An esports card, but is it worth it?
AMD’S HAD AN INCREDIBLE RUN since the launch of Polaris. Indeed, the RX 480 has scooped up a number of awards. The GTX 1080 may be the king of the frame rates, but it’s the dollars per fps that cinch the deal for us. So, how far can you push the value bracket before things go asunder?
AMD’s Radeon RX 460 is a low-end budget card. Aimed at esports gaming, particularly Leagueo fLeg ends and DOTA II, it’s not a great pixel-destroyer, nor is it capable of channeling AAA titles at acceptable frame rates. That said, that’s how we do most of our testing, so to ignore it would be ludicrous, regardless of how much AMD moans at us about it.
So, you can grab a sizable chunk of Polaris 11. With currently only the RX 460 in this tiny 14nm graphics family, this variant comes with three billion transistors, 896 shader units, and 2GB of GDDR5 on a 128-bit bus, allowing for a total memory bandwidth of 112GB/s. That’s quite a drop from Polaris 10. In fact, it’s over 2 billion transistors and 1,152 shader units fewer than its closest neighbor, the RX 470. That’s a difference for more than double the performance of the RX 460. And, boy, does it show. At 1080p, the RX 460 hardly competes in our benchmark suite, scoring a paltry average frame rate of 14 in Attila ,12 in Rise of the Tomb Raider, and 30 in Far Cry Primal, a game well known for its solid optimization in our benchmarks.
Yes, cynics will be saying, “Well, it’s not built for that,” and we have to agree: no, it’s not. Its design ethos is entirely centered around esports. If you’re an esports gamer, you’re going to want this, right? Thing is, you don’t just play one game for eternity. Perhaps you’re not interested in grinding out ladder today, but instead want to jump into an RPG, or the latest Assassin’s Creed, or Project Cars? Well, if you chose this card, you couldn’t, not without dropping the graphical settings quite considerably.
The pros, who play CS:GO,LoL,DOTA II, or Overwatch every day, already have top-end cards, because they want the highest frame rates, and the quickest refreshes they can get. And more casual esport gamers aren’t going to be dedicated enough to not play other games on the side.
We keep seeing this trend—products designed with such a niche market in mind that they fail to excel at what they were designed to do. Intel’s latest NUC, for example, had the whole gaming nomenclature down to a T, yet struggled with gaming. These are products that are still very impressive, but the marketing pisions seem content to stick labels on them that simply don’t fit.
For what it’s worth, for its overall die size, the GPU at the heart of the RX 460 is an incredibly strong performer. But for the price, it’s way off. And considering you have the likes of the RX 470 and 4GB 480, it simply doesn’t make sense as to why this card is priced so high. It’s a budget option, which has a price to performance efficiency comparable to a Fury X or GTX 1070—but without the performance. –ZAK STOREY
XFX Radeon RX 460
RADICAL Low power; small form factor; good for MOBAs.
ROTTEN Price; incompatible with Ashes; poor price to performance; limited gaming.
- Low power; small form factor; good for MOBAs.
- Price; incompatible with Ashes; poor price to performance; limited gaming.