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  • haukionkannel - Thursday, March 12, 2020 - link

    If the price Is right, then this can be Great budget gpu! 8 Gb of ram, desent 1080p speed. Why not...
  • silverblue - Friday, March 13, 2020 - link

    I'm not sure why these weren't fabbed on GloFo 12nm/Samsung 11nm as with the RX 590. The 590 was a surprising product given that, at the same clock speeds as the 580, it would've used less power and as such been compared more favourably to the 1060, but AMD opted to take those power savings and translate them into clock speed increases. This new 590 should have been a die-shrunken 580 to at least differentiate itself from the rest of the stack, but instead it's just yet another lower tier product masquerading as something else (RX 580 2048SP = RX 570 8GB with an extra 40MHz on the boost clock, RX 590 GME = RX 580... with an extra 40MHz on the boost clock). The RX 590 has a place in AMD's stack, this doesn't really.
  • leowun - Thursday, March 26, 2020 - link

    The Radeon graphics cards for gaming have become something more than just mid-tier products during recent years and today they compete with GeForce video adapters on the same level. By providing basically the same features in their products but at a considerably lower price, the Radeon devices (both GPUs and a new generation of Ryzen CPUs) are definitely a solid choice for budget gaming.
  • leowun - Thursday, March 26, 2020 - link

    Size aspects aside, contrary to the contender GeForce models, the Radeon RX580 gaming graphics processor features not only one but two HDMI outputs, making it great for connecting multiple TV-sized screens. Moreover, it has two DisplayPort connectors and a single DVI port allowing you to hook up up to three monitors to your gaming system simultaneously. The hardware connectivity is provided by PCI Express 3.0 with 8 pins, which should fit the majority of modern and older motherboard units.

    Designed for budget gaming, this model actually does have a couple of high-end features that make it stand out among other Radeon products. The Dual-X cooling system, for example, makes this particular GPU highly resistant to abrupt changes in temperature by combining two fans into one integrated cooler device.

    Wrapping things up, the Sapphire Radeon gaming cards are known for their exceptionally high performance, and the Pulse RX 580 is not an exception to the rule. This modest yet highly powerful model is, perhaps, one of the best graphics cards for gaming in the budget price range today, which makes it harder to find a better deal for the same price. (info from: https://www.bestadvisor.com/gaming-graphics-cards)
  • leowun - Thursday, March 26, 2020 - link


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