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AMD Radeon RX 460 review

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  • GTX 1050 RX 460 benchmarks 3
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Summary

Our Score:

8

Pros

  • Cheapest models are good value
  • Good eSports performance

Cons

  • Power hungry
  • Pricier models are too expensive

Key Features

  • 896 stream processors
  • 2GB GDDR5 (4GB models available)
  • 1,220MHz boost clock
  • TDP: 150W (six-pin ATX power)
  • Manufacturer: AMD
  • Review Price: £104.00

What is the AMD Radeon RX 460?

The Radeon RX 460 is AMD’s cheapest current-generation graphics card, with cards shipping for a spectacular sub-£90. It’s made for Full HD eSports games and low-end AAA gaming. But the focus here is with the games that need only modest amounts of processing power and a small helping of video memory.

The card on test, provided by AMD, is the 2GB XFX Double Dissipation Edition, which retails for around £104 at the time of review. Note that this probably isn't the version we’d recommend; there are far more compact cards available for £90 that will provide very similar performance.

The RX 460 is also available in 4GB models, although this strikes me as something of a false economy given the sort of games the RX 460 is aimed at. It's the 2GB model at the bottom end of the RX 460's price range that makes the most sense.

AMD Radeon RX 460 – Specs and Design

The RX 460 runs on AMD’s Polaris architecture, which is also found on the more expensive RX 470 and RX 480 cards. Polaris competes against Nvidia’s Pascal architecture but is substantially less efficient, which can be seen by the power consumption differences across the range.

Related: Best graphics cards

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Still, it’s AMD’s most efficient architecture at the time of writing, running on a 14nm (nanometre) architecture with a 1,220MHz boost clock and 896 stream processors.

You get a single DisplayPort 1.4, HDMI 2.0b port and DVI-D port on this model, along with 2GB of GDDR5 memory running at 7GHz.

RX 460

This model uses two fairly large fans to keep cool, limiting the noise somewhat. It isn't really a looker though, showing its budget origins by way of the glossy plastic and unsubtle red highlights.

AMD Radeon RX 460 – Performance Benchmarks

I benchmarked the RX 460 in our usual test rig that includes the following components.

At this stage I should point out that the test rig is probably more highly specified than the sort of PC for which the RX 460 is made. The mid-range to high-end components here are rather at odds with the RX 460’s budget pricing, and this GPU would make far more sense in a cheaper and more compact system. The benchmark results below are a best-case scenario.

I ditched TrustedReviews' usual suite of benchmarks here and focused instead on the types of games for which the RX 460 is designed. I swapped out Tomb Raider and GTA V for Overwatch and CounterStrike: Global Offensive (CS:GO), although I kept both Hitman and Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor to discover the capability of this card when playing AAA games at Medium settings.

These are the same benchmarks on which I ran the competing Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050.

CounterStrike: Global Offensive

CS:GO is the easiest benchmark of this set, offering up frame rates in excess of 200fps. I tested it at High presets in Full HD but without VSync for the snappiest, lag-free play you can achieve on a high-refresh-rate monitor.GTX 1050 RX 460 benchmarks

The RX 460 scored an average frame rate of 216fps in the test, which is obviously more than playable and makes the most out of nearly every single high-refresh-rate monitor on the market.

Overwatch

Overwatch is part of the latest generation of eSports titles, with a mix of fast-paced gameplay and stylised but high-fidelity graphics. Again, I ran this at Full HD and High presets to see what the RX 460 is capable of.GTX 1050 RX 460 benchmarks 2

At Overwatch’s default settings for the RX 460 – a mix of Medium and Low – the RX 460 managed 116fps. To keep things equal, I normalised the settings to match the GTX 1050 so both could be compared, like-for-like. Here, AMD’s GPU managed 87.2fps, which is once again very playable.

Hitman

Hitman is a AAA title that can prove challenging for graphics cards. Indeed, I had to override the game’s memory settings in order to turn everything up to Medium with 2x anti-aliasing. While it isn't what the RX 460 was made for, it’s worth looking at in case you fancy a break from your RPGs and online FPS titles.GTX 1050 RX 460 benchmarks 1

Hitman typically favours AMD cards, and since I ran the test in DirectX 12 mode, the RX 460 happily beat the rival GTX 1050 here with a score of 52.3fps.

Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor

Less challenging than Hitman, the Shadow of Mordor benchmark is a useful way to see how a GPU handles explosion and weather effects in a recent AAA title. I ran this test at Full HD on Medium presets.GTX 1050 RX 460 benchmarks 3

In this final test the RX 460 put in a great result, managing 72.6fps. The GTX 1050 achieved a result that was 9% faster, but this is still a very playable result at these settings.

3DMark: Fire Strike Extreme

In an unexpected result, the GTX 1050 beat the RX 460 with a score (3,281) that was 28% better than the RX 460. While this is an artificial benchmark that doesn’t have a huge amount of real-world relevance, it’s interesting to note the difference between the two cards when the going gets really tough.

Power consumption

If the best thing about the RX 460 is its low price, the worst is its power consumption. With a 150W TDP (thermal design power), it’s about as hungry as an RX 470 and has a figure that’s double the GTX 1050 and GTX 1050 Ti. This really limits its usefulness as an upgrade from a much older GPU in a budget system, since it might need more power cables than your system has.

RX 460

What’s more, this power consumption will affect the whole range. So RX 460s will universally be more power-thirsty than more powerful GTX 1050s. This, for me, is what gives the the GTX 1050 the edge.

Should I buy the RX 460?

When bought for £90, the RX 460 is actually pretty good value, coming in a full £20 cheaper than the lowest-priced GTX 1050s. However, the unit on test here represents part of the range that's more expensive, and is priced almost equally to the GTX 1050.

So the answer to the "should I buy" question comes down to how much you’re willing to pay. If you’re willing to pay over £100, buy the GTX 1050 instead. If your budget can't stretch beyond £90 (or you prefer AMD’s excellent Radeon software), the RX 460 is a good buy.

RX 460

Personally, I wouldn’t recommend a 4GB model since this is beyond what most low-end titles will need – although if the price difference is marginal, then you might as well.

Verdict

Cheap and cheerful – but power-hungry.

Overall Score

8

ET3D

March 6, 2017, 1:49 pm

Just came upon this review and saw you saying the RX 460's TDP is 150W. It's in fact 75W. I guess you're not really to be trusted, even with that site name.

Flicefer

March 17, 2017, 12:36 pm

75 watt not 150w

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