AMD details RX 480 power draw tweak plans

July 6, 2016 // 2:25 p.m.

Tags: #amd #graphics-card #pcie #pcie-bus #pci-express #power-draw #powergate #radeon #rx-480 #specification

AMD has confirmed that it is working on a driver which will reduce the current drawn from the PCI Express bus by its Radeon RX 480 graphics cards, amid reports that its out-of-spec power draw can damage motherboards.

Many early adopters of AMD's latest Radeon RX 480 graphics card spotted out-of-spec power usage over the PCI Express bus, though few can agree on how serious the issue actually is. While there have been limited reports of hardware damage which could be linked to the RX 480, AMD itself has denied there is a substantial risk - but promised it would work on fixing the issue in a software patch nevertheless.

'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,' AMD claimed in an updated statement published late last night. '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 PCI-E bus. Separately, we’ve also included an option to reduce total power with minimal performance impact. Users will find this as the “compatibility” UI toggle in the Global Settings menu of Radeon Settings. This toggle is “off” by default.
'

The updated driver will also include performance tweaks which can boost frame rates in unnamed 'popular games' by up to three percent - enough, AMD has claimed, to 'substantially offset the performance impact' for anyone choosing to enable the lower-power 'compatibility' mode introduced in the updated drivers.
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