Time to Upgrade to the Radeon™ RX 480

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As a Product Marketing Manager at AMD, sometimes I get access to some real cool hardware and software before the public gets a chance to try.  I had the chance to take a Radeon™ RX 480 home over the weekend and installed it in our den PC (dubbed the family PC), to try out Virtual Super Resolution at 1440p in many of my Steam and Origin games.

Along the way (next morning), the system was commandeered by my kids, aged 10 and 6, and that was about it for my testing.

Now the system is an AMD A8-7670K APU running at 65W and it’s been the ideal family PC for both gaming, video, and photo editing.  For my kids, it’s the Minecraft PC.

By default — Minecraft runs amazing on this system.  Typical frame-rates are over 100 fps, even when watching movies or game streams at the same time on a second monitor. But mods are the life blood of this long serving game, and can be fairly hard hitting once you start adding ones that drive better visuals.

 

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To show the graphics capabilities to my guys, I decided to try Sildurs shaders (here) using the Optifine mod (here) to enable the shaders to be loaded.

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These changes are a huge overhaul to the visual components in the game, and require a powerful GPU, like the Radeon RX 480. Previous attempts without the graphics card, led to low framerates, so we never left it on the system for long.

With the Radeon™ RX 480, things were different.  Not only were frame rates over 60 fps, resulting in a smooth experience, I was also able to enable 2x FSAA to reduce onscreen jaggies.  That bar of performance was important because we haven’t upgraded to a FreeSync monitor yet.

The Minecraft experience seemed almost new again, and even drew me in for a few hours that night after the kids went to sleep. The ability for lighting to dramatically change the visual appearance of a game is staggering (and a reason I am excited for HDR gaming this year).  Compared to the stock image, Minecraft looked much more impressive with the new mods we had tried.

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The next day, after spending some more hours on Minecraft, my 10 year old fired up Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare 2  (on sale for 50% right now) and had a blast.  It was the type of game we wouldn’t have imaged playing at max settings on our 1080p native panel before.  The game play was smooth and addicting for way too long (almost missed my son’s hockey practice).

 

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Weekends are over faster than most of us care for, and eventually I had to restore the system to its original state.  Just to be sure, I uninstalled the previous drivers and downloaded the latest Catalyst online without any trouble.

I’m glad they are more interested now in what the PC can do, and it’s leaving me to think that its about time I upgrade my gaming PC in the basement.

What a difference a Radeon™ RX 480 makes!

 

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