Today, we’re going to guide you through buying the best RX 580. The AMD RX 580 was our top value pick in 2019, thanks to its stellar 1080p performance and strong performance in 1440p/VR games.
However, there’s more to buying a GPU than just grabbing the first thing you see called an RX 580. The nature of graphics cards means that there are multiple RX 580s out there, with different cooling setups, different sizes, and ultimately different performance levels. While the performance between the RX 580s shouldn’t change by too much, these will all come at different factory overclocks, which can have an impact on performance by as much as ~8%.
Let’s introduce the contenders.
Our Top Picks
In terms of pure, out-of-the-box performance, the XFX RX 580 GTS Black Edition comes out on top, thanks to its high factory overclock.
XFX RX 580 GTS Black Edition’s large body and cooling design should translate to a GPU that doesn’t get too hot under heavy load, though in general AMD GPUs will be hotter than their Nvidia counterparts.
Next up is our top cooling pick, the ASUS ROG STRIX RX 580. This also comes in second place in terms of pure performance.
The ASUS ROG STRIX RX 580 has a massive cooler has allowed this card to have a great factory overclock (with even more headroom if you want to OC it on your own time), and the benefits don’t stop there. We’ll discuss this card in more detail later on in the article.
While you still need two slots for this card and its length isn’t that different from other 580s, its actual thickness and clearance are worlds different.
Using an efficient armor cooler from MSI and featuring a stock overclock, the MSI Gaming RADEON RX 580 is great for builds where you’re trying to save as much room as possible but still want excellent price-to-performance.
If you don’t need 8GB of VRAM but you still want the RX 580’s awesome 1080p performance, XFX’s GTS XXX Edition RX 580 is a pretty solid pick.
Boasting the highest overclock out of any of the 4GB cards and a pretty good cooler, this card should more than serve your purposes if all you plan to do is play games at 1080p… plus, you’ll save a few bucks!
Last but not least is the budget pick: PowerColor RED Dragon RX 580. This pick is, as you would imagine, cheaper than the other options on this list.
While you don’t get the strong branding of an ASUS or MSI card or as-great cooling, it’s still a decent brand and this is the cheapest RX 580 on the market with 8GB of VRAM and all the raw performance you’re looking for.
Any of these 5 would be a great purchase. However, we’re going to make sure that you choose which one is right for you.
If you’re playing at 1080p, rejoice: just about everything you play is going to be easily pushed to 60 FPS and higher at maximum settings, including Fortnite, The Witcher 3, Battlefield 1, and more. Gaming in 1080p, you shouldn’t ever need to compromise settings in any meaningful way, even in the latest releases.
With 1440p, you will need to make some more compromises. If you’re smart, though, this will result in an even better visual experience than what’s possible at 1080p Ultra. Keeping the same high-to-max settings in modern games, you’ll often find yourself averaging out at about 40-50 FPS.
If you make intelligent adjustments to certain settings (turning down things like AA, motion blur, and depth of field are great places to start), you’ll enjoy the benefits of high resolution and visual fidelity without losing smooth performance.
With Virtual Reality, you’re well past the minimum spec that people expect and should enjoy 90+ FPS in all but the most intensive VR games. Even encountering those issues, however, you can use SteamVR’s resolution scaling feature to tone down the resolution a tad bit to keep acceptable performance levels.
There is an important distinction to be made between the RX 580 4GB and RX 580 8GB. When most people say “RX 580”, they’re thinking of and referring to the latter, but this doesn’t mean that the 4GB version doesn’t also have value!
In addition to the fact that 4GB 580s will usually be cheaper than their 8GB counterparts, they actually offer a good value for one particular use case: 1080p gaming.
If you don’t have a 1440p display or a VR headset, and you don’t see yourself investing in either anytime soon, the 4GB RX 580 has pretty much the same 1080p performance at a lower price point. However, this will generally only be by about $20-40, and if you want additional future-proofing, it may still be worth investing in a more expensive GPU.
Now, from performance numbers and benchmarks alone, we already know that the RX 580 offers a stellar value for 1080p and 1440p gaming. In terms of price-to-performance, it still has yet to be beat within the GPU market, and it likely won’t be for at least another year, following new GPU releases from Nvidia and AMD themselves. If you’re going to buy a new GPU in 2019 and you aren’t gaming at 4K, the RX 580 stands out as one of the best buys you can make.
But, which RX 580 do you buy? Unlike with Nvidia, AMD doesn’t offer “Founders Editions” of RX 580s and– aside from EVGA– pretty much every GPU manufacturer is jumping into the arena to put out their version of the RX 580. With this in mind, we restricted ourselves to the following criteria:
- The brand must be a trustworthy name brand
- Reviews must indicate that the GPU has a high reliability rate
- Cards should fit into one of our five below categories (there are some that are balanced between them, however)
For these categories, we chose the most meaningful criteria for distinguishing GPUs, as well as a special 4GB category, just for this card. Our categories are:
- Best Performance – This metric measures out-of-the-box performance; no user tweaking required. This pretty much means picking the RX 580 with the best factory overclock for users who don’t want to do it themselves or want a strong baseline to start before applying their own OCs. This also means it will be the best RX 580 for gaming, at least out of the box.
- Best Cooling – This is for people who want a cooler, quieter system… or more overclocking headroom. In this category, temps rule above all, and we wanted to make sure that our pick would be well-suited for those purposes.
