Man, AMD doesn’t leave us much new to talk about when we review graphics cards these days. The company already took all the wraps off its Radeon RX 460 graphics card and its Polaris 11 GPU a couple weeks ago. The only open question at the time was how much RX 460 cards would sell for, and we now know that the card carries a $109.99-and-up suggested price. With that sticker, AMD is squarely taking aim at the budget space currently dominated by Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 750 Ti and its ultra-efficient GM107 Maxwell GPU.
The Polaris 11 GPU. Source: AMD
|RX 460||1090||1200||16||56/28||2.2||896||128||7||112||< 75W|
|GTX 750 Ti||1020||1085||16||40/40||1.4||640||128||5.4||86||60W|
For an idea of where this chip fits into AMD’s product line, the version of Polaris 11 on board the RX 460 most closely resembles the Bonaire chip in the R7 260X. It has 896 stream processors enabled (of a possible 1024 on the chip), a 128-bit path to memory, and 56 texture units. The move to 14-nm FinFET production lets AMD clock the chip at 1200MHz boost speeds, though, and it occupies a vague “less than 75W” thermal envelope instead of the 115W board power typical of R7 260X cards. AMD also pairs Polaris 11 with 2GB or 4GB of 7 GT/s GDDR5 memory, up from 6.5 GT/s on the 260X.
Here are some theoretical peak numbers to give an idea of how the RX 460 stacks up with a range of Radeons and GeForces:
|Radeon R7 260X||18||62/31||2.2||2.2||104|
|Radeon RX 460||19||67/34||2.4||2.2||112|
|Radeon RX 470||39||154/77||4.8||4.9||211|
|GeForce GTX 750 Ti||17||43/43||1.1||1.4||86|
|GeForce GTX 950||29||57/57||2.4||1.8||106|
|GeForce GTX 960||38||75/75||2.4||2.4||112|
These all may sound like mild bumps, but Polaris 11 inherits all of the same under-the-hood improvements that first showed up on the Radeon RX 480 and RX 470. If you haven’t already read our RX 480 review, you should head over there now to brush up on what AMD has improved with the fourth generation of its GCN architecture. In short, though, the most important bits of Polaris are its delta-color-compression facility for more efficient use of memory bandwidth, as well as a primitive-discard accelerator for more efficient geometry processing. Polaris also offers support for forward-looking standards like DisplayPort 1.3, HDMI 2.0b, and ultra-high-definition content like wide color gamuts and HDR video.
AMD sent over Sapphire’s handsome Nitro Radeon RX 460 card for our tests. This manifestation of Polaris 11 has 4GB of RAM on board, and it lists for $139.99. Sapphire’s board design has a six-pin power connector on board, so this isn’t the card to get for folks dreaming of plugging an RX 460 into a slot and going. (For that, you need this Asus or this MSI card, among others.)
Sapphire bumps the RX 460’s boost clock speed to 1250 MHz, and it rates the board for a 72W total power draw. While that figure might tempt the brave to try and run the card off the PCIe slot regardless, my test system wouldn’t run the card without the six-pin PCIe plug occupied. It’s also interesting that Sapphire only uses a PCIe 3.0 x8 connection for the RX 460. Given the copious bandwidth that bus offers, however, eight lanes of PCIe are probably sufficient for a chip with Polaris 11’s vitals.
Sapphire spruces up the Nitro card with an LED-backlit Nitro logo on the PCB’s back side. The LEDs behind this logo are a light blue (almost sapphire) color, but the yellow tone of the circuit board causes the light to appear greenish from the back side.
Undoing a few screws and flipping over the cooler reveals the Polaris 11 GPU itself. Sapphire uses a high-quality heatsink with a pair of heatpipes and a copper insert in an aluminum base plate. The plastic fan shroud comes off separately from the heatsink itself, making this cooler one of the easier ones to disassemble that I’ve ever had my hands on.
Here’s the Polaris 11 die. It’s tiny! Let’s see how it runs.
