If you want to PC game on a budget, AMD has your back.
After rolling out the Radeon RX 480 and 470 chips, AMD has now launched the RX 460 starting at $110. We are looking at the Sapphire Nitro Radeon RX 460 OC, which is a $140 variation. It features 4GB of video memory, a small size, and a low noise profile. AMD is positioning this low-end card as its “esports” model, meaning it can handle games like Overwatch, Rocket League, League of Legends, and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive but struggles with more visually intensive single-player experiences like The Witcher 3 and The Division.
But plenty of people want an inexpensive card that will get them high-end performance in online multiplayer games. After all, millions of people play League of Legends, Dota 2, and CS:GO. And that is who AMD is targeting with the 460, and I think this GPU is a winner for everyone in that audience.
What you’ll like
Plenty of power for the price
Going from a 1080 or even a 480 down to the 460 is a steep drop off, but it’s easy to accept the limits of AMD’s low-end graphics chip when you see its price. I tested the card out on the same system I tested the RX 470 and 480 on — with an Intel Core i5-4690K, 16GB of G.Skill DDR3 memory, and Z97-Pro motherboard. I ran all the tests at 1080p on Ultra with 4X MSAA.
But you’re not going to buy the RX 460 for Ultra graphics at 60 frames per second. That’s not how this works. AMD has two other options for that. If you’re considering the 460, it means you are looking to build a budget rig. So while the 460 struggles with maxed-out graphics at 1080p, it starts to come into its own when you lower the visuals to their medium settings or if you target 30 frames per second.
What it does handle at 1080p60, however, are those aforementioned “esports” games. Rocket League plays wonderfully on the 460 as does Counter-Strike, Dota 2, and Overwatch.
Does console quality without issue
One of the more interesting selling points of the 460 is that it is slightly more powerful than a PlayStation 4 or Xbox One. That means you can build a brand new PC rig with a shiny new card that can outmatch those systems for around $350 to $450. Here’s how a few cross-platform games performed on each system:
If you just want something that’ll match the consoles but with the benefits of PC gaming, this card will get the job done.
Silent and cool
One of the biggest benefits of AMD’s Pascal GPU graphics chips is that they run cooler and more efficiently than previous generations, and that is even more obvious with the 460. The card barely makes a squeak even under load. The version I’m running, the Sapphire Nitro, includes special cooling, and that keeps the device under 70 degrees centigrade most of the time.
What you won’t like
This is not your locked 1080p60 card
Don’t buy this card expecting miracles. It’s not AMD’s answer to 1080p60 Ultra PC gaming. If you want that, go with the 470 or 480. The 460 struggles to get into a respectable framerate at max settings on most modern games. That’s just the nature of this card.
AMD wants you. If you’re reading this review, it’s likely because you’re hoping to save some cash on your next PC build. While Nvidia’s $250 offering of the 1060 easily outperforms the 460, you’re going to pay a lot less for the low-end Radeon. And AMD’s strategy is to give cost-conscious consumers an option that will leave a few extra dollars in your wallet when you go to build a rig that can handle most of the today’s top competitive titles. On that front, the 460 is your go-to.
The AMD Radeon RX 460 is out now starting at $110. The Sapphire Nitro Radeon RX 460 OC that we tested is also available for $140. AMD provided this video card to GamesBeat for the purposes of this review.