AMD RX 480 & Nvidia GTX 1060 Tested In Vulkan & DirectX 12 [Updated]

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Aug 6, 2016
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Benchmarking DX12 and Vulkan is a bit of a different beast. Working with DX9, 10, and 11 in the past has been a fairly painless ordeal requiring nothing more than a licensed copy of FRAPs and the FRAPs analyzing tool to provide us with frametimes as well as Average, 99th and 99.9th percentile lows. This allows for showing a more granular and accurate representation of how a game performs with a particular graphics card. Yes, there are more advanced methods such as FCAT, but for me that’s a bit out of reach due to the expense of the hardware required for capturing and analyzing the render outputs. So in walks DX12 and Vulkan….and this changes everything. Not having FCAT at my disposal I’ve resorted to learning the ins and outs of PresentMon. This has been no easy task for me but luckily I had a few hands from other reviewers learning how to best implement this. I want to take a moment and thank AdoredTV, Son of a Tech, and Donny from Custom PC Review. Thanks to these fellows I am now able to bring you all DX12 and Vulkan results going forward.

 

Cards

 

The two cards going head to head today are the XFX RX 480 8GB OC (flashed from 4GB) vs the NVIVIA GTX 1060 Founders Edition in our battery of DX12/Vulkan titles to see where things stand today with these next generation APIs.

 

XFX Radeon RX 480 8GB OC

 

The RX 480 is AMD Radeon’s latest generation Polaris based 14nm graphics card. The RX 480 features 2304 Stream Processors cranking up to 1266MHz, or 1288MHz in our case with the XFX OC model. It comes in one of two flavors of VRAM configurations with either 4GB GDDR5 clocked at 7Gbs or 8GB GDDR5 pumped to 8Gbs. This is all on a 256bit memory bus and sports a 150w TDP. We’re using the reference design card for these tests.

AMD RX 400 Series Specifications

Graphics Card Name AMD Radeon RX 480 AMD Radeon RX 470 AMD Radeon RX 460
Graphics Core Polaris 10 XT Polaris 10 Pro Polaris 11
Process Node 14nm FinFET 14nm FinFET 14nm FinFET
Boost Clock 1266Mhz 1206Mhz 1200Mhz
Peak Compute 5.83 TFLOPs 4.9 TFLOPs 2.2 TFLOPs
Memory 4/8 GB GDDR5 4/8 GB GDDR5 2/4 GB GDDR5
Memory Interface 256-bit 256-bit 128-bit
Memory Speed 8 GHz 6.6 GHz 7 GHz
Memory Bandwidth 256 GB/s 211 GB/s 112 GB/s
Power 150W 120W 75W
MSRP $199 (4 GB)
$239 (8 GB)
$179 (4 GB)
$109 (2 GB)

 

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 Founders Edition

 

The GTX 1060 is NVIDIA’s smallest missile in their 16nm Pascal assault. The GTX 1060 features 1280 CUDA cores screaming along at a rated boost clock of 1708MHz, we found ours runs easily past that settling around 1860MHz consistently. Only one memory configuration comes out of the GTX 1060 with 6GB of GDDR5 at 8Gbs on a 192bit bus. I know, there’s that one 3GB model from Zotac floating around, I’m not counting that. All of this wrapped up nicely in a 120w TDP configuration. For these tests we are using our Founders Edition of the GTX 1060.

NVIDIA GeForce 10 Pascal Family:

