Buyer beware: there are now two variants of AMD’s Radeon RX 560 graphics card

AMD has made a change to its Radeon RX 560 graphics card, with the introduction of a new variant of this model, but there's an issue: both versions still carry the exact same model name.

In other words, there is now a Radeon RX 560 GPU with 1,024 stream processors (16 compute units) – the original model – and a new slightly cut-down variant with 896 stream processors (14 compute units).

Update: AMD has released another statement regarding the two RX 560 GPUs:

"It’s correct that 14 Compute Unit (896 stream processors) and 16 Compute Unit (1024 stream processor) versions of the Radeon RX 560 are available. We introduced the 14CU version this summer to provide AIBs and the market with more RX 500 series options. It’s come to our attention that on certain AIB and etail websites there’s no clear delineation between the two variants. We’re taking immediate steps to remedy this: we’re working with all AIB and channel partners to make sure the product descriptions and names clarify the CU count, so that gamers and consumers know exactly what they’re buying. We apologize for the confusion this may have caused.”

Original story follows...

As Tom’s Hardware reports, AMD issued a statement to clarify this: “There are [now] two variants of AMD Radeon RX 560. End users will definitely need to double check specs on variants. Typically the RX 560 14cu [compute units] version will sell lower than 16cu version, [and the] 14cu version will have lower power consumption. This allows our GPU partners to offer differentiation between different SKUs for different power and pricing segments.”

Jumble of jargon

For the non-tech-savvy, graphic card specs can be a somewhat confusing jumble of jargon and numbers at the best of times, so introducing different versions of video boards with different specs under the same model name will only add to the confusion.

Clearly, though, the onus is on the retailer and the buyer here. The vendor has to make it clear in the product description which version of the RX 560 that it’s selling, and if that doesn’t happen – or isn’t made clear enough – the buyer must check what version they’re getting by reading the description carefully (or checking over the actual spec details).

The other potential issue here is that folks may be looking at old reviews and benchmarks of the RX 560 and think they’re getting a certain level of power, which won’t be fully realized by the new spin on the card, if that’s the one they happen to buy.

It certainly isn’t an ideal situation, and one that could be easily avoided by AMD changing the model name of the lesser spec very slightly (i.e. just sticking an extra letter on) as has been done in the past.

When the original RX 560 was launched back in April, AMD made it clear that the card was aimed at the esports crowd, and getting 60 frames per second at Full HD resolution on the likes of Overwatch.

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).