SAPPHIRE Radeon RX 460 NITRO 4GB Review

Published: 7th Sep 2016, 17:00 GMT

SAPPHIRE Radeon RX 460 NITRO 4GB

Sapphire currently offers two RX 460 models. There’s NITRO featuring 4GB of GDDR5 memory, and 2GB model with slightly different cooler. For our review we decided to buy the NITRO, just to see how good is the new Dual-X cooler and to avoid running into 2GB VRAM limit.

First impression was rather positive. It arrived in a surprisingly small box, but all Sapphire RX 400 cards, no matter if high-end or entry-level, get similar packaging. The card is average in size (14x22cm), but it’s really light compared to most cards I own (495g). The top shroud is not a fingerprint magnet, but it attracts the dust. Some elements on the sides are finished with glossy paint, so you need to avoid touching those unless you want to leave some marks. Before I leave you with some pictures, bear in mind that they were taken before I discovered that there’s actually a protection foil on the fan stickers.

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Although RX 460 does not require additional power connectors, NITRO has single 6-pin connector to allow more overclocking headroom.

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NITRO logo is illuminated by green diodes hidden under few layers of the PCB. NITRO RX 460 has three display connectors: DVI-D, DisplayPort 1.2 and HDMI 2.0. I had no issues using all these ports.

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The cooler has two heat pipes and massive, at least comparing to GPU, fin array. Heat dissipating base covers GPU and memory. There’s also a small heat spreader over the VRM.

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This was the first time I saw Baffin GPU with my own eyes. Despite knowing the exact dimensions of the die, I was still surprised how small this processor really is compared to others. You could actually compare it to the memory module.

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The card is equipped with 5 phase VRM. Those are Black Diamond Chokes 4, and according to Sapphire, they will reduce temperature by 15% over Mark 3. During my tests no coil whine was heard.

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The label on the memory was almost impossible to read, but it looks like Micron D9SSY.

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Here you can see the GPU up close and copper base on the cooler.

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One of the biggest invention of the new Dual-X cooler are removable fans. Two screws need to be removed in order replace the fan. It’s actually very easy, and hopefully this is the last time I had to do it.

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SAPPHIRE Radeon RX 460 NITRO 4GB: Specifications

SAPPHIRE Radeon RX 460 NITRO 4GB Specifications
SAPPHIRE RX 460 NITRO 4GBAMD RX 460AMD RX 480AMD RX 470
GPUPolaris 11 / BaffinPolaris 11 / BaffinPolaris 10 XTPolaris 10 PRO
GPU Cores896 : 56 : 16896 : 56 : 1623042048
Boost Clock1250 MHz1200 MHz1266 MHz1206 MHz
Memory Clock (Effective)1750 MHz (7 GHz)1750 MHz2000 MHz (8 GHz)1650 MHz (6.6 GHz)
Memory Configuration4GB GDDR52/4GB GDDR58GB GDDR54GB GDDR5
Memory Bus Width128-bit128-bit256-bit256-bit
TBP/TDPTypical: 72W
Max: <150W
<75W150W120W
PCI-Expressx8 (3.0)x8 (3.0) x16 (3.0) x16 (3.0)
Power Connectors1x 6-pin6-pin6-pin
1x HDMI 2.0b
3x DisplayPort 1.3/1.4
1x DVI-I DL
1x HDMI 2.0b
3x DisplayPort 1.3/1.4
1x DVI-I DL
1x HDMI 2.0b
3x DisplayPort 1.3/1.4
1x HDMI 2.0b
3x DisplayPort 1.3/1.4

SAPPHIRE Radeon RX 460 NITRO 4GB stock

Testing platform

ComponentProvided by
CPU : Intel Core i7 6800K @ 4200 MHz 
CPU Cooler : NZXT Kraken X61NZXT
Motherboard : ASUS X99-A II 
Memory : G.Skill Trident Z DDR4 3200 MHz 16-18-18-38-2NG.SKILL
Display : Crossover 289K (4096×2160) 
SSD : Samsung 950 Pro 512GB M.2 
PSU : EVGA SuperNova 850 G2 
OS : Windows 10 x64 PRO
GPUs : SAPPHIRE RX 460 NITRO 4GB (Crimson 16.8.3B)
HIS RX 480 IceQ X2 Roaring Turbo (Crimson 16.7.3)HIS
HIS R9 390X IceQ X2 Turbo (Crimson 16.7.3)HIS
POWERCOLOR RX 470 Red Devil (Crimson 16.7.3)POWERCOLOR
MSI GeForce GTX 1060 6G TOC (GeForce 368.81)MSI

