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

Summary And Conclusion

Light and shadows always go hand in hand. In the end, Palit and XFX both have skeletons in their closets here. Here's what we found:

XFX Radeon RX 460 Heatsink Edition

This card is well thought-out, but suffers because of its smallish cooler. Those horizontally-oriented fins virtually rule out self-convection.

We strongly advise XFX to use a larger cooler, which would take advantage of the full depth allowed by a wide slot bracket. A clock rate reduction to 1000 MHz might not make marketing happy, but it'd facilitate a lower voltage and allow power consumption to slide below the 50W mark.

The Radeon RX 460 Heatsink Edition isn't much more expensive than actively-cooled products based on the same GPU at least. With a bit of skill, you could even drop an ultra-quiet 92mm or 120mm fan on top of it to improve the card's behavior. That'd kind of defeat the purpose though, right?

Palit GeForce GTX 1050 Ti KalmX

Palit’s adaptation is significantly faster in our benchmarks, but it suffers from memory temperatures that climb too high. You can get actively-cooled cards that are barely audible for around $30 less, which kind of blows the point of this card away. Complicating matters for gamers in the U.S., Palit's hardware isn't readily available.

The GeForce GTX 1050 Ti KalmX would only be worth pursuing if you helped it out with a case fan. That is, if it didn't also have issues with memory temperatures, which might not even benefit from more airflow. If you like to tinker, we do know of thermal pads that'd fit. But you're better off spending less money to optimize a more readily-available card with active cooling that can be dialed down.

Conclusion

If you have at least one case fan able to push air through your enclosure, a passive card sounds like it could be a good idea. Palit's GeForce GTX 1050 Ti comes closest to making that dream a reality due to its finer-grained GPU Boost control and better heat sink.

However, both cards fail to live up to their marketing. The value of these cards is lost on us until they can do what they promise.

Again, we encourage manufacturers to test and optimize their products under real-world conditions. Only then will they preemptively spot issues like insufficient cooling area or overheated memory modules.

It's only fair to recommend not purchasing either of these cards. Any decent, actively-cooled alternative easily knocks the stuffing out of either passive model, regardless of whether you prefer AMD or Nvidia. This passive experiment was a nice try, but next time use better coolers and more conservative power targets.

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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.