NVIDIA GTX 1080 and GTX 1070 vs Radeon RX 480 – Valar Morghulis

By this time of the year, there are just a few things that got people’s utmost, undivided attention: the season finale of Game of Throne, and whether it is better to stream those glorious episodes with GTX 1080/1070 or Radeon RX 480. The struggle is real.

Hence to not wasting No one’s time, this buyer guide for NVIDIA Pascal and Radon Polaris will be quick and shocking; like the most death in The Song of Ice and Fire. In the next 10 minutes, you should be able to decide whether to have GTX 970, GTX 1080, GTX 1070 or Radeon RX480 to serve the jaw-dropping scene of the ending in Battle of the Bastards.

p.s Many maesters hate this, but I assure you we will not dive deep into the nerdy techy mumbo jumbo and confusing hippie terms, since you can bing them anywhere online. Instead, let’s discuss the benefits of these GPUs and explore some solid benchmarks for more purchase confidence.

Quick Recap

Just like in our previous article about NVIDIA GTX 960, 970 and 980 vs Radeon R9, let’s quickly recall the most recent architectures of NVIDIA and Radeon GPU lines for the sake of the Old Gods and the New. Our captain is also here for the immersive explanation.

dsc_0232Fermi 40nm » Kepler 28nm » Maxwell 28nm » Pascal 16nm 

Best-of-ATI-WallpaperTahiti 28nm » Hawaii 28nm » Tonga 28nm » Polaris 14nm 

Without the need to understand what each confusing generation and its codename mean, you could immediately tell that they are indeed pretty girls; besides there is also the drastic change towards smaller FinFET process technology. Every new architecture allows NVIDIA and AMD to manufacture more and more transistors in a smaller package or under the same footprint area, which consequently increases performance output and power efficiency. —Cap’n O.

While AMD has been a busy bee in the console market, NVIDIA seems to be more oriented towards the PC gaming industry. Since I have stock in AMD that I bought at $1.82 back in the day and now priced at $5.38, I firmly believe the battle between AMD and NVIDIA isn’t over soon like most people thought. NVIDIA has been taking the lead in each of every generation that came out recently but AMD doesn’t seem to try to compete in the high-end market range so much.

A clear example of this statement is the current offer from both brands in April and May 2016. While NVIDIA drop their top dogs right off the batch –the GTX 1070 and GTX 1080, AMD let out the RX 480 which is only considered a mid-range product. Like Joh Snow vs. Robb Stark. Or Joffrey vs. Ramsey Bolton.

Quick Specs

What you could learn from the chart below is that the beefiest, most impressive numbers belong to the GTX 980 Ti.

It has 8-billion transistors versus 7.2-billion in GTX 1080’s, and 5.7-billion in the RX 480. The GTX 980 Ti equipped with 384-bit bus width memory, means it also could render high resolution graphics the fastest of all.

NVIDIA Pascal and Radeon Polaris Specifications – Sort by Performance



RX 480

GTX 970

GTX 980

GTX 980 Ti

GTX 1070

GTX 1080

Shader Processors


Transistor Count


Core Clock


Boost Clock


Memory Specs













Fab Process









However, the magic of fabrication process technology starts to show its burden on the GTX 980 Ti. The 28nm in die size consumes the most power (250W) while gives out the lowest clock speed, lowest overclocking capability because of the dense transistor count. On other hand, even though the GTX 1080 has only 7.2-billion transistors, it is able to run an average of 700MHz faster while reducing the power consumption by almost half. The Pascal architecture is delivering the same amazing efficiency as when Maxwell was released in place of its predecessor. AMD on other hand, not so much.

RX 480

The RX 480 comes with smaller FinFET processor tech, has lower transistor count and I’m sitting here thinking that it probably has really great power consumption and overclocking potential. Boy, I was as wrong as how Cersei had trusted The Sparrow in the first place. While the RX 480 delivers half the amount of joy the GTX 1070 could, it drains your power just as much and gets just as hot under overclocking. As far as the Westeros doesn’t give a crap, but efficiency-wise, moving to 14nm fabrication definitely does not have much benefit for Polaris.

To make things worse, several reports said people got their PCIe slot burned /destroyed while they tried to overclock the RX 480, because their entry level motherboard could not handle the excessive power draw. Redditors have come up with a solution and AMD also promises a fix is coming soon.

While this sounds so depressing for Radeon and I secretly think some of my nun friends are trying to ask it to confess and giving it a walk of atonement, but whatever however: at the end of the day, is the RX 480 really meant to compete so aggressively with GTX 1070/GTX 1080 ? Definitely not. It is here to slide right in between the GTX 970 and GTX 980 for just a couple of benjamins. The current best price for GTX 970 4GB is about $300 on Amazon , then it’s almost $600 for the GTX 980. The RX 480 8GB version asks for $250, the 4GB version is only $199.

As the time of this writing (early June 2016), don’t you dare order one from Amazon right now. These third-party sellers really know when there is an opportunity because they all jack up the price over $100, thus making all the reviews complaining about inflation. Just wait for the supply increases and the dust settle first. Or perhaps go buy from your local Microcenter instead (also check out their coupon, too).


Techreport has a very detail review of the technology under the hood of Polaris and how it allows AMD to release such an underdog with a solid punch to its direct competitors, while remains an affordable to end-user. I’ll be very excited to see what comes with the RX 490. But for now, those who are looking for the performance of GTX 970 definitely also have a great second choice from AMD –with lower price, sub $200’s, lower energy usage, more memory, better performance– it’s a no brainer and mind-blowing.Prince Oberyn approves.

