Flashing your RX 480 GPU to an RX 580 BIOS is a extremely unhealthy thought

Each time AMD or Nvidia launches a brand new GPU household, there’s a scramble to see whether or not sure options might be unlocked for different GPUs, or if playing cards might be up to date to help larger clocks and voltages. Within the previous days, it was often doable to purchase a midrange card and unlock the extra GPU cores that had been reserved for the top-end fashions. Even at present, there are typically efficiency positive factors available when swapping between BIOSes for various card fashions. Precisely how properly this works and which BIOSes you may swap varies from firm to firm and card to card.

In keeping with Overclock3D, some customers are flashing their older RX 480s with an up to date RX 580 BIOS and discovering that this will work as properly. Usually, I’d be on board with this type of change, supplied that finish customers who attempt it perceive the dangers — however on this case, I’ve received to say I believe it’s a extremely unhealthy thought.

There are two main issues with flashing an RX 480 to behave like an RX 580. In the beginning, anybody with a six-pin PCI Specific RX 480 is begging for hassle. AMD’s first RX 480 reference playing cards had an issue with drawing an excessive amount of energy over the PCI Specific slot and never sufficient through the auxiliary energy connectors. AMD was capable of resolve this situation inside days with an up to date driver, however pushing the cardboard to larger clock speeds may simply make the issue reappear. The primary signal of an issue may simply be a useless monitor and the scrumptious scent of eau de burning PCB. This downside shouldn’t have an effect on customized board designs from AIB distributors, however the first wave of RX 480s had been primarily based on AMD’s personal reference board. In the event you’ve received an RX 480 with a single six-pin PCI Specific connector, I wouldn’t even do that specific “tweak.”

The second downside with driving the RX 480 as exhausting because the RX 580 is the mammoth enhance in energy consumption and related temperature enhance. Our overview confirmed the RX 580 drawing 77W extra energy than the RX 480 underneath similar check circumstances, and whereas this hole will fluctuate relying on board high quality, cooler functionality, and the RX 580’s clock pace, each overview of AMD’s second-generation Polaris discovered the RX 580 drew considerably extra energy than its predecessor.Whereas the Gigabyte RX 580 Aorus OC we reviewed is a wonderful card with minimal noise and a rock-solid clock pace of 1425MHz, it’s additionally clearly designed for a a lot larger TDP than many RX 480 boards.

Gigabyte Aorus RX 580

Most reviewers and fans have a tendency to concentrate to GPU core temperatures above some other thermal measurement, however VRM temperatures matter an amazing deal as properly. When Tom’s wrote an RX 480 roundup they in contrast GPU and VRM temperatures on various playing cards and located vital variation between them. Worse, the person check outcomes for GPU and VRM temperatures don’t essentially correlate properly with one another. GPUs just like the Sapphire RX 480 Nitro+ hold the GPU temperature under 80C, however the VRM temperatures hit 97C.


Thermal picture of the Sapphire RX 480 Nitro+. The GPU is sweet and funky, the VRMs will not be.

In conditions like this, pushing the VRMs even larger is nuts. They could be rated to deal with it, however the PCB they’re mounted to in all probability isn’t, and sizzling spot formation may very well be an enormous downside relying on the make and mannequin of your GPU.

Lastly, there’s the truth that relying on which BIOS you flash, you’re solely getting an additional 7-12 p.c efficiency anyway. The Gigabyte Aorus we examined had a 1425MHz clock pace, but it surely seems to be like Gigabyte pushed the envelope a little bit tougher than anybody else. Right here’s how our RX 480 (AMD reference) in contrast towards the RX 580 in mixture, throughout all video games and in simply DX12/Vulkan video games.


When the RX 580 is, at most, 10 p.c quicker than the RX 480, and the chance to at least one’s card is substantial, I can’t advocate anybody sort out the venture. A 10 p.c efficiency achieve isn’t value spending one other $220 – $260 on a brand new GPU.