Passive Cooling: XFX RX 460 Heatsink Edition Vs. Palit GTX 1050 Ti KalmX

XFX Radeon RX 460 Heatsink Edition

XFX's Radeon RX 460 Heatsink Edition looks a lot like the older HIS Radeon HD 7750 iCooler card. That company, now under the XFX (Pine) umbrella, no longer offers passively-cooled AMD cards, but instead shifted to exotic single-slot solutions. The cooler size and fin arrangement we're testing today are clearly based on older HIS models, though.

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Exterior

Our first impression of the Radeon RX 460 Heatsink Edition is that it's small and cute, weighing in at just 337g. The heat sink extends a bit beyond the PCB, resulting in an overall length of 20.2cm (from the display output bracket to the end of the cooler). Its 12.5cm height (motherboard slot to the top of the heat pipe) is workable in most cases, and 3.5cm width requires two slots.

Flipping the card over, we can see its PCB measures just 16.5cm long. XFX fortunately dispenses with a backplate and wrap-around cooler, helping to avoid potential conflicts in compact mini-ITX cases.


Both nickel-plated heat pipes run from top to bottom. This adds 3cm to the card's height, but is necessary since the cooling fins are oriented horizontally.

The end of the card is completely open, which is appropriate for a passive solution. Up front, the output bracket sports a number of holes for air to escape, while exposing one DVI-D port, a DisplayPort 1.4-capable interface, and an HDMI 2.0 connector.

Circuit Board Layout And Power Supply

The voltage regulation circuitry is placed near the display output bracket, which makes perfect sense when you consider the card's power comes from a motherboard slot. The +12V pins are right there at the end.

XFX follows AMD’s requirements and uses Samsung K4G80325FB-HC28 memory modules, each with a capacity of 8Gb (32x256Mb). They reach a maximum of 1750 MHz at voltages between 1.305V and 1.597V. This card enjoys a thermal advantage compared to Radeon RX 470, which uses faster modules.

XFX gets creative with the Richtek RT8880C, a true dual-output PWM controller with three integrated drivers for the GPU's power phases. At the same time, it's able to control the memory's one phase. This saves space and simplifies layout significantly.

The high side of each GPU phase is equipped with one QM3092M6 N-channel MOSFET; the low side sports two QM3098M6 N-channel MOSFETs. Somewhat crudely-cast ferrite shells for the coils are adequate, but not what we'd call stellar. Since the GPU's maximum of 45W are divided up between these phases, the currents flowing through them shouldn't be an issue.

The memory uses one QM3098M6 N-channel MOSFET for the high and low sides, as well as a smaller Foxconn-style coil in the usual molded cup.

Power Consumption

This card's power consumption is manageable, which is a basic requirement for passive cooling. It hits a searing 62W in our gaming loop, and drops to 58W in our stress test. Given the cooling available to it, we simply cannot expect much more.

Our peak measurement represents a brief moment in time; it can't be used to characterize the board's power consumption over longer periods.

The following graphs show two-minute runs in our gaming loop and stress test; they provide the basis for calculating average power consumption.

Now we get to look at our current measurements, which fall below the PCI-SIG's 5.5A limit for the 12V motherboard slot.

Cooler Assembly

XFX's cooler is easily removed by loosening four screws surrounding the GPU package. Two 6mm nickel-plated copper alloy heat pipes are sandwiched between a small, yet beefy, copper sink and an aluminum block above it. The aluminum block supports the actual cooler assembly, while the pipes dissipate waste heat through the fin array.

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14 comments
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  • derekullo
    Watch Dogs 2
    1920 x 1080 Pixels
    "High Settings"
    FPS (Lower is better)

    Made me Laugh.
  • Briancurry
    Me too, I guess that means the XFX crash is the winner?
  • Rookie_MIB
    Wow. You know, they could fit a small incredibly slow fan in there somewhere that would generate zero noise and improve their results dramatically. I guess you could use the XFX in a server as the airflow scenario would allow cooling from the fans, but why would you use a GPU in a server anyhow?
  • Math Geek
    i can't think of a single scenario where this is needed. fanless gpu but you need multiple case fans to keep it cool and barely at that. why not just have the fans right on the card? double slot so you don't save any space that way, so those few cases that truly need a single slot card can't even be claimed as a market for this card.

    now that single slot slim fan design His showed off a while ago would be an awesome thing if it worked and was actually released.

    but i just don't see this filling any need at all in a gaming pc. in a non-gaming pc a regular gpu would likely stay cool enough for the passive mode to keep the fans totally off or barely moving. yet still be able to kick it up when needed for a bit of funtime distraction.
  • Pompompaihn
    Dumb products. If have to run system fans for them to work than what's the point of a completely fanless product? It's like saying my car gets infinite gas mileage as long as it's hooked to a tow truck...
  • RomeoReject
    Only situation where I can see them being worthwhile is in a mineral oil setup. The fan on the GPU I have in mine baaaaarely moves as is. More oil moves as a result of convection. So in that situation, it could be worth having the extra metal on there and relying on the convection effect rather than wasting that space on a fan.

