Pro Good overclocking potential
The MSI Gaming X RX 480 allows for further overclocking and is optimized for use with MSI's own Afterburner software. In this particular case, a maximum boost clock of 1370 MHz was achieved (over a reference 1267 MHz, an 8% increase) and a memory clock of 9000 MHz (compared to the original 8000 MHz (+ 12.5%). This resulted in a score of 4796 in the 3D Mark Time Spy benchmark and some performance improvements in games as well. In Hitman for example, an overclocked MSI Gaming RX 480 achieves an average framerate of 64 FPS, while the same card without overclocks achieves an average of 57 frames per second.
Pro Great cooling system prevents throttling
The RX 480 8 GB Gaming X features MSI's Twin Frozr IV cooler which results in low temperatures for the GPU. When idling, the GPU heats up to 37 degrees Celsius at stock speeds. Although this may sound a little on the higher side, the cooler does not spin up at all until it reaches 60° C. In full load situations, a maximum temperature of 73 degrees C is reached, which is still 9 degrees lower than a reference RX 480.
Lower temperatures not only allow a longer lifespan for the graphics card, but it also prevents throttling. Throttling is the phenomenon where the card slows itself down (it reduces the clock speed) in order to cool down and prevent overheating, effectively sacrificing performance. This never occurs with the Gaming X card.
Pro Adjustable RGB LED lightning makes your card look even cooler
The exterior of the MSI Gaming X 8 GB features some LED lights (the shards surrounding the cooler) which are color-adjustable to any RGB color via MSI's included software package. This allows you to customize the look of the graphics card, which can be useful if your setup is built with a specific color scheme in mind.
Pro Most affordable 8GB card
The RX 480 comes in two sizes - 4GB of 8GB. The 8GB cards are all more expensive than the 4GB cards, and this MSI Gaming X card is the cheapest priced 8GB card. Especially if you want to run a multi-monitor setup (or even just a single very high resolution display), the extra VRam will help out a lot.
Pro Quietest RX 480 when under a full load
MSI's TwinFrozr cooler (exact same one used on the MSI GTX 1060 Gaming X) is accompanied by 3 heatpipes, and together this cooling system remains extremely quiet even when under a fully stressed load. It only measures 31dBA when fully stressed. The idle noise is slightly on the louder side at 29dBA - it's truly amazing how quiet this card remains when under a full load.
Pro 8-pin power connector allows for plenty of headroom
A reference RX 480 is equipped with a 6-pin power connector, but the power limit of the 6-pin connector has proven to be an issue for the RX 480 cards, as the total power consumption is sometimes higher than specified. The RX 480 Gaming 8 GB uses an 8-pin connector and although an 8-pin connector requires more power than a 6-pin connector, this effectively eliminates all concerns about the RX 480's power consumption and distribution. It also allows plenty of headroom for overclocking the card even further.
Con Higher price tag due to low availability
The manufacturer suggested retail price (MSRP) is only $269.99, although it is nearly impossible to find this 8GB RX 480 card at that price. High demand has caused the price to go up, although since launching the prices aren't as high as they once were.