Our testing methods
As always, we did our best to deliver clean benchmarking numbers. Our test system was configured as follows:
|Processor||Intel Core i7-6700K|
|Motherboard||ASRock Z170 Extreme7+, BIOS version 3.10|
|Memory size||16GB (2 DIMMs)|
|Memory type||Corsair Vengeance LPX
DDR4 SDRAM at 3200 MT/s
|Chipset drivers||Intel Management Engine 22.214.171.1245
Intel Rapid Storage Technology V 126.96.36.1991
|Audio||Integrated Z170/Realtek ALC1150
Realtek 188.8.131.5225 drivers
|Hard drive||OCZ Vector 180 480GB SATA 6Gbps|
|Power supply||Corsair RM850|
|OS||Windows 10 Pro with Anniversary Update|
We used the following graphics cards and drivers to represent the GeForces and Radeons chosen for our benchmarks:
|Driver revision||GPU base
|Sapphire Radeon RX 460||Radeon Software 16.8.1 beta||–||1250||1750||4096|
|Asus Strix Radeon R7 370||Radeon Software 16.8.1 beta||–||1050||1400||4096|
|XFX Radeon R7 360||Radeon Software 16.8.1 beta||–||995||1400||2048|
|Asus GeForce GTX 950 2G||GeForce 368.81||1026||1190||1653||2048|
|MSI GeForce GTX 750 Ti N750TI-2GD5||GeForce 368.81||1058||1216||1750||2048|
This review marks the first time we’ve formally gathered DirectX 12 and Vulkan frame-time data for our Inside the Second testing methods. To make this happen, we’ve set aside Fraps in favor of PresentMon, a utility that monitors an application’s calls to the Present method using a facility called Event Tracing for Windows. PresentMon gives us a nice file full of frame times that we then plug straight into our data-digestion tools.
For the moment, we’re not running a three-frame moving average on this data before passing it into our internal tools, as we have with all of our Fraps frame-time info. PresentMon can be used to capture information from DirectX 11 and OpenGL applications, as well, so we’ve used it to gather all of the data you see on the following pages.
As you can see from the table above, we use custom-cooled, factory-boosted graphics cards in our testing. Whenever you see “GeForce GTX 950” or “Radeon R7 370” in our tests, for example, just remember we’re referring to these hopped-up cards rather than a reference design.
The Asus GTX 950-2G goes commando
No graphics card review is complete without some healthy competition. To represent the GeForce GTX 950, we picked up one of Asus’ GTX 950-2G cards. This is one of the much-ballyhooed GTX 950s that does without a six-pin power connector, and it’s available on Newegg for $134.99 right now.
See, I figured we would be getting a power-plug-less RX 460, as well, given the card’s frugal board power, and I guessed there’d be no better way to pit apples against apples than to get a similarly-provisioned GTX 950. That plan didn’t work out, of course, but we still have a nice GTX 950 to work with for the trouble.
Since this card can’t rely on external power to support a gratuitous factory clock-speed boost, Asus clocks it at near-reference 1026 MHz base and 1190 MHz boost speeds in its “gaming mode” clock profile. An “OC Mode” pushes those figures to 1051 MHz base and 1228 MHz boost speeds. We left the card in its Gaming Mode profile for our tests. Asus’ twin-fan cooler doesn’t spin down its fans at idle, but as you’ll see later on, that’s hardly an issue.
Now that we’ve set the stage, let’s get to testing.
Let’s kick off our next-generation benchmarking with a look at the Radeon RX 460’s performance in this year’s reimagining of Doom. To test this fast-paced FPS, I mauled some demons while retrieving a yellow security pass in the early stages of the game’s Foundry level. We created a custom blend of low and medium settings to make a playable framerate happen at 1920×1080 for these cards.
Out of the gate, the RX 460 takes a strong lead over the GeForce competition, and it even edges out the somewhat better-provisioned Pitcairn chip in the R7 370. The march of progess is a wonderful thing. The RX 460, R7 370, and GTX 950 cluster together in our latency-sensitive, 99th-percentile frame time result, while the Radeon R7 360 and GTX 750 Ti bring up the rear.
These “time spent beyond X” graphs are meant to show “badness,” those instances where animation may be less than fluid. The 50-ms threshold is the most notable one, since it corresponds to a 20-FPS average. We figure if you’re not rendering any faster than 20 FPS, even for a moment, then the user is likely to perceive a slowdown. 33 ms correlates to 30 FPS or a 30Hz refresh rate. Go beyond that with vsync on, and you’re into the bad voodoo of quantization slowdowns. And 16.7 ms correlates to 60 FPS, that golden mark that we’d like to achieve (or surpass) for each and every frame.
None of the cards we tested spend any time past the 50-ms mark, an excellent result. The GTX 950 also turns in a perfect score at the 33.3-ms threshold. Both the Radeon R7 370 and the RX 460 spend barely any time past this post, either, while the 750 Ti and R7 360 struggle to varying degrees.