    But that is so incredibly niche, I agree with you all: These are products searching for a purpose.
  • 80-watt Hamster
    1786133 said:
    now that single slot slim fan design His showed off a while ago would be an awesome thing if it worked and was actually released.


    Are you talking about something like this?
  • Math Geek
    1781251 said:
    1786133 said:
    now that single slot slim fan design His showed off a while ago would be an awesome thing if it worked and was actually released.
    Are you talking about something like this?


    not the exact one but that's the idea. i did not know XFX had finally released it, must have missed that announcement. This article also pointed out that XFX bought HiS which i did not know. so i expect that this is the design HiS teased a while ago with XFX colors on it. this was the one they teased a while ago that seems to also have been relased http://www.hisdigital.com/gb/product2-940.shtml
  • FormatC
    XFX bought nobody. XFX is a brand from the mother company Pine and Pine bought HIS as brand, not as single company. So are both vendors at the end only a brand from Pine and must share a lot of ressources and production lines. I saw, that they are using similar PCB layouts, only the cooling and design is a little bit different.

    XFX seems a real poor company. I got the card a few days for the review but I had to send it back on my own costs (because they had no more samples to rotate and no money for carriers). So it is impossible to answer on questions that requires a re-test or second look at the product.
  • RomeoReject
    482859 said:
    XFX bought nobody. XFX is a brand from the mother company Pine and Pine bought HIS as brand, not as single company. So are both vendors at the end only a brand from Pine and must share a lot of ressources and production lines. I saw, that they are using similar PCB layouts, only the cooling and design is a little bit different. XFX seems a real poor company. I got the card a few days for the review but I had to send it back on my own costs (because they had no more samples to rotate and no money for carriers). So it is impossible to answer on questions that requires a re-test or second look at the product.

    Surprised XFX has fallen so far.

    I know with both of my XFX R9 280X cards I had from them, they're both in great condition, and currently overclocked a wee bit (It's cold where I live). XFX also says that they'll maintain warranty despite overclocks (Below a certain power threshold) which is why I picked them in the first place.

    Sad that they seem to be more dirt-baggish these days.
  • FormatC
    Wait for the RX480 roundup... I measured on the HIS card (similar to the GTR Black Edition from XFX) over 7A on the PCIe-Slot! This are 30% over the specs! I know from the German distributor, that they got some negative feedback from customers about non-stable cards and SI-PCs. I tried to get in a closer contact and I sent XFX all my data - no answer or interest.
  • Math Geek
    Thank for clearing it up. i've shared my HiS issues in the past so i won't revisit them, but they are not a company i will ever buy again. interesting that Pine bought that company and i'd hope they would get a boost in customer service and positive business practices as a result. never had anything negative to say about XFX personally and know many stand behind the brand as well. but if XFX is also slowly going the wrong way themselves, i would have little hope of HiS getting a boost from the parent company, if they are letting XFX brand slip as well.

    i'll stay tuned to see what the future brings from XFX cards in the next generation
  • FormatC
    It plays no role, HIS, XFX or whoever - it depends also a lot from the distributors and their local handling. The support is mostly a mirror of the local branch office or distribution and may very different from country to country. I see it negative for HIS, that Pine bought the brand name for their own products. Only a few faces left, the others were all fired. HIS is more or less not more existent as an own company. It looks like XFX, but as a cheaper version. XFX light :D
  • Math Geek
    that's interesting as well. HiS was the last AMD cards i bought for my house, but i have been favoring Saphire and Asus for a while now. i like the designs and the few times i have had to contact support, i mostly got what i needed.

    XFX, though respected for the most part, never really took off for me and mine. i'll probably stay with Saphire and Asus for now until another brand steps up to lure me away. HiS left such a bad taste in my mouth when i strayed, that i can't go there again. even with a new parent company, i just won't go there again. and it's too bad as i noted before, the card itself is actually pretty good. i have a 270, 270x and 280 from HiS and they are solid cards that run cool and quiet. but the business practices overshadowed this too much for me.

    nice review either way on these cards. though, they serve no purpose, the review was still all it needed to be to prove that.