Graphics Card Name NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 2 GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 3 GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 3 GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 5 GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 6 GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Ti NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 NVIDIA Titan X NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti NVIDIA Titan Xp
Graphics Core GP107 GP107 GP107 GP106 / GP104 GP106 GP106 / GP104 GP104 GP104 GP104 GP102 GP102 GP102
Process Node 14nm FinFET 14nm FinFET 14nm FinFET 16nm FinFET 16nm FinFET 16nm FinFET 16nm FinFET 16nm FinFET 16nm FinFET 16nm FinFET 16nm FinFET 16nm FinFET
Die Size 132mm2 132mm2 132mm2 200mm2 200mm2 200mm2 314mm2 314mm2 314mm2 471mm2 471mm2 471mm2
Transistors 3.3 Billion 3.3 Billion 3.3 Billion 4.4 Billion 4.4 Billion 4.4 Billion 7.2 Billion 7.2 Billion 7.2 Billion 12 Billion 12 Billion 12 Billion
CUDA Cores 640 CUDA Cores 768 CUDA Cores 768 CUDA Cores 1152 CUDA Cores 1280 CUDA Cores 1280 CUDA Cores 1920 CUDA Cores 2432 CUDA Cores 2560 CUDA Cores 3584 CUDA Cores 3584 CUDA Cores 3840 CUDA Cores
Base Clock 1354 MHz 1392 MHz 1290 MHz 1506 MHz 1506 MHz 1506 MHz 1506 MHz 1607 MHz 1607 MHz 1417 MHz 1480 MHz 1480 MHz
Boost Clock 1455 MHz 1518 MHz 1392 MHz 1708 MHz 1708 MHz 1708 MHz 1683 MHz 1683 MHz 1733 MHz 1530 MHz 1583 MHz 1582
FP32 Compute 1.8 TFLOPs 2,3 TFLOPs 2.1 TFLOPs 4.0 TFLOPs 4.4 TFLOPs 4.4 TFLOPs 6.5 TFLOPs 8.1 TFLOPs 9.0 TFLOPs 11 TFLOPs 11.5 TFLOPs 12.5 TFLOPs
VRAM 2 GB GDDR5 3 GB GDDR5 4 GB GDDR5 3 GB GDDR5 6 GB GDDR5 6 GB GDDR5 8 GB GDDR5 8 GB GDDR5 8 GB GDDR5X 12 GB GDDR5X 11 GB GDDR5X 12 GB GDDR5X
Memory Speed 7 Gbps 7 Gbps 7 Gbps 8 Gbps 8 Gbps 9 Gbps 8 Gbps 8 Gbps 11 Gbps 10 Gbps 11 Gbps 11.4 Gbps
Memory Bandwidth 112 GB/s 84 GB/s 112 GB/s 192 GB/s 160 GB/s 224 GB/s 256 GB/s 256 GB/s 352 GB/s 480 GB/s 484 GB/s 547 GB/s
Bus Interface 128-bit bus 96-bit bus 128-bit bus 192-bit bus 160-bit bus 192-bit bus 256-bit bus 256-bit bus 256-bit bus 384-bit bus 352-bit bus 384-bit bus
Power Connector None None None Single 6-Pin Power Single 6-Pin Power Single 6-Pin Power Single 8-Pin Power Single 8-Pin Power Single 8-Pin Power 8+6 Pin Power 8+6 Pin Power 8+6 Pin Power
TDP 75W 75W 75W 120W 120W 120W 150W 180W 180W 250W 250W 250W
Display Outputs 1x Display Port 1.4
1x HDMI 2.0b
1x DVI
1x Display Port 1.4
1x HDMI 2.0b
1x DVI
1x Display Port 1.4
1x HDMI 2.0b
1x DVI
3x Display Port 1.4
1x HDMI 2.0b
1x DVI
3x Display Port 1.4
1x HDMI 2.0b
1x DVI
3x Display Port 1.4
1x HDMI 2.0b
1x DVI
3x Display Port 1.4
1x HDMI 2.0b
1x DVI
3x Display Port 1.4
1x HDMI 2.0b
1x DVI
3x Display Port 1.4
1x HDMI 2.0b
1x DVI
3x Display Port 1.4
1x HDMI 2.0b
1x DVI
3x Display Port 1.4
1x HDMI 2.0b
3x Display Port 1.4
1x HDMI 2.0b
Launch Date October 2016 May 2018 October 2016 September 2016 TBD 13th July 2016 10th June 2016 26th October 2017 27th May 2016 2nd August 2016 10th March 2017 6th April 2017
Launch Price $109 US $119 US-$129 US $139 US $199 US TBD $249 US $349 US $449 US $499 US $1200 US $699 US $1200 US

 

Test System

With the cards briefly out of the way, let us jump into the test rig we’re using. No we’re not using our 6 core i7 test rig this go around as this entire article is being written from the comfort of a beach front hotel room and I couldn’t take all that with me. Instead this is all being done in my personal gaming rig. One thing about my personal rig I’m using is that I feel it is a fairly typical setup for these graphics cards, albeit the form factor is a bit non typical.

