Finding a good graphics card is a tough experience for PC gamers (especially on their wallets), mostly because they can sell at a high cost and then become obsolete in a year or two. So it is quite reasonable why many gamers think: “Why should I spend $400 to upgrade my PC when I can simply buy a console like the Xbox One or PlayStation 4?” Fortunately, AMD has launched a brand new graphics card that is under $200 ($199 to be precise) called the AMD Radeon RX 480 – a cheaper gaming component capable of supporting Virtual Reality headsets like the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive.
The RX 480 is far from being the most powerful graphics card on the market (actually it’s as powerful as a GeForce GTX 970) but it has everything you need for a fair price and allows you to run many games on high settings – even on 1080p. You don’t even have to own a top notch CPU or motherboard, I was able to run The Witcher 3 with its settings dialled up and even run older titles like Skyrim with smooth textures and lighting effects mods.
Compared to the Nvidia GTX 970 (which is about $330 on the market), you save up to $130 with the RX 480 and it also runs smoothly with VR compatible titles like Project Cars or The Climb, with smooth, stable framerates and nice graphical details.
If VR games are not your thing, you can also use this great graphics card with more traditional games, with silky smooth framerates and high levels of detail like beautifully rendered water and incredibly long fields of view, allowing you to see the things that are far away from your character.
Compared to the pricier GTX 970, the RX 480 maintains excellent average frame rates at 1080p of resolution in most games (I was able to run The Witcher 3 on a stable average of 54 fps, which is always a treat to the eyes) but the one thing that you shouldn’t expect from the RX 480 is the ability to run at 4K: As I’ve said before, the RX 480 can run on 1080p of resolution with a nice amount of details and stable framerate, but it still lacks the power to run a game at 4K resolution, even with a high-resolution monitor.
Nvidia has also prepared for this launch with its brand-new GTX 1060, a $250 graphics card (around £195) which Nvidia claims is 15 percent faster on performance than the RX 480 for just $50 more.