Gigabyte Radeon RX 560: 1080p Ultra at a Budget Price
Ever wonder if you could get a solid video card at a decent price? Tired of trying collect spare change to get that gaming card you’ve always wanted? Look no further, because we’ve got answers (and science) for all of your GPU needs! Last week, I received the Gigabyte Radeon RX 560 Gaming OC 4GB graphics card to take for a test drive and put through its paces. Coming in at only $149 MSRP, the RX 560 promises to be the afforable option for gamers who want excellent 1080p gaming without breaking the bank. Read on to see just how it holds up.
Promoted as a 1080p gaming card with smooth 4K video playback, the 560 comes armed with boosted clock speeds of 1300 MHz, 4GB of GDDR5 video memory and lower power requirements. It also features a low profile design and smaller physical size, which means it takes up less space in the case (albeit looking a bit basic aesthetically). This design allows for a plethora of uses from a budget big rig build down to a media center for your main TV. With support for up to three monitors (1 HDMI, 1 DVI-D, 1 Display Port 1.4) there are a lot of options for how the RX 560 can be used.
Also included with the RX 560 OC is the company’s signature Windforce Cooling Tech. In a nutshell, the PCB enclosure houses a pair of 80mm fans that have a unique triangular edge that evenly distributes air flow over the card. According to Gigabyte’s specs, this enhances airflow by 23%. This, coupled with the company's Direct Touch Heat Pipes, essentially maximize the points of contact between the GPU and the heat sink to create a thermally cool gaming experience. The whole cooling system is fairly quiet, with the 3D active fan system only engaging when temperature thresholds are crossed, leaving them still and silent when not required.
Of course all of this as well, as clock speeds, are managed from the Aorus Graphics Engine software which can be downloaded directly from Gigabyte’s site. The software is straightforward and easy to navigate and offers ease of use for those that want to overclock their system but may not have the prior experience to do so. I will mention that I ran into an error when I initially start up the software. The error didn’t impact my ability to use the software but was something I had to repeatedly cancel out of. After contacting support they assured me that they are working on a fix for the issue.
As we transition into talking about the card’s performance I would be remiss not to mention how our benchmarking process works. After installing the card we take it through its paces by running it against several games and measure core temperatures and FPS throughout the play session. Typically we push all settings to maximum (unless otherwise stated) and see how the card holds up under the strain. Measurements are taken at 1080p, 1440p and 4K. We measure all of this under as close to the same conditions as possible, using a benchmark tool where available and performing identical runs through content when not. After compiling all the data we cast some Excel magic and present the data in colorful charts and graphs.
Test system: Asus M5A99FX Pro motherboard, AMD FX 8350 Eight Core CPU at 4 GHz,8GB DDR3 Kingston HyperX Fury Red RAM at 1866MHz, Gigabyte Radeon RX 560 Gaming OC 4GB GPU, Thermaltake ToughPower 750 Watt 80 Plus Gold power supply.
On the surface, the Gigabyte Radeon RX 560 Gaming OC looks a solid contender for a budget gaming PC. It does handle 4K playback fairly well with no noticeable issues, and the card itself has solid design and construction. Pushing past the surface however, the question that I really wanted to know was whether the RX 560 really delivers on the promise of solid 1080p gaming at its budget price. So without further ado let’s dive into the numbers.
As with most GPU benchmarks I ran the 560 OC against a series of MMOs. Despite being a promoted as a 1080p gaming card I pushed the card all the way to Ultra 4K resolutions and settings. I would like to say I did it for science, but really I just wanted to see what would happen. The results were quite varied. In the case of some MMOs such as World of Warcraft, Star Wars: The Old republic and Elder Scrolls Online the Radeon RX held up fairly well even at 1440p at ultra settings. Others didn’t fare as well but, with the exception of Black Desert Online, were all playable at 1440p. It is worth noting that the framerates were not as consistent at the higher res settings and any area that was heavily populated did tend lag it out a bit, but the point is that the RX 560 can be pushed to perform acceptably beyond 1080p. However, if you want to get the most out of it, limiting yourself to 1080p produces solid results.
As with the MMOs, I put the RX 560 through a series of shooters and again pushed it far beyond its recommended settings. At 1080p, the card did well all the way to Ultra presets. It maintained consistent framerates, and some games, like Doom, didn’t slow it down at all. One thing that I did note with the shooters specifically was that I could easily maintain the low 50 FPS with everything maxxed on ultra, but with a few slight adjustments to minor effects I was able to push out 7-15 more frames a second consistently, hitting and exceeding 60 frames a second. This is worth noting for the competitive gamers out there that are constantly trying to find that balance between visual appeal and frame rate. The Radeon RX 560 can give you those 60fps with very little sacrifice by way of visuals.
Another important consideration we measure is temperatures. As you can see on the graph the RX sits around the mid-to-high 60s when pushed to higher resolutions. At 1080p, the card runs a bit cooler coming in at high 50s which is still quite cool for a gaming CPU. During my playthroughs, the fans were audible but noise was quite minimal and didn’t disrupt my gaming experience in any way. Gigabyte boasts of its cooling technology and the RX 560 delivers.
The Gigabyte radeon RX 560 Gaming OC 4GB is a solid 1080p gaming card. On ultra settings in 1080p, it offers consistent FPS in the mid 50s and higher if you’re willing to lower a slider or two, allowing the card to perform well in most situations. It is important to note that although the card can push in the realm of 4K, the card wasn’t made for it, and I don’t recommend it outside of playback. If, however, you're a budget builder or new to building rigs and want to start with something that’s a little easier on the wallet, the RX 560 is a great place to start.
The product described in this review was provided by AMD Radeon for purposes of review.