At the critical 16.7-ms threshold, though, the RX 460 spends a little over half the time on tough frames that the R7 370 does. Impressively, the pint-sized Polaris spends about a fourth of the time that the GTX 950 does past 16.7 ms, as well. The RX 460 was noticeably smoother than the rest of the cards I tested in Doom with Vulkan enabled. That’s excellent performance from a chip ostensibly meant to replace the Bonaire silicon inside the R7 360. Let’s see if this behavior carries over to the card’s OpenGL performance.
To gather OpenGL numbers for Doom, we kept our graphics settings identical and flipped over to the OpenGL 4.5 renderer. You can switch between our Vulkan and OpenGL results by clicking the buttons beneath the graphs for easy comparison.
The conventional wisdom among enthusiasts is that Nvidia’s OpenGL driver is superior to AMD’s, and our numbers bear that out. Switching to Doom‘s OpenGL 4.5 renderer puts the GeForce GTX 950 on top of our average FPS measures, but only by about a 10% margin. The GTX 950’s 55-FPS average is practically identical to its performance in Vulkan, though, while the RX 460 loses a whopping 30% of its performance potential from the API change.
The other Radeons are similarly kneecapped by this move, and the R7 360 moves from “playable” to “marginal” thanks to its low average FPS and outsized 99th-percentile frame time. Stick with Doom‘s Vulkan renderer if you own a Radeon. This game wants to move fast, and 30 FPS just doesn’t cut it.
Here’s one instance where our measures of badness really show off their importance. The Radeon R7 360 struggles with frames that would drop frame rates below 30 FPS for over three seconds, compared to about one-tenth of a second with Vulkan enabled. All of our contenders struggle much more with frames that take more than 16.7 ms to render under OpenGL than they do with Vulkan, too. While Doom isn’t unpleasant to play under OpenGL, it’s just that much better with Vulkan enabled, and our numbers prove it.
Hitman (DirectX 12)
Hitman is one of AMD’s marquee titles for showing off what DirectX 12 can do on its cards. It’s a punishing title that tends to favor Radeons, so keep that in mind as we discuss our results. To test the game, we set up a blend of low and medium settings with ambient occlusion on. Like the rest of our tests, we ran Hitman at 1920×1080.
So that’s something. Flip on Hitman’s DirectX 12 mode, and the RX 460 takes a commanding lead in our average FPS measure, even beating out the better-provisioned Pitcairn chip on the R7 370 and the GM206 GPU that powers the GTX 950. Not only is the RX 460 the fastest thing going in this game, it also matches that high performance potential with the lowest 99th-percentile frame time of the bunch. In practice, that translates to a noticeably smoother gameplay experience than any other card we tested.
Given the class of card we’re working with, it’s probably best to start our “badness” analysis at the 33.3-ms mark. None of the Radeons spend a single millisecond past this point, so we can be assured they’re always delivering 30 FPS or better during our test run. The GeForces spend a bit of time working on frames past this point, but probably not enough to be significant.
Move to the time-spent-past-16.7-ms mark, though, and the RX 460 really shines. Of our one-minute test run, the flyweight Polaris card spends just four seconds working on frames that drop the average FPS rate below 60. The beefier R7 370 spends almost twice as much time churning on these tough frames, and the GeForces do worse still.
Even accounting for Hitman‘s apparently favorable disposition toward Radeons, this is remarkable performance for such a tiny GPU. Like we already noted, the RX 460 is the smoothest thing here by a wide margin, and it really shows. Let’s see if that performance continues in Hitman‘s DirectX 11 mode.
Hitman (DirectX 11)
To test Hitman‘s DirectX 11 performance, we used the same settings as we did for our DirectX 12 tests, just with DirectX 11 enabled instead of DirectX 12. To make comparing the two results easier, we’ve added switcher buttons beneath several of the graphs on this page for easy flipping between the APIs, just as we did with Doom and OpenGL.
Flip over to DX11, and the RX 460 doesn’t lose any performance potential. Its 99th-percentile frame time inches up a bit, though. The GeForce GTX 950 narrows the 99th-percentile frame time gap the RX 460 opened up with DirectX 12, but it can’t close it. The R7 370 maintains the same average FPS under DX11 that it did with DX12, but its 99th-percentile frame time gets a little worse. The R7 360 picks up a couple FPS, but its 99th-percentile time also suffers. The GTX 750 improves its 99th-percentile frame time, but its FPS average remains the same.
