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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