AMD Radeon RX 560 4GB Review: 1080p Gaming On The Cheap

Conclusion

The pace at which new hardware hit our lab this summer meant we couldn’t review all of AMD’s Radeon RX 500-series cards consecutively. As a result, we had to draw some informed hypotheses in our regularly-updated Best Graphics recommendations. One such assumption was that, based on our experience with Radeon RX 460, the better-equipped RX 560 would easily earn a place on our list. After all, AMD’s Polaris 11 “Baffin” GPU was wielding an extra 128 Stream processors at an almost 8%-higher base clock rate. And the games we test today are far more heavily weighted to DirectX 12 and Vulkan compared to when we reviewed GeForce GTX 1050/1050 Ti. Given what we know about the GCN and Pascal architectures, this shift was sure to favor AMD.

As it turns out, though, Radeon RX 560 has to contend with strong competition. Make no mistake: the card is faster than its predecessor. Sometimes that advantage is limited to a 5% boost, and other times it stretches to 10%. But the GeForce GTX 1050 doesn’t seem to be held back by its 2GB of GDDR5, even at 1080p. Thus, it readily trades blows with AMD’s card. The RX 560 excels in Doom and Hitman, while GTX 1050 Ti scores wins in The Witcher 3 and World of Warcraft. The rest of our suite ends in a fundamental draw.

Some of that could be attributable to our test platforms. The Radeon RX 460 and GeForce GTX 1050/1050 Ti reviews employed Core i7-6700K-powered PCs. This time around, we wanted to use a more mainstream configuration representative of the value-oriented GPUs, so both graphics cards are paired to a Core i3-6320.

While Radeon RX 560 doesn’t set itself apart from GeForce GTX 1050 in any dramatic way, the Polaris 11-based board still deserves its place on our Best Graphics list. Days ago, the card was readily available at $120 (£100). Now it seems to start around $130 (£110). But for that price you get serviceable performance in the latest games at 1920x1080, provided you’re willing to use medium-quality presets.

Our Asus ROG Strix Radeon RX 560 O4GB Gaming OC Edition sample facilitates respectable overclocking headroom, operates at acceptable temperatures, and isn’t particularly loud. It does require a six-pin power connector and two available expansion slots, but those are fairly standard requirements these days. Let's be specific, though. At $150 (£140), where the ROG Strix card sells, you're better off with a GeForce GTX 1050 Ti. Our endorsement of Radeon RX 560 applies when the AMD card is priced within $10 of the lower-end (and more comparable) GTX 1050.

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25 comments
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  • firerod1
    Cute the price of the 560 by 20$ than it will work.
  • RomeoReject
    Cutting it by $20 would make it a $100 card. They'd likely be losing money at that price point.
  • firerod1
    1866881 said:
    Cutting it by $20 would make it a $100 card. They'd likely be losing money at that price point.


    I meant this card since it’s 1050 ti price while offering 1050 performance.
  • cryoburner
    Quote:
    ...we couldn’t wait to see how Radeon RX 560 improved upon it.


    Is that why you waited almost half a year to review the card? :3
  • shrapnel_indie
    582021 said:
    Quote:
    ...we couldn’t wait to see how Radeon RX 560 improved upon it.
    Is that why you waited almost half a year to review the card? :3


    Did you read the review?

    At the beginning of the conclusion:
    Quote:
    The pace at which new hardware hit our lab this summer meant we couldn’t review all of AMD’s Radeon RX 500-series cards consecutively.
  • Wisecracker
    4GB on the Radeon RX 560 = "Mining Card"

    The minimal arch (even with the extra CUs) can't use 4GB for gaming like the big brother 570. The 2GB RX 560 even trades blows with its 4GB twin, along with the 2GB GTX 1050, at the $110-$120 price point for the gamer bunch.

    Leave the RX 560 4GB for the "Entrepreneurial Capitalist" crowd ...
  • bit_user
    I think your power dissipation for the 1050 Ti is wrong. While I'm sure some OC'd model use more, there are 1050 Ti's with 75 W TDP.

    Also, I wish the RX 560 came in a low-profile version, like the RX 460 did (and the GTX 1050 Ti does). This excludes it from certain applications. It's the most raw compute available at that price & power dissipation.
  • senzffm123
    correct, i got one of those 1050 TI with 75 W TDP in my rig, doesnt have a power connector as well. hell of a card!
  • turkey3_scratch
    My RX 460 I bought for $120 back in the day (well, not that far back). There were some for $90 I remember, too. Seems like just an RX 460. Well, it is basically an RX 460.
  • jdwii
    Man Amd what is up with your GPU division for the first time ever letting Nvidia walk all over you in performance per dollar, performance per watt and overall performance, this is very sad.

    Whatever Amd is doing with their architecture and leadership in the GPU division needs to change. I can't even think of a time 2 years ago and before where nvidia ever offered a better value.
  • nukedathlonman
    I had flashed my XFX RX-460 to an RX-560 (no issues in doing this simple BIOS flash) - I got no complaints about it. Performs well (60FPS is all I aim for given my older 60hz non-freesync display) in gameing at 1920x1200 at high (Deus Ex Mankind) or medium high settings (GTA V) with an overclocked Phenom II x6 backing it up. GPU is still the bottleneck, buy I don't care given the systems age and how little I've spent on it.
  • nukedathlonman
    I flashed my 4GB XFX RX-460 to an RX-560 - got no complaints about either RX-460 or RX-560. I only aim for 60fps (older 60hz panel, no freesync) and get that with high or medium high settings at 1920x1200. I do like how quiet my card is.
  • cryoburner
    330834 said:
    Did you read the review? At the beginning of the conclusion:
    Quote:
    The pace at which new hardware hit our lab this summer meant we couldn’t review all of AMD’s Radeon RX 500-series cards consecutively.