SAPPHIRE Radeon RX 460 NITRO 4GB: Overclocking

Sapphire RX 460 NITRO has good overclocking potential thanks to external power coming through 6-pin connector. We successfully overclocked this card to 1370 MHz (115% of reference boost clock). Judging from other reviews I read, this result is quite impressive. However, there’s a really good reason why you shouldn’t overclock this card to such level: power consumption. While we did not measure directly how much power is consumed by card, as we lack accurate equipment, we were looking at GPU-Z reported power consumption, and that increased significantly once we passed 1370 MHz (160% of stock power consumption).

Here are my notes from overclocking in case you wanted to see the details:

Core	Power	GPU	Over-	Pass/Fail
Clock	Limit	Power	voltage
(MHz)		Consump.
1250		70.1W		P
1260	PL50%	70.4W		P
1270	PL50%	71.0W		P
1280	PL50%	72.2W		P
1290	PL50%	72.8W		P
1300	PL50%	72.8W		F
1300	PL50%	74.5W	+10mV	P
1310	PL50%	74.5W	+10mV	P
1320	PL50%	76.0W	+20mV	F
1320	PL50%	77.0W	+30mV	P
1330	PL50%	77.0W	+30mV	F
1330	PL50%	80.1W	+40mV	F
1330	PL50%	82.3W	+50mV	P
1340	PL50%	82.3W	+60mV	F
1340	PL50%	82.5W	+70mV	F
1340	PL50%	86.3W	+80mV	P
1350	PL50%	86.7W	+80mV	F
1350	PL50%	88.1W	+90mV	F
1350	PL50%	90.0W	+100mV	P (sweet spot)
1360	PL50%	93.4W	+100mV	F	
1360	PL50%	94.2W	+110mV	F
1360	PL50%	95.2W	+120mV	F
1360	PL50%	97.0W	+130mV	F
1360	PL50%	100.5W	+140mV	F
1360	PL50%	103.9W	+150mV	P
1370	PL50%	105.5W	+150mV	F
1370	PL50%	107.0W	+160mV	F
1370	PL50%	112.6W	+180mV	F
1370	PL50%	112.6W	+190mV	F
1370	PL50%	112.6W	+200mV	P (used for benchmarking)
1375	PL50%	114.6W	+200mV	F

I recommend sticking to 1350 MHz, as anything further requires a higher voltage and as a result produces too much heat and power consumption.

For memory we chose 1850 MHz. It’s much lower than 2000 MHz that can be applied, but for some reason it didn’t pair well with the high GPU clock and it caused artifacts.

Of course, for our overclocking we chose Sapphrie TRIXX, here’s how it looks after we were done:

SAPPHIRE Radeon RX 460 NITRO 4GB TRIXX OC

And screen-grab from GPUZ:

SAPPHIRE Radeon RX 460 NITRO 4GB oc

Like always, we apply custom fan profile. We want to keep the temperature under 80C to avoid throttling.

oc fan profile

SAPPHIRE Radeon RX 460 NITRO 4GB: Stability test

To keep RX 460 NITRO under 80C you don’t need to apply custom fan profiles unless you are planning to overclock. For overclocking, custom fan profile is necessary to keep the temperature under 80C. Only in Furmark it reaches 85C, but this is actually quite normal increase for power virus.

Thanks to 0dB technology, card is noiseless when idle. I had to start two HD youtube videos to see the fan spinning. Temperature at idle is 39C, but it will increase to 44-46C if you are doing something else than looking at empty desktop.