- Best Low Profile – The smallest version of the GPU we could find, for smaller builds (especially micro ATX and mini ITX).
- Best 4GB – Last but not least is the best 4GB RX 580. This is simply the best-performing RX 580 4GB that we could find.
- Best Budget – The RX 580 is already the best value on the GPU market, but the most fairly-priced RX 580 essentially accomplishes a 2x value combo! This is for people who want the most bang for their buck, and aren’t going to spend extra on crazy cooling or factory overclocks.
How Will These Cards Perform?
Best factory overclock
Strong cooler setup
Dual BIOS feature
No extra features sans dual BIOS
XFX is one of the top manufacturers for Radeon GPUs, and their 580 GTS Black Edition effectively shows why. Boasting a sleek, black cooler design with dual fans, XFX’s 580 wouldn’t look out of place in any high-end gaming PC. The addition of a Dual BIOS feature also makes it suitable for more than just gaming, as well…
…yeah, we’re talking cryptocurrency mining. With the ability to switch your BIOs with a flip of a switch, you can switch the card between gaming mode and mining mode with barely an afterthought. If you want a high-end gaming experience but aren’t always playing games, doing GPU mining is a great way to use your graphics card outside of gaming hours.
That being said, crypto mining isn’t quite as profitable as it used to be. Think of it as a fringe benefit in this case, rather than a selling point.
Best cooling of the RX 580s
Second-best performance of RX 580s
RGB lighting and many other features
More costly than other options
Largest of the cards, will be tough to fit in smaller cases
The ROG Strix is the most feature-packed of these GPUs by a considerable margin, and has a higher price tag to match.
First, let’s get this part out of the way: the cooler. ROG STRIX pretty much offers the best cooling in the industry. A part of this can definitely be explained with ASUS’ excellent, efficient cooling design…but a larger part is probably the sheer, massive size of the cooler, boasting three fans and a massive heatsink. With a cooler this large, there’s no way the card wouldn’t have good cooling.
Aside from having the best cooling of the RX 580s, the Asus ROG STRIX actually offers plenty of other great features. For instance, its out-of-box factory overclock is actually the second-highest on this list, which means that it should perform close to our previous option. In fact, once you add user overclocks to the equation, you may actually be able to push performance higher on this setup than any other thanks to the larger cooler preventing overheating.
On top of all that, you also have RGB lighting and quieter operation, thanks to the lower temps…until you start overclocking or pushing the GPU to its limits.
The main downsides of this card are found in its price, which is higher than your usual 580, and its sheer size. You’re going to need a decent-sized case to hold this one, so make sure your case has what it takes before taking the plunge.
Smallest size of the RX 580s
Great value for price
Slightly lower performance profile when compared to other 580s
No extra features to speak of
If you don’t have a lot of room in your PC and don’t care for extra frills, the MSI ARMOR RX 580 is a pretty solid choice. While it has the second-lowest clock speed of all the entries on this list, that shouldn’t translate to a massive difference in overall performance.
Just think of this one as a small, entry-level RX 580. Everything we said about the RX 580 prior concerning its performance still applies to this card. However, the small size does come at a cost: a smaller cooler. With a smaller cooler, you’ll get slightly higher temps and won’t have nearly as much overclocking headroom as you may have on some of the other entries on this list.
If you’re willing to look past that, however, well, you still got yourself a great graphics card.
Best 4GB RX 580
Great value if you find it cheaper than an 8GB card
Strong overclock and general performance
Less suited to 1440p and VR than 8GB 580s
Unless at a discount, probably isn’t worth the money saved
This is the most compromised card on this list, and we only recommend this compromise if the other options we’ve listed are significantly more expensive or you’re absolutely sure you won’t be gaming above 1080p for the next two or three years. This is a niche choice, but still a niche important enough to cover.
If you opt for this card, you will have more difficulty at higher resolutions or while playing VR games. At 1080p, your performance should remain about the same, though.
Usually the cheapest of the RX 580s available, sans 4GB models
Decent factory overclock
Worst cooling of the bunch
Last but not necessarily least is our budget option. We’ll be honest: aside from the 4GB option, this card should be outperformed by every other card on this list (albeit only marginally). If all you want is an RX 580 8GB for as cheap as possible, though, the PowerColor RED Dragon should offer exactly that, with prices trending as low as $200 flat on some days.
The big downside of this card is in the cooling, which…isn’t great. This card will run hotter than the other options we’ve listed, but this shouldn’t be a massive problem if your case has good airflow and you aren’t overclocking it past its factory overclock.
Ultimately, despite these being the best RX 580 cards, which of these cards is best depends on you.
- If you want the best out of box performance, get the XFX GTS Black Edition.
- If you want the best cooling and overclocking headroom, get the ROG STRIX.
- If you want a card suited for a smaller build, get the MSI ARMOR card,
- If you only game at 1080p/want to save some money, XFX GTS XXX Edition.
- If you’re on a very tight budget, get the PowerColor RED Dragon Edition.
Personally, we’d go for the ROG Strix… as long as it’s on sale. However, as long as you buy the card that matches your needs, then you can’t go wrong with any of the GPUs on this list.
You can check out our GPU Hierarchy right here.
Comment below and let us know: which you prefer? Do you have experience with any of these? Or have you used another RX 580 with great results?