Why I Love The Radeon RX 580 For VR

by VentureBeat • August 13th, 2017

High-end virtual reality on the PC requires a ton of flexibility and dedication. But you can make it a more enjoyable experience by building your rig with AMD’s Radeon RX 580 video card. It can handle almost any game at 1080p and 60 frames per second, it packs a ton of power for its price, and it has two HDMI ports. It starts at $250 — although it’s still hard to find at that price for the moment because of the rush to mine the Bitcoin-like Ethereum cryptocurrency. But if you can find one, it’s the card I’d choose for building a VR machine.

AMD rolled out the Radeon RX 580 in April, and I’ve been testing the MSI RX 580 X 8G. As the heart of a gaming rig, this card can easily drive a 1080p display at 60 frames per second most of the time. It’s quiet and power efficient, and — at least with MSI’s added fans — it stay relatively cool under load. The 580 could potentially even run certain online multiplayer games at 144 frames per second if you’re looking to get a monitor that supports that refresh rate.

In my 12-game test, I compared it to a GeForce GTX 1060. It stands right with that Nvidia GPU and often outperforms it in certain games. The test rig is running an Intel Core i7-7700K at 4.2Ghz, an Asus Strix Z270E motherboard, 16GB EVGA DD4-3200 memory, and an SanDisk Ultra II 960GB SSD.

Above: The MSI Radeon RX 580 X 8G vs. the GTX 1060 Founder’s Edition.

Image Credit: GamesBeat

But while the RX 580’s traditional benchmarks are impressive, its VR capabilities are what set it apart from me. The RX 580 easily surpasses Valve’s SteamVR test, and it ran games like Audioshield, Rec Room, and more for me at a flawless and steady 90 frames per second.

You could get those same results from an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060, but that card would limit your system in one crucial way: it wouldn’t be as versatile. The issue here is that the GTX 1060 only has 1 HDMI port where the RX 580 has two. Most modern monitors connect with a DisplayPort adapter, so that should leave you with one HDMI output for your HTC Vive or Oculus Rift. That’s fine when you’re at your desk, but what happens when you want to set up a machine in your big living room. If you want to connect it to a TV, you’re probably going to run into an issue if that and the Vive both need to use HDMI.

With the RX 580, however, you get all the power to run your VR games, and then you get that crucial second HDMI port so you can set up your system in more places to actually enjoy those games. It may not sound like a big deal, but every little hurdle is a detriment to the VR experience. And AMD has dealt with that with its RX 500-series cards.

This post by Jeff Grubb originally appeared on VentureBeat.

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  • Stephen Grennell

    Or you could get a $7 Displayport to HDMI adapter…

    • Niklas Weidmann

      Yeah, what a blatant advertising, is this supposed to be an article?

  • polysix

    meh.

    for vr I’ll always go intel + Nvidia.

  • Comedykev

    I’ll let my below piss all over this advertisement above!!

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  • Josh Yates

    fucking garbage article, oh the gtx 1060 only has 1 display port? 60 frames at 1080p? you need 90 frames for decent vr, im okay with amd and would consider buying a gpu from them, but this is just blatant fan boyism at it’s best seriously get this garbage off this site.

  • Sebastian Freitag

    What? Most versions of the GTX 1060 have 2 or even more often 3 DisplayPorts. If that’s the one argument for the RX 580, I think this article is pretty superfluous.

    Apart from that… even a GTX 1060 is just barely enough for VR. It’s what you buy because you cannot afford to spend $200 more on a 1070 (or even more for a 1080) and still want to use VR. A 1060 cannot run many VR games at 90 FPS on high settings (Audioshield isn’t the most demanding one…). It’s certainly ok, but it’s definitely not “high-end VR”.

    This article is just a badly researched ad, damaging to this site’s reputation and should be removed.

  • Flikr

    On top of not even beating the 1060 in every game listed in that chart, VRWorks is about to start making a difference now that Nvidia released the kit to implement it in any unity game, meaning it’ll blow the 580 out of the water in pretty much any VR game. Past that, Ethereum miners have driven up the 580’s price to $350+ in any configuration, so it’s worthless to compare the two cards, considering it’s closer to the 1070 in price.

  • J.C.

    I have to agree with the other posters here, the 580 is far, FAR from “the best card to get for VR”. Nor is it somehow able to make VR “more enjoyable” than other cards. Not with the wording included, at least. It only barely mentions price, which is THE ONLY reason to consider a 580. The timing on this feels like “Oh no Vega launches today how do we get rid of our stopgap 500 line now? Let’s fund an article about it!”. I don’t tend to assume someone’s getting paid to write a bias article, but this one smells REALLY off.

    1: VRWorks has already proven to offer large gains, making ANY Nvidia card a better purchase for VR right now.

    2: A 1080 ti is THE BEST card for VR, period. Also super expensive but that isn’t what this article focused on.

    3: Most 1000-series cards have only one HDMI port, it’s true. Aorus put an extra one on its 1080 ti cards, and some MSI models have them as well.

    The only, ONLY valid reason to get a 500 series card for VR is budget. It sits at the low end of the scale at this point, and the article dances around that as well.

    • JMB

      Strongly agreed, this article is an insult to those in the know and blatant false advertising for those looking to make a purchase.

      Have to disagree on your ‘2:’ though, I do prefer my Titan Xp 😉