( $750 down to $750 with $350 off the i5 and a 6th gen 4790 in the main box .)
We are now testing the AMD Ryzen RX 480 which has 32 cores and 32 threads which is a major step up in performance if you don’t have a Core i5 machine but in most cases there is a decent profit to be made from the upgrade. The RX 480 delivers about 40% more performance and about $60 off the price per core with the 8gb VRAM memory module! I purchased my RX 480 for around $350 and it is a great upgrade from the $100 Core i5 2500K which has a great deal of VRAM capacity but most Core i5 CPUs won’t push it. For someone on a budget who wants to go high on performance but also wants a good VR performance we would recommend looking into the AMD RX 470 instead.
The RX 480 is priced at $149 whereas the Core i5 2500K is $240 and the Asus Strix RX 470 has around the same VR price but is only $140. The AMD Ryzen CPU should be around $330 but be aware that the current average price for Intel CPUs is about $350. To get the best performance you need a little bit more on the budget and some work arounds can be put in place. In the last version of this review we got a Core i7 5820K system and built a VR-ready system in it. The VR system has a Gigabit NIC and an AMD Radeon RX 470 in the main box so in order to get the highest VR performance you will need an AMD RX 470. For most people it is ok just playing games and having fun in a room with a friend who is also the most advanced gamer in their home in which case they would most likely spend much more on VR content per hardware slot. In our RX 480 review we saw plenty of performance that is hard to come by for $220 but for $200 the 1080p experience in a VR-ready system will get you more content than you save from having to spend $100 for a Core i5.
That is the budget-minded PC gamer on a tight budget. We recommend the RX 480 but for most people a Core i5 CPU is a better choice. For the AMD Ryzen enthusiast we have the RX 470 which should be priced in the same range as the Core i5 but for $100 less that you need. For most people with a budget of $200 to $250 in the $500 to $550 price range a decent upgrade would be the Core i7 5960X which still has the best VR experience. Here is the last iteration of this article with the Core i7 5930K in the picture. This system has a Gigabit switch NIC and a AMD RX 470 in the main box. The Core i7 5960X has a very similar price to the Core i5 Ryzen and was also a decent upgrade from its own $200 when we tested it and I still recommend it for most people as I love to play on a budget but I would go with a $250 Core i5 now if I were you. This was the first in a two part review on the AMD Ryzen processor series and these reviews will continue very soon. If you need a refresher after reading the last article, the basic formula for calculating VR performance based on the TDP is:
(Watts Per Watt x CPU Core/CPU CPU)
I do not believe you need to invest in a completely new system to get the best VR performance so this doesn’t mean a purchase a cheap, 2 year old system or a 2 generation old CPU isn’t good and I’ll say again again, if it’s affordable, good VR performance is all you need but for more seasoned gamers and video geeks it’s ok with this build to go for a higher TDP system. I also think it was pretty clear from many of the pictures that our AMD RX 470 was a very strong VR performer and if you need to work with a Core i5 and are just starting out you may want to use the R7 240 for a more capable platform.