GTX 1070 / GTX 1080

The new 16nm fabrication actually does more justice for NVIDIA than AMD’s 14nm. Though it isn’t a huge evolution using evolution stone, the Pascal is Maxwell well-fed on all the rare candies it could eat with all the time it could enjoy. The GTX 980 and GTX 970 were the favorites in, if not dominating, the PC market since September 2014. Can you believe that ? It has been over the whole year long. Since there are not many radical changes in this platform, NVIDIA focus on a few things they do best : aggressive clock speed, less power consumption and lot of transistors. What they don’t do best : price.

But let’s talk clock speed first.

The 14nm architecture miraculously allows GTX 1070 runs at 1506MHz and GTX 1080 at 1607MHz. These numbers were never seen before and it’s not even their final forms yet. The GDDR5 memory Pascal uses is also beasty, because it’s not your every GDDR5. This is advanced GDDR5, a.k.a GDDR5X. These RAM chips could reach 10Gb/sec, nearly 50% faster than 7Gb/sec –which was a record for GTX 970/980.
NVIDIA pair that with the 4th gen delta color compression algorithm and you have a super effective rendering transmission for your Pascal supercharged engine.

466001_074724_04_front_zoomAs a common problem with powerful stuff, they require massive amount of fuel. Sometimes I wish Tony Stark shares the tech in his arc reactor. But I digress. Even though NVIDIA did quite well with power consumption in Maxwell versus Kepler, they couldn’t keep up the trend for Pascal. Thus, a slight increase in energy efficiency. GTX 1070 chews merely 5W more than GTX 970, but GTX 1080 is sucking an eye-rolling 180W when compared to 165W under GTX 980. Fortunately, no one really cares about that. Console players, maybe. The Xbox consumes less than 120W and the PS4 consumes 145W during gameplay, and that is the whole system not just a GPU.

Last thing we gotta talk about is the amount of transistors: well, there are a lot of them. At this point, you probably wouldn’t care about the number anymore because there is nothing faster than the GTX 1080 at all, yet. What you should be worrying about if you are buying one is where can you buy it. I know Microcenter is stocking them every truck shipment but they are going out of the door faster than Ned’s head hitting the ground.


What these numbers are telling us is that GTX 1080 is currently the King of the North and RX 480 is like lady Lyanna Mormont. Also, AMD Crossfire is extremely inefficient in many games but for the one it is good at, it will be just as fast as GTX 1080.

Rise of Tomb Raider (1080p)
GTX 970 4GB42 fps
RX 480 Crossfire55.8 fps
R9 390X62 fps
RX 480 8GB64.1 fps
GTX 980 4GB70 fps
GTX 980 Ti 6GB83 fps
GTX 1070 8GB99 fps
GTX 1080 8GB121.9 fps
Grand Theft Auto V (1080p)
RX 480 65.8 fps
R9 390X 8GB66 fps
GTX 970 4GB66 fps
GTX 980 4GB74.6 fps
GTX 980 Ti 6GB93 fps
GTX 1070 8GB101 fps
RX 480 Crossfire118 fps
GTX 1080 8GB122 fps
Battlefield 4 (1080p)
RX 480 70 fps
GTX 970 4GB81 fps
R9 390X 8GB82 fps
GTX 980 4GB93 fps
GTX 980 Ti 6GB110 fps
RX 480 Crossfire119 fps
GTX 1070 8GB130 fps
GTX 1080 8GB153 fps
Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate (1080p)
RX 48042 fps
R9 390X 8GB46 fps
GTX 970 4GB47 fps
GTX 980 4GB50 fps
GTX 980 Ti 6GB67 fps
GTX 1070 8GB70 fps
RX 480 Crossfire75 fps
GTX 1080 8GB86 fps
Just Cause 3 (1080p)
GTX 970 4GB75 fps
RX 480 Crossfire81 fps
R9 390X 8GB82 fps
RX 480 82 fps
GTX 980 4GB84 fps
GTX 980 Ti 6GB100 fps
GTX 1070 8GB109 fps
GTX 1080 8GB139 fps
COD : Black Ops 3 (1080p)
GTX 970 4GB55.7 fps
GTX 980 4GB65 fps
RX 480 75 fps
R9 390X 8GB78 fps
GTX 980 Ti 6GB79 fps
GTX 1070 8GB91 fps
GTX 1080 8GB112 fps
RX 480 Crossfire150 fps
Batman: Arkham Knight (1080p)
GTX 970 4GB98 fps
RX 480 Crossfire103 fps
RX 480 108 fps
GTX 980 4GB109 fps
R9 390X 8GB110 fps
GTX 980 Ti 6GB127 fps
GTX 1070 8GB140 fps
GTX 1080 8GB159.8 fps

So, which one you choose ? Drop a few words to let us know! A quick sale report from our local shop, 70% customers are looking for GTX 1080, about 15% for GTX 1070 and 10% for RX 480.

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1 Comment on "NVIDIA GTX 1080 and GTX 1070 vs Radeon RX 480 – Valar Morghulis"

August 12, 2016 7:29 am

Thanks buddy.. you did an amazing job sharing this valuable info.. it really helped overcome my confusions..