AMD’s Radeon RX 460: A Review

Eight PCI-E lanes of pure pixel pushing power…


In this article we’ll be reviewing AMD’s Radeon RX 460 4GB. The card that AMD sampled us is Sapphire’s Nitro RX 460 OC model and it’s quite a looker. As our benchmarks shows this card offers a bit more than half the performance of AMD’s RX 470. At $140 its one of the more expensive RX 460 models on the market with the 2 GB version slotting in at $120 and competitor’s offerings going as low as $110. It’s also whisper quiet, lights up with LEDs, and requires a six pin connector to boot.


Eight Months later Polaris 11 Comes to Market

Based on AMD’s new Polaris architecture the RX 460 uses a die harvested version of the Polaris 11 die. It offers 14 4th generation GCN compute units, 2.2 Tflops of single precision compute, draws less than 75 Watts of power on average, and has a 1.2 Ghz boost clock rate. It’s fabbed in upstate New York on Global Foundries 14nm FinFET process.


Sapphire’s Nitro OC version of the RX 460 includes a semitransparent section of the PCB which is illuminated from the center of the card with blue LEDs resulting in a green glow when looking at the back of the PCB and a blue glow coming out through the fans. The PCB design itself is rather strange as it extends up and above the top of the PCI-E mounting bracket. We saw this extra tall PCB feature on MSI’s RX 470 as well, but we have yet to see it on a reference design from either Nvidia or AMD.


Who Needs Spare PCI-E Lanes?

Perhaps the strangest thing about AMD’s Radeon RX 460 is that I have yet to see a version of it with a full PCI-E x16 electrical pin out. While our sample shown above has the PCB space for a full 16 lane connection only contacts for 8 lanes are present. Given the amount of bandwidth that can be pushed over a PCI-E gen 3 lane and the limited performance of the RX 460 it seems reasonable to limit it to an 8 lane interface especially when you consider that this design choice probably decreased the bill of materials cost.


Although AMD claims that their RX 460 is a sub 75 Watt part if you look over the selection of cards on the market you’ll notice that more often than not partner designed RX 460’s have a six-pin PCI-E power connector. Sapphire’s Nitro is no exception to this trend.

Benchmarking AMD’s Radeon RX 460 4GB

For our testing in this article we’ll be using the same FX-8350 based test bed as we did in our RX 480 and RX 470 reviews. We used AMD’s Radeon Software 16.8.2 driver for the testing in this article.

AMD Radeon RX 460 Performance

The RX 460 offers somewhere between 52 percent and 82 percent of the performance of the RX 470. This is good given that this RX 460 is only about $40 cheaper than the cheapest RX 470 models. The price/performance gap is pretty linear all things considered and a far cry from the just-barely-better-than-integrated-graphics ~$100 to $150 GPUs of five years ago.

Sapphire’s Nitro Radeon RX 460 OC is a delightful graphics card that would be perfect in any kind of entry-level PC gaming build. AMD’s RX 460 needs a little bit of work from AMD’s partners to reach its full potential though. I’d love to see a few thoughtful, tiny RX 460 models without a six-pin power connector. But for now the RX 460 is a solid offering at $140. Personally I’d take a little more time and save up for an RX 470 though.S|A

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Thomas Ryan is a freelance technology writer and photographer from Seattle, living in Austin. You can also find his work on SemiAccurate and PCWorld. He has a BA in Geography from the University of Washington with a minor in Urban Design and Planning and specializes in geospatial data science. If you have a hardware performance question or an interesting data set Thomas has you covered.