SAPPHIRE Radeon RX 460 NITRO 4GB
 Stress testingIdleFire Strike
Stress Test
Furmark
STOCK
Max. GPU Temperature 39 C74 C74 C
Fan Speed 0 RPM1170 RPM1630 RPM
Typical Clock Speed214 MHz1250 MHz1240 MHz
Memory Clock 300 MHz1750 MHz1750 MHz
OVERCLOCKING
Max. GPU Temperature36 C75 C85 C
Fan Speed1440 RPM2350 RPM2350 RPM
Typical Clock Speed214 MHz1350 MHz1285 MHz
Memory Clock300 MHz1850 MHz1850 MHz

SAPPHIRE RX 460 NITRO Clock Stability SAPPHIRE RX 460 NITRO GPU Temperature

SAPPHIRE Radeon RX 460 NITRO 4GB: Performance

NOTE: For NVIDIA cards clock speeds listed in the charts below are representing boost values reported by GPU-Z (like shown here).

01_FS

02_3DM11 03_3DMTS 04_ASHES 05_UNIGINE 06_TOMBR 07_HITMAN 08_METRO 09_DOOM 10_TOTALWAR 11_FARCRY 12_SIEGE 13_DIVISION 14_THIEF 15_DEUSEX 16_GTA5

Conclusion

Performance: I think it’s quite clear that Radeon RX 460 is not meant to be used at Ultra settings in any game. Of course we knew about this way before performing those tests, however, this is not what we were testing here. In our tests we compare GPUs side by side at maximum settings to see where are the true limits of the particular card. I will also remind you that 4GB VRAM was put on this card for a reason. Mainly it serves as a buffer for more textures, so theoretically we should be able to enjoy better image quality without constant paging and blurry textures. I think RX 460 NITRO does a good just at that. There was no stutter in any game and all textures were loaded on time.

Performance-wise we have a GTX 950 competitor (manufactured in 28nm process). Considering that both cards share almost the same price, and GTX 950 was released one year ago, RX 460 performance is quite disappointing. Overclocking gave us few frames per second more, but it was at cost of much higher power consumption.

Cooling and design: NITRO’s Dual-X cooler is good quality. It has unique fan swap technology, which will make RMA process much easier. The cooler also has 0dB mode, which should be welcomed by those thinking of using RX 460 home theater PCs. Overall it’s efficient and quiet solution. For our overclocking we chose aggressive fan curve, which dramatically improved the temperature, but also generated much more noise.

Overclocking: If we were to compare our overclocking results of 1370 MHz to reference base clock (1090 MHz), then overall performance increased to 125%. Compared to reference boost clock (1200 MHz) we achieved 114%. It’s a good result, but as mentioned earlier, it required much more power to be delivered to the GPU. It wouldn’t be possible without extra 6-pin power connector.

Price and bundle: Sapphire RX 460 NITRO 4GB is currently available for around 140 USD. The cheapest GTX 960 4GB is available for around 180 USD, and GTX 950 for 140 USD. So the question is: is RX 460 4GB worth 140 USD? I think it’s little too expensive, even for a card with 4GB RAM, custom PCB and features of a more expensive model. Casual gamers should probably look at 2GB models, as they cost 30 USD less. However, I would recommend waiting for GTX 1050, which should theoretically compete with RX 460 at a similar price. Then we should have the full picture of what is going to happen with FinFET GPUs in this price segment.

Check list

Coil whineNo coil whine heard in any scenario (stock, overclocked, high/low framerate)
ConnectivityDVI-D: no issues
DisplayPort 1.2 working: no issues
HDMI 2.0: no issues
SaggingCard is very light, no sagging.
Other problemsSometimes switching from overclocked profile to stock profile (with Sapphrie TRIXX) would cause PC to shut down.

 



SAPPHIRE Radeon RX 460 NITRO 4GB Review WhyCry

SAPPHIRE NITRO RX 460 4GB (11257-02)

Performance - 80%
Cooling & Design - 100%
OverClocking - 95%
Price & Bundles - 80%

0dB technology
Fan-swap technology
LED NITRO logo
Price
TRIXX software does not save over-voltage

89%




by WhyCry