AMD’s decision to target the mainstream space first looks pretty smart right about now, doesn’t it? The Radeon RX 480 is a respectable 1920x1080 card, and the RX 470 isn’t much slower. Nvidia charges quite a bit more for GeForce GTX 1060, and that’s its lowest-end Pascal-based board currently. There’s a large gap between the 470 and new RX 460, but a $110 estimated price also tells us the 460 is meant for a different segment…which our benchmarks show it dominating.
As a result of the incremental improvements made across four generations of GCN, we have to break our performance analysis into two parts: one that covers DirectX 11-based games, and another that isolates the latest wave of titles able to leverage DirectX 12 and Vulkan.
In DirectX 11 titles like GTA V, Project CARS, The Witcher 3, and WoW, AMD’s Radeon RX 460 either lands behind the R9 270 and 270X or between them. We also have BF4 numbers showing the 460 behind those older GPUs, but left them out because EA’s awful hardware-checker deactivated our account before we finished collecting data. In these titles, the RX 460 is still positioned appropriately—it’s a little slower and a little less expensive.
But across AotS, Hitman, and Doom, the RX 460 is either as fast as the R9 270X/370X and GTX 760/950 or faster. Assuming that trend continues, AMD is setting its 460 up to be a killer deal at $110. Now the company needs to make sure RX 460s are available for customers to purchase.
Both AMD and Nvidia are firing off 14/16nm GPUs at a rapid pace, and there’s plenty of backpressure from enthusiasts who were waiting for this generation’s graphics hardware to upgrade. A surge of demand is causing an issue with availability, complicating recommendations. As of this writing, Nvidia finally has GeForce GTX 1080, 1070, and 1060 cards on shelves, though the 1070s and 1060s in particular sell for significantly more than the company’s original claim…
…but at least it has cards to sell. None of Newegg’s 12 RX 480 listings are in stock. And while there is one RX 470 available, it starts at $200—the same price as a 4GB RX 480. In fact, all but one RX 470 overlap the lowest RX 480 listings. Whoops!
All of that is to say we’re cautiously optimistic about Radeon RX 460 at $110. If the company can get partners to sell cards at the recommended price, like it’s doing with RX 480, then this is a clear winner for HD gaming and even 1920x1080 at relaxed quality settings, blowing previous recommendations out of the water. The Bonaire-based GPUs can’t hold a candle to it, and GeForce GTX 750 Ti is outclassed across the board, regardless of the API we look at. What’s more, as you shift from DX11- to DX12/Vulkan-based games, RX 460 matches the next-higher class of hardware, including certain GK104/GM206 and Pitcairn derivatives.
Of course, if AMD’s suggested pricing has no teeth and we start seeing these creep up $20 or $30 higher, similar to what the RX 470 is doing, it’ll run into unavoidable comparisons to cards like the GTX 950 and R7 370, which succumb to Polaris in our DX12/Vulkan tests, but are generally faster in DX11. Here’s hoping that $110 price holds, and that AMD has some volume of these cards to ship. After all, this segment is primed for a revitalization, and we see no way for Nvidia to compete down at that level, even with a GeForce GTX 1050.
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