In layman’s terms, these numbers show that despite average FPS remaining largely the same between APIs, there are still meaningful changes in the perceived smoothness that a gamer will experience with a GeForce or Radeon running Hitman, all else being equal. Under DX11, these changes mostly favor the GeForces. Under DX12, they favor the Radeons. Simple, ish.
If we can toot our own horns for a moment here, these results show why our Inside the Second methods are vital in teasing out the differences between these cards. Were we only working with average FPS numbers, we might be tempted to say the cards perform similarly between Hitman‘s DirectX 12 and DirectX 11 modes, but our advanced frame-time metrics show us that such a blanket statement just isn’t true. With this data in hand, we can tell you exactly how performance varies for each card between these APIs—something average FPS data alone just can’t do. This stuff is really important, folks. Accept no substitutes.
Speaking of which, our “badness” measures let us further characterize the performance improvements the GeForces get from DirectX 11 and the debuffs the Radeons get under this API. Only the R7 360 and the GTX 750 Ti spend any time past the 33.3-ms mark, but the R7 360’s tally here is so small as to be insignificant.
Flip over to the 16.7-ms threshold, and we find the RX 460 still holds onto its smoothness lead here, even if it’s spending about 100 ms more on tough frames than under DX12. Even though the GTX 950 gets a big boost from the move to DX11, it’s still spending quite a bit more time on tough frames that drop the average frame rate below 60 FPS. The R7 370 has practically the same 99th-percentile frame time as the GTX 950, but it spends much less time churning on these difficult jobs.
Rise of the Tomb Raider (DirectX 12)
Rise of the Tomb Raider provides a demanding, beautiful setting for Lara Croft’s latest round of adventures. We ran the game on medium settings at 1920×1080 with some minor tweaks for better visuals than that preset offers.
If Hitman tends to favor Radeons, Rise of the Tomb Raider has shown a similar affinity for GeForces in our past tests. If we turn on DirectX 12, however, the RX 460 very nearly catches the GeForce GTX 950 in our average FPS measures. It also comes within a nose of tying the GTX 950’s 99th-percentile frame time. The Pitcairn-powered R7 370 hangs tight with the RX 460 and GTX 950, too. Not bad for a GPU that first debuted over four years ago.
No card in this test is consistently cracking 60 FPS, so it’s probably most instructive to consider our measures of “badness” at the 33.3-ms mark. The RX 460, R7 370, and GTX 950 all have no trouble maintaining at least 30 FPS over the course of our test. For what it’s worth, the RX 460 also spends the same amount of time working on frames that take 16.7 ms or longer to render as the GTX 950 does, although both of these cards spend about a third of our test run hard at work on those frames. Admirably, none of the cards spend significant amounts of time past the 50-ms mark, either. They’re not delivering face-melting frame rates, but at least they’re fairly consistent.
Rise of the Tomb Raider (DirectX 11)
Just as we did with Hitman and Doom, we merely flipped the API setting in RoTR‘s menus to DirectX 11 and repeated our tests.
Switch to DirectX 11 with Rise of the Tomb Raider, and all of our tested cards save the R7 360 get a small drop in 99th-percentile frame times, despite the outwardly similar frame rates between the APIs. The difference in 99th-percentile times isn’t huge, to be sure, but it does suggest that RoTR‘s DX11 rendering path delivers slightly smoother gaming performance in practice.
Once again, we’ll start our examination of “badness” using the 33.3-ms mark as our threshold. The GTX 950 turns in a near-sterling performance here, but the RX 460 and R7 370 aren’t far behind. Even the somewhat laggardly GTX 750 Ti doesn’t struggle much with difficult frames that take longer than 33.3 ms to render. Only the R7 360 spends a significant amount of time churning on these frames.
At least with these graphics cards and the settings we picked, Rise of the Tomb Raider seems to run smoothest under DirectX 11. We’ll have to explore whether that trend holds with more demanding settings on more powerful graphics cards at some point.
Grand Theft Auto V
Now that we’ve examined most of the titles that take advantage of next-gen graphics APIs on the market today, let’s go back to a good old DirectX 11 title. Grand Theft Auto V generally runs well on a wide range of hardware. We used the same settings for this test that we chose for our GTX 950 review, and we ran the game at 1920×1080, just as we did with the rest of our test suite.
Here, the GTX 950 stretches its legs, turning in the best average frame rate and 99th-percentile frame time of all the cards tested. The R7 370 and R7 360 both manage to get ahead of the RX 460 in GTA V, as well. All of the cards except for the GTX 750 Ti come quite close to delivering a solid 60 FPS thoughout our test period, though. The GTX 950’s 99th-percentile frame time even suggests near-perfect performance in that regard.
