Following up on this week's Radeon RX 480 launch, there has been some questions raised about the power consumption of the card. This is after some sites whom directly tap the power rails feeding the card discovered that at least some of their samples were pulling more than the standard-allowed 75W over the PCIe slot and/or 6-pin PCIe external power connector.

To that end, it would appear that AMD's staff is working weekend duty, and they have just sent over the following statement.

As you know, we continuously tune our GPUs in order to maximize their performance within their given power envelopes and the speed of the memory interface, which in this case is an unprecedented 8Gbps for GDDR5. Recently, we identified select scenarios where the tuning of some RX 480 boards was not optimal. Fortunately, we can adjust the GPU's tuning via software in order to resolve this issue. We are already testing a driver that implements a fix, and we will provide an update to the community on our progress on Tuesday (July 5, 2016).

If some of the data is to be believed, these cards are exceeding 150W total at times, which would mean there is either something causing them to run in the wrong power state, or they are just outright exeeding their power limit and need to be throttled back. As we don't do per-rail testing I don't have anything meaningful to add at this second, but it will be very interesting to see how AMD responds next week.

Update 07/06: AMD has since released their status update, which you can find here.

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  • Arnulf - Saturday, July 02, 2016 - link

    "As we don't do per-rail testing I don't have anything meaningful to add at this second, but it will be very interesting to see how AMD responds next week."

    Why don't you do per-rail testing? It is always better [for us, consumers] to be able to get information from multiple sources so one doesn't have to take it at face value.
    Reply
  • Ryan Smith - Saturday, July 02, 2016 - link

    Short answer: we decided years ago that we'd rather run a closed case environment to accurately test how a card will behave in a case, to see how the cooling and noise levels hold up. Conversely, per-rail measurements are really only practical on an open testbed, that way you can easily get at components and make changes on the fly. Reply
  • BlueBlazer - Saturday, July 02, 2016 - link

    Testing power draw on the PCI Express slot isn't that hard to do, just need the right equipment and hardware. Even the guys at TecLab (in Brazil) was able to this (in their AMD RX-480 tests) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nKcHR1qW3w4 If they can do it then why should Anandtech hesitate... Reply
  • lmcd - Saturday, July 02, 2016 - link

    Seriously? They literally just wrote that it was on the external connector, and you blather on about testing from the PCIe slot. It's simple: you either use professional tools to test from what is effectively an external power supply (voiding the closed case test conditions), use consumer tools with mediocre reporting, or you simply use the closed-case in a consumer setting to provide the information necessary to consumers. Reply
  • BlueBlazer - Saturday, July 02, 2016 - link

    Did you even watch the video? Here's a shortcut https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nKcHR1qW3w4&t=... straight to 2 minutes 23 seconds. They did test the power draw from the PCI Express x16 slot. Here's the hint, they used a flat cable for PCI Express signals from he slot to the graphic card, while the on the power side they have thick cables. They also used an oscilloscope as well. That does qualify as a professional tool... Reply
  • coder543 - Saturday, July 02, 2016 - link

    I haven't posted a comment on AnandTech in quite a few months, but your comments were able to force me to do just that.

    Ryan said that they decided years ago to do the testing in a closed case, rather than an open testbed, for a variety of reasons that he listed that I'm not going to bother repeating. Read his comment.

    TecLab was doing their testing in an open air testbed. It was definitely not in a closed case. That is the kind of testing AnandTech feels has several serious disadvantages.

    You can disagree with AnandTech on those points... but you're just completely confused at the moment, not even realizing that you're not addressing their argument.
    Reply
  • BlueBlazer - Saturday, July 02, 2016 - link

    Its not about whether its a closed case and/or open testbed issue. A much more detailed analysis would have been better. In the past Anandtech has provided some brilliant and detailed reviews on power consumption of various hardware ranging from PC-based chips (like CPUs) to mobile SoCs. IMHO perhaps Anandtech should step it up a notch. Looks like other review sites have stepped up their game. Here's a tester who encountered problems with AMD's latest GPU https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rhjC_8ai7QA even though his AM2 motherboard was old but was able to run a GTX980Ti on it but keeps shutting down with RX480. Definitely there was an issue, and if Toms Hardware, PC Perspective and others hadn't performed those detailed tests then we would not have guessed the source of the problem... Reply
  • NeatOman - Saturday, July 02, 2016 - link

    Your negating effects that heat have on components. And won't represent a realistic read world scenario. It get what you mean and you do have a point just that it's not in line with the test Anandtech wants to do.

    I'm sure it's possible to build a setup so this can be done inside a case.
    Reply
  • BlueBlazer - Sunday, July 03, 2016 - link

    Anandtech could have perform dual testing, closed case and open testbed. Its not hard to do plus quite cheap (using PCI Express risers like some of the reviewers did, example http://ht4u.net/reviews/2016/amd_radeon_rx_480_rev... ). Furthermore open testbed testing can be relevant to some people like bitcoin miners. Alas too late for some bitcoin miners https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=1433925.ms... "No, it's an Asus P7P55-LX, it was the 1st rig I built. Ran for 3 years with 3 280x and non-powered risers. 6 hours with the 480s and poof!!" The total load from 3x AMD RX480 fried the mainboard ATX power connector (instead of the PCI Express x16 slot). Looks like using more than a single AMD RX480 (on lower end mainboards) could quickly increase the likelihood of mainboard failure. Youtuber and reviewer (also fanboy), JokerSlunt had tasted that also https://twitter.com/JokerSlunt/status/748909470382... quote "I got my first black screen power crash today using two 480s on an Asus X99 board"... Reply
  • Vatharian - Monday, July 04, 2016 - link

    There is always a limited number of press kits with cards. They have limited time for testing before they ship it away, unless they are doing roundup testing, for which hardware is usually lent by distributors, not manufacturers (at least in my country).

    That said, both consumer oriented closed case testing and open testbed have their value, First appeals to 98% of users, the latter for those who will either run in open case or want to check how card will behave with waterblock slapped on. They made decision, this is enough reason for AnandTech to test it that way.
    Reply

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