    But they said they "couldn't wait" to review it, when they apparently could. : P

    And technically, the RX 560 was released in the spring, not the summer, though it's possible that they might not have got a unit in for review until a bit later. It is worth pointing out that the GT 1030 came out around the same time though, and they had no problem getting a review up for that over two and a half months ago.

    It also seems like an RX 560 review might have been worth prioritizing, in light of the fact that any higher-end cards from AMD have been priced out of the market for months due to cryptocurrency mining. Had it not been for the miners, the RX 570 would have likely been available for not much more than $150 by this point.
  • cangelini
    328798 said:
    I think your power dissipation for the 1050 Ti is wrong. While I'm sure some OC'd model use more, there are 1050 Ti's with 75 W TDP. Also, I wish the RX 560 came in a low-profile version, like the RX 460 did (and the GTX 1050 Ti does). This excludes it from certain applications. It's the most raw compute available at that price & power dissipation.


    Good catch--should be 75W. Fixed!
  • cangelini
    582021 said:
    Quote:
    ...we couldn’t wait to see how Radeon RX 560 improved upon it.
    Is that why you waited almost half a year to review the card? :3


    We didn't get RX 560s for our U.S. and German labs until recently--after all of the other craziness this year.
  • damric
    As someone pointed out, you can unlock the shaders on the RX 460 to full equivalent RX 560. Was figured out when all of the Mac versions of the RX 460 were already shipping fully unlocked.
  • bit_user
    365092 said:
    Man Amd what is up with your GPU division for the first time ever letting Nvidia walk all over you in performance per dollar, performance per watt and overall performance, this is very sad. Whatever Amd is doing with their architecture and leadership in the GPU division needs to change. I can't even think of a time 2 years ago and before where nvidia ever offered a better value.

    It's actually not bad, if you look at the benchies. Particularly in DX12 and Vulkan, it's very close to the more expensive 1050 Ti. Even beats it, in one case.

    As to your question about how this came about, the game changer seems to have come when Nvidia switched to tile-based rendering, in Maxwell (900 series). Ever since, AMD hasn't been able to catch up.
  • Cryio
    RX 560: As fast or faster than 1050.

    If we add Tessellation Override to x16 or x8 in driver: Substantially universally faster than 1050, probably on the same playing field or faster than 1050 Ti.

    Conclusion: Must buy as a low-end GPU.
  • logainofhades
    It is like AMD isn't even trying, due to their focus on Ryzen. Oh well, they make miners happy I guess.
  • cryoburner
    365092 said:
    Man Amd what is up with your GPU division for the first time ever letting Nvidia walk all over you in performance per dollar, performance per watt and overall performance, this is very sad. Whatever Amd is doing with their architecture and leadership in the GPU division needs to change. I can't even think of a time 2 years ago and before where nvidia ever offered a better value.

    59887 said:
    It is like AMD isn't even trying, due to their focus on Ryzen. Oh well, they make miners happy I guess.

    I don't think it's so much that they're not trying, it's that their cards were found to be better for cryptocurrency mining than Nvidia's, resulting in them being in short supply, and prices rose accordingly. From the launch of the RX 400 series last year, up until earlier this year, they were offering very good performance per dollar, and had compelling products readily available at the levels most people buy.

    Just six months ago, you could find plenty of RX 480s for well under $200, offering performance close to a GTX 1060 for considerably less. At times, some 4GB RX 480s even went on sale with rebates bringing them down near $150-$160, about what you would currently pay for a 1050 Ti with far less performance. The only real reason to consider a 1050 Ti then would have been if you had a pre-built system with an underpowered PSU or small form factor, since for a little more you could get an RX 470 or 480.

    They did take too long to fill in the high end of their range with Vega though. And I suspect that Vega would have been a much more impressive launch had it not been for mining messing up the market. Vega 56 and 64 might have had significantly lower official launch prices, and the cards would have probably been available for those prices, and not marked up further. Considering that their official launch price for the 8GB RX 580 was $229, it wouldn't have surprised me if Vega 56 would have been around $329 to $349, and Vega 64 around $429 to $449.

    I would definitely like to see AMD work on their efficiency though, since Radeon cards used to be quite good when it came to that, often better than Nvidia. I'd rather not have the noise and heat from a 200+ watt graphics card in my system if possible, and Nvidia currently has them beat on that. Of course, with the recent mining shortages, having better efficiency at a similar performance level could have actually made availability even worse.
  • Nintendork
    Using dual cores is plain obsolete when for pretty much the same price you get the Ryzen 5 1400/1500X which are near the same as a non OC 6700K.
  • Nintendork
    Just stop using dual core, you want mainstream, put the Ryzen 5 1400/1500X, they basically the i7 6700 at half the price. Why keep using intel...
  • rafael_1414
    Because most current budget systems that will benefit from a GPU upgrade with a 560 or 1050 have an Intel dual-core CPU.
  • ddferrari
    414569 said:
    RX 560: As fast or faster than 1050. If we add Tessellation Override to x16 or x8 in driver: Substantially universally faster than 1050, probably on the same playing field or faster than 1050 Ti. Conclusion: Must buy as a low-end GPU.

    So based on your fictional drivers, you're stating this card is a must buy? Wow- is there a single AMD fanboi who doesn't do all their thinking in the "if and when" zone?? The 1050 was equally fast overall, and cheaper. But of course, the 560 will surely age like fine wine and eventually surpass the 1080 Ti...