None of the cards spend any time past the 50-ms or 33.3-ms marks, so we can focus on their “badness” with regard to the critical 16.7-ms threshold. The GTX 950, R7 370, and R7 360 all have imperceptible blips past this point, but the RX 460’s record is marred a tiny bit by a quarter-second of time spent rendering frames that took longer than 16.7 ms to finish. Only the GTX 750 Ti’s result translated into issues I could feel, though. That card felt noticeably hitchier in practice than its competition.
Here’s another DirectX 11 favorite of ours. Despite its age, Crysis 3 can still put the hurt on modern graphics cards. For this test, we adjusted the game’s settings to their medium presets and hopped into our nanosuits.
Here’s another game where the old guard takes the trophy from the young gun. The R7 370 and the GTX 950 open up a 17% lead on the RX 460, though the cards’ 99th-percentile frame times suggest there’s more to that number than meets the eye. The RX 460’s average FPS number suggests it has enough performance potential to hit that magical 60-FPS figure, even if its 99th-percentile frame time also warrants further investigation.
None of the cards we tested spend appreciable time past the 50-ms or 33-ms mark, so let’s look at that magical 16.7-ms threshold. The R7 370 and GTX 950 each spend between one and two seconds of the one-minute test period working on challenging frames—not perfect, but nothing to worry much about. The RX 460, however, spends about six seconds in the churn zone. That result might translate to a less smooth gaming experience than the card’s near-60-FPS average might suggest.
The Witcher 3
We’ll close out our purely DX11 test suite today by checking in with Geralt of Rivia. We ran The Witcher 3 at 1920×1080 on its High preset.
While that High preset may have been a little too ambitious for our contenders, it does put the RX 460 and the GTX 950 neck-and-neck. The R7 370 stays in the mix, as well. The GTX 750 Ti and the R7 360 can charitably be described as offering console-class performance at these settings. None of the cards produced especially impressive 99th-percentile frame times in The Witcher 3, suggesting the spikes we see in the frame-time plot above are having a significant effect on perceived smoothness during gameplay. Let’s dig further.
Our top three performers all spend a small amount of time past the 33.3-ms threshold, but not enough to be worrisome. The GTX 750 Ti is quite overwhelmed by these settings, though. It spends two seconds past the 33.3-ms mark, enough to translate into a noticeably hitchy gameplay experience. I’d much rather play The Witcher 3 on the Radeon RX 460, given the choice.
These power consumption numbers aren’t peak results. Instead, we run a real-world workload—Crysis 3—on our graphics cards and take measurements while that game is running.
At idle, the RX 460’s contribution to our system power draw is no worse than the GeForce competition. It’s also competitive with the 28-nm GeForces in our test stable. The real story here is that the RX 460 is delivering basically the same class of performance as the 28-nm Pitcairn chip in the R7 370 while allowing our system to consume almost 60W less power under load. That’s an impressive increase in performance-per-watt.
To test each card’s noise levels, we set up an iPhone 6S Plus running the Faber Acoustical SoundMeter app. The meter was placed 14″ from the graphics card on our test bench. The noise floor in our testing environment is 30 dBA with our test system running.
Since the Radeon R7 370 and RX 460 can both shut their fans off at idle, they’re no louder than the noise floor in our test environment. The Asus GTX 950 keeps its fans running at all times, but its 31-dBA result will be extremely hard to notice in the average home.
At load, the Sapphire cooler on the RX 460 is somewhat tonal in its noise character, but it’s quiet enough that it almost certainly won’t be bothersome in a case. The Strix cooler on the Asus R7 370 is superlative—its noise has no distinct character, and it’s barely discernable over the rest of our test system. The cooler on the Asus GTX 950 is also quite good—it barely moves the needle on our sound meter app under load.
While the RX 460 may get a bit warm, it has no problems sustaining the 1250-MHz boost clock that Sapphire dials in. That temperature isn’t accompanied by bothersome heat or noise, so between that and the card’s clock stability, we have no complaints.
Before we dive deep into our concluding thoughts on the Radeon RX 460, let’s have a gander at six of our infamous value scatter plots. Since we now have DirectX 11, DirectX 12, and Vulkan data living together under the same roof, we needed to present that information in a way that’s fair, and we settled on three charts each for average-FPS-per-dollar and 99th-percentile-FPS-per-dollar data.