Intel Core i5 6600k Test System

CPU Intel i5 6600k (4Ghz)
Case/PSU EVGA Hadron and 500w PSU
GPU XFX RX 480 8GB OC, NVIDIA GTX 1060 FE
HDD 2TB Seagate SSHD
Memory 16GB (2x8) G.Skill Trident Z 3200Mhz
Motherboard EVGA Z170 Stinger
SSD Crucial MX100 512GB

 

 

Testing Methodology

To touch on the testing method throughout this write up I am working with PresentMon to draw accurate results from the frames being displayed to draw the Frame times and from there we were able to get the frame rates. Each title in this includes several bits of information. Starting off with the game we’ve recorded the instance that is being used for the benchmarks in the exact way that we took the measurements so that you know exactly where and how we tested. Next we’ve included all of the settings for each game so that you can replicate this for yourselves if you so wish. Next, and this is something I want to improve on in the future, is the Average FPS. I haven’t learning the proper formula for extrapolating the 99th and 99.9th percentile results yet. Because of that little road bump I’ve taken the entirety of the frame rates from each run and plotted them on a graph that depicts FPS over time. Hopefully this will shed a little more light on the results instead of simply a number, but also allow for you to visually compare one card to the next.  All tests were run at 1080p.

Drivers Used
Geforce 368.81
Crimson 16.7.3

 

Ashes of the Singularity

Ashes of the Singularity has possibly been the longest go-to DX12 benchmark, mostly because it was one of the first. Most benchmark results you see floating use the “Crazy” preset for this game, but we’re using the “High” as we feel it’s fairly representative of what you would be running this game at if you owned one of these cards.

 

 

 

 

DOOM

DOOM, the first non-beta example of the Vulkan API running with full Asynchronous Compute support. We did make sure we ran this game with the settings that would take full advantage of this feature. One think I will say about this game is it really shows that you don’t have to use Direct X if you want to make a beautiful game.

 

 

 

 

Forza Motorsports 6 Apex

Apex has to be the first title to come out of the Windows Store using the UWP that didn’t perform like a sack of rotten potatoes on day one. This has been a title that has enjoyed very good performance across the board since day one. The hardest part of benchmarking this game was stopping and not continuing to the next lap!

 

 

Gears of War: Ultimate Edition

Remember what I said about performing like a sack of rotten potatoes, this is the game I was referring to. The Windows Store first big DX12 launch was an absolute disaster performance wise at launch. I’m happy to report that all of that is no longer the case, even though the game has swelled to over 50GB in size.

 

 

HITMAN

HITMAN 2016 is the latest in the series and is being released as an episodic adventure. This approach feels natural with this game, however with each update they tend to toss in performance ‘upgrades’ as well. Because of this the game needs to be retested regularly.

 

 

 

Rise of the Tomb Raider

RotTR had pretty bad performance when it first rolled out the DX12 patch. Thankfully that has changed significantly and has even released a recent update that allows for Async Compute capability.

 

 

Total War: Warhammer

If there’s any game series in history that could benefit from DX12 it’s this one. Total War has been a notoriously single threaded game in the past making it pretty much perform the same regardless of what high end GPU you have once the screen is full of units.

 

 

Results

In the end DX12 and Vulkan are still very young and even the titles we’ve tested here are ever evolving and getting regular updates that could very well change these performance numbers drastically. I know very well that the Radeon fans will be eager to point out the massive lead that the RX 480 is enjoying in DOOM, but look just past it and see the tables turn in the opposite direction with Forza. In all the other titles they stay so close it really comes down to which one you want. Both cards perform great in DX12 and something to consider in DOOM is, we still are waiting on an updated driver to enable Async Compute in Pascal. When that does happen we’ll be revisiting it as well. But as we get a better understanding of testing and showing results for these next generation APIs you can expect more coverage as time marches on.

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