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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  • BlueBlazer - Monday, July 4, 2016 - link

    Most test rigs reviewers use have an expensive (well built) high end mainboard. Thus the problem may not be apparent. However for users with cheap lower end and/or older mainboards, this detailed extra information may be important. Thus just guess how many of those "98% of users" were using cheaper low end and/or older mainboards.
  • KompuKare - Monday, July 4, 2016 - link

    However, there is a good reason why most miners use powered risers especially with multiple cards. x1 PCIE is only rated at 25W so if you have a board with two x16 slots and four x1 slots and are running six cards, you could be asking the board to supply with 450W (75W for each card times 6). No board is designed to supply that much and even ATX24 with an 8-pin CPU connector is not really designed for that.
    Of course this guy only had three cards, but the max that board might be rated at is 150W (for the two PCIe x16 slots) plus 50W (for the two PCIE x1 slots) for a total of 200W. Whereas three x16 card running at spec (which the RX480 might not be, of course) would exceed that.
    Powered 3.0 riser at under $5 each would have saved that mobo. The guy was just lucky with his three 280X as I would guess they draw most of their current from the PCIE power connectors not the slot. If he had been running a different card, he'd probably have fried his mobo years ago.
  • BlueBlazer - Monday, July 4, 2016 - link

    That PCI Express x1 slot is capable of supplying 75W since it has the same power rail pins as PCI Express x16 slot. In the PCI Express Card Electro Mechanical Specifications, it does mention that PCI Express x1 can draw up to 75W limit. From quotes "A x1 standard height, full-length card is limited to a 10W maximum power dissipation at initial power up. When the card is configured for high power, by default, it must not exceed a 25W maximum power dissipation or optionally it must not exceed a 75W maximum power dissipation. A x4/x8 or a x16 standard height or low profile card is limited to a 25W maximum power dissipation at initial power up. When a card is configured for high power, it must not exceed a 75W maximum power dissipation."
  • Morawka - Sunday, July 3, 2016 - link

    This, close case vs open test bed is relevant if your writing about cooling, not power. they could test power this way to see what it's drawing at load, and idle.

    What nobody seems to mention in these news post is several consumers have friend their motherboards PCI-E slots with the RX 480. it's all over reddit.
  • Morawka - Sunday, July 3, 2016 - link

    Fried their Motherboard Slots**
  • Lonyo - Sunday, July 3, 2016 - link

    Power and heat are related. As a card gets hotter it uses more power.
  • MajorQuestion - Sunday, July 3, 2016 - link

    I may be wrong but the hall effect camp meter that they use to measure the current looks like is one of those that is only accurate above 10A.
  • MajorQuestion - Sunday, July 3, 2016 - link

  • vanilla_gorilla - Saturday, July 2, 2016 - link

    Ryan I can totally appreciate your position, but given this situation it might be time to consider making the investment? Come on you know you want a bench case anyway!
  • Murloc - Sunday, July 3, 2016 - link

    AT is barely limping along and unable to post reviews on time, asking them to complicate their reviews is wishful thinking at this point.

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