The first set of charts accounts for our average-FPS-per-dollar data. The first chart shows performance with current-gen graphics APIs only, i.e. OpenGL and DirectX 11. The second shows next-generation API numbers blended with the three DirectX 11-exclusive titles in our test suite. The final chart is a “best-API” graph that lets each card take its best result from each API we tested, also blended with results from the three DirectX 11-exclusive games in our suite.
Going by performance with today’s APIs, the Radeon RX 460 has just about as much performance potential as the Asus GTX 950 we tested, and its slightly higher price tag gets buyers 4GB of RAM. That’s a pretty good deal for $140. Look at next-gen API performance in isolation, and the RX 460 narrowly edges out the GTX 950—but so does the Radeon R7 370, a Pitcairn-powered card that also comes with 4GB of RAM.
Surprisingly, the four-year-old Pitcairn is the price-to-performance champion in our final “best APIs” measure of potential performance with average FPS. The excellent Asus R7 370 I tested is going for $139.99 on Newegg right now, and a $30 rebate card brings that price down to $109.99. Pitcairn has a lot missing, though, like all of Polaris’ next-gen video and display support mojo. It also won’t run 4K or FreeSync displays. Still, gamers who don’t care about those things might still find Pitcairn a decent bargain. We would look to the future and nab an RX 460 anyway.
What about our latency-sensitive 99th-percentile-FPS-per-dollar metric? The GTX 950 is our smoothness champion for DX11 and OpenGL, while the GTX 950, the R7 370, and RX 460 all tie in our next-gen-APIs-only chart. Throw the best results from each API in a blender, and the GTX 950 comes out on top. Still, it’s pretty neat that AMD has narrowed what has long been a large gap —and an expanded lineup of DirectX 12 titles could eventually swing the pendulum in the RX 460’s favor. The fact that 2GB RX 460s exist for $110 to $120 can’t be ignored, either. A theoretical RX 460 2GB dot in the chart above is in a very appealing spot.
With the arrival of the RX 460, AMD has laid all of its 14-nm cards on the table for now. Truthfully, this is the next-gen Radeon that surprises and impresses me the most. We all lust after the shiny Ferrari behind the velvet rope, but most people get around in Honda Civics. With the RX 460, AMD has a Civic-like card that offers much better performance across the board than the evergreen GTX 750 Ti, both in average FPS and our advanced metrics. It also lays waste to the Bonaire-powered R7 360 that it replaces in the red team’s model lineup.
All together, Polaris’ underhood improvements and inherent smoothness come together to offer a quality gaming experience that used to cost a lot more than AMD’s $109.99 suggested price. I say “used to” because Nvidia apparently saw this baby bruiser coming, so it cooked up an aggressive set of rebate offers for the GTX 950 in response. The Asus GTX 950 we got our hands on for testing goes for just $105 after rebate on Newegg right now, and TR readers pointed out GTX 950s going for as little as $99.99 after rebate this week. Rebates are risky things at the best of times, but we might take a gamble for such juicy deals.
With competitively-priced GTX 950s elbowing in on its turf, the RX 460’s value proposition will depend on whether you play lots of DirectX 11 games now (like we imagine most people do) and you don’t see anything appealing on the DX12 horizon. If that’s the case, a cheap GTX 950 may be most appealing for its low frame times and quiet running. Those cards’ 2GB of RAM is already starting to feel claustrophobic to us in a lot of titles, though, while the RX 460 is one of the few cards in its price class that offers a 4GB option.
If your Steam library already contains next-gen titles like Doom and Hitman that take advantage of Vulkan and DirectX 12, though, the RX 460 can deliver surprising performance at 1920×1080. Doom especially feels like it’s running on a much more expensive graphics card when paired with the RX 460. Other DX12 titles, like Rise of the Tomb Raider, actually have a detrimental effect on the card’s performance. Still, the RX 460 offers plenty smooth gameplay in DX11 titles as a fallback case, even if its frame rates aren’t always best-in-class. Heck, even if the only next-generation game you play on this card is Doom, you’ll have lots and lots of fun for the money.
The most intriguing place we may yet see Polaris 11 is mobile devices. AMD has long indicated it’ll be working hard to get these chips into entry-level gaming notebooks, and if the RX 460 is any indication, we may actually end up with compelling yet affordable laptops that can deliver a smooth, solid gaming experience. If that’s the case, Polaris looks like it’ll continue shining brightly for AMD. We’re just curious what, if anything, Nvidia has in store to steal AMD’s spotlight at this price point. If the brisk pace of GPU releases from the green team this year are any indication, we won’t have long to find out.
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