Testing AMD Radeon RX 460 using Sapphire Nitro RX 460 4G D5 as an example


AMD continues to advance on all fronts. After the release of the Radeon RX 480, a slightly stripped-down version followed under the name Radeon RX 470, and today the Radeon RX 460 officially goes on sale. This review is dedicated to this budget new generation video card. We’ll take a look at the features of the Radeon RX 460 and immediately test Sapphire’s non-reference top-end version with improved cooling and more memory.

Radeon RX 460

Radeon RX 460

Radeon RX 460 became the third AMD video card of the new series. Unlike the RX 470/480, it is based on a different graphics chip and was originally designed for the segment of cheaper and more affordable solutions. The novelty is based on a processor codenamed Polaris 11, which in general structure resembles a Tobago/Bonaire chip. Polaris 11 has a total of 14 Compute Units for 896 stream processors, 56 texture units and 16 ROPs. All this exactly corresponds to the set of computing units of the Bonaire GPU, which was released with the Radeon HD 7790. However, Polaris 11 is a full-fledged representative of the new architecture, which is already the fourth generation of GCN (Graphics Core Next). Therefore, Polaris 11 has all the architectural improvements of Polaris 10. The efficiency of the compute units has been improved, color data compression allows for more efficient use of the memory bandwidth, Asynchronous Compute is supported, energy efficiency has been improved due to the transition to a new process technology.

Radeon RX 460

Architectural improvements are combined with a significant increase in operating frequencies. This was made possible thanks to the most advanced 14nm process technology, which only AMD has mastered in the graphics solutions segment. Recall that the new GeForce models of the Pascal family are made according to the 16-nm process technology. As a result, the core frequency of the Radeon RX 460 is increased to 1200 MHz, which is the maximum value. This value is supported if the video card is within certain limits of power and operating temperatures. If the limits are exceeded, the frequency is gradually reduced, but not below the base level of 1090 MHz. The memory bus is 128 bits, but, as noted above, its efficiency is higher than that of models of previous generations. GDDR5 memory modules are used with an effective data rate of 7 GHz. That is, in terms of frequencies, we also see a good qualitative increase relative to the Radeon R7 260X or Radeon HD 7790. At the same time, the TDP level is limited to a modest value of 75 watts. There are two options for a video card based on the new chip with different memory sizes – 2 GB or 4 GB.

AMD, when comparing the potential of new items, is repelled by the GeForce GTX 750 Ti or Radeon R7 260X, but taking into account all the architectural improvements, the new graphics accelerator will be able to compete with more powerful solutions. In this you will clearly see the results of our testing. In the meantime, for comparison, we present data on the Radeon RX 460 and its direct and indirect predecessors in one table.

Video adapter Radeon RX 460 Radeon R7 370 Radeon R7 260X Radeon HD 7790
Core Polaris 11 Trinidad Bonaire Bonaire
Number of transistors, million pieces n/a 2800 2080 2080
Process technology, nm 14 28 28 28
Core area, sq. mm n/a 212 160 160
Number of stream processors 896 1024 896 896
Number of texture blocks 56 64 56 56
Number of render units 16 32 16 16
Core frequency, MHz 1090-1200 to 975 1000 1000
Memory bus, bit 128 256 128 128
Memory type GDDR5 GDDR5 GDDR5 GDDR5
Memory frequency, MHz 7000 5600 6000 6000
Memory size, MB 2048/4096 2048 2048 1024
Supported version of DirectX 12 12 12 12
Interface PCI-E 3.0 PCI-E 3.0 PCI-E 3.0 PCI-E 3.0
Power, W 75 110 to 115 85

Polaris is currently billed as the most efficient architecture for asynchronous computing, allowing better parallelization of heterogeneous tasks, making the most efficient use of computing resources for rendering game physics, artificial intelligence, additional lens effects or other post-processing effects. The Radeon RX 460 also supports the new Vulkan API, which takes advantage of AMD’s Mantle, improving GPU interaction at a basic level. Vulkan support has recently been added to the DOOM shooter, resulting in a nice performance boost. You will see concrete results in our testing.

Given the strong support for new APIs, AMD considers its graphics cards to be the best solution for a new generation of games. The Radeon RX 470 and Radeon RX 480 should provide comfortable performance in modern games with high graphics quality. The potential of the Radeon RX 460 is somewhat more modest, but in its category it will be the most progressive solution.

Radeon RX 460

If we talk about eSports, then the video card will provide high fps in any disciplines. And here, too, support for new technologies will find application. For example, the new Vulkan API in Dota 2 will allow you to get an acceleration of more than 20%. The corresponding results are given in their materials by AMD. So we can expect a corresponding update for the game soon.

Radeon RX 460

Improved streaming and video capturing capabilities will also come in handy for gamers. For the RX 400 family, hardware support for high-resolution video content up to 4K is announced.

Radeon RX 460

The Radeon RX 460 is equipped with an HDMI 2.0 interface connector and a DisplayPort version 1.4 port. The new HDR format is supported.

The reference video card fully meets its budgetary status – a small board, simple cooling.

Radeon RX 460

Many AMD partners have already introduced alternatives with improved cooling. We got a video card from Sapphire with an efficient cooler, high frequencies and 4 GB of memory. How powerful this combination will be, we will find out from the results of our testing.


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