AMD’s Budget-Friendly Radeon RX 460 Makes It Easier to Get in the Game

AMD on Monday introduced its budget-priced Radeon RX 460 graphics card designed for e-sports gamers. It delivers the high frame rates DirectX 9-based shooters and action games demand, but also handles the more robust next-generation DirectX 12 and Vulkan APIs.

Built around AMD’s fourth-generation GCN architecture, the Radeon RX 460 offers a peak performance of 2.2 TFLOPS with support for 1080p frame rates. It is designed to remain both cool and quiet, thanks to its Polaris architecture, which adapts to card temperature and reduces fan operation during low GPU demands.

“The Radeon RX 460 delivers the perfect balance of price, power, performance and package size — the four key pillars of modern GPUs,” said Raja Koduri, chief architect in the Radeon Technologies Group at AMD.

“The Radeon RX Series is built on architecture designed for extraordinary power efficiency and is especially well suited to desktop gaming PCs targeted at mainstream price points,” he added. “Radeon RX 460 users will enjoy an optimized software and hardware graphics card solution ideal for both e-sports and iCaf systems.”

The AMD Radeon RX 460 is available now for US$109.

Well Received

Early reviews of the Radeon RX 460 highlight the fact that there is a sizable number of serious gamers who don’t want or need to spend $600 or more on a high-performance graphics card. For them, this new card fills a void. Many older or classic games are featured in gaming competitions.

“The wallet-friendly RX 460 is pushing the bottom end for modern GPUs,” wrote Brad Bourque for Digital Trends.

“At just $109, the RX 460 is about as inexpensive as video cards get before they lose any gaming credibility,” he added. “The RX 460 is the first budget card worth excitement since Nvidia’s 750 Ti, and there’s no shame in that.”

The card’s ability to handle high frame rates also earned some street cred with reviewers.

“AMD’s positioning the Radeon RX 460 as an affordable solution for e-sports gamers who want to blow past not just 60 frames per second, but 90 fps with High settings at 1080p resolution without breaking the bank,” noted Brad Chacos for PC World.

“The Radeon RX 460 provides AMD with something it hasn’t had in years: an affordable, power-efficient graphics card perfect for e-sports and home theater PCs,” he added.

Hitting the Right Notes

Price is certainly the high point with this new AMD graphics card, but its features could make it a hit with competitive gamers as well as those who are simply budget minded.

“The RX 480 was the first affordable card to reach the minimum specification for virtual reality,” said Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group.

“That means it has both decent performance and an attractive sales price, lowering the entry cost for those wanting to get into e-sports,” he told TechNewsWorld.

“As prices come down for the hardware, it also opens the door to potential new players who are interested in competing in the growing e-sports [field],” added Scott Steinberg, principal analyst at TechSavvy Global.

“These lower cost gaming systems help popularize the sport and put it in everyone’s reach,” he told TechNewsWorld.

“While the e-sports competitions do often feature the latest and greatest games, many competitions still favor the older, long-time favorite titles,” said Steinberg, “and new graphic cards like the RX 480 make those games run as smoothly as possible.”

More Than Seeing the Difference

Improved graphics make games look more lifelike and realistic, and that can help make for a more immersing experience. There are other advantages for those competitive gamers as well.

“Better graphics gives you is less eye strain — less tearing with higher frame rates — more detail with greater realism, and the ability to see objects at greater distances,” added Enderle.

Compatibility with FreeSync monitors, which increase performance without increasing cost, is another factor, he suggested.

“Generally folks that compete have rigs costing in excess of $3,000, but this allows someone to get started with a decent rig for around $700 — or if they already have a current computer, closer to $350,” explained Enderle. “So it is a great way to get into the segment without going broke.”

Peter Suciu is a freelance writer who has covered consumer electronics, technology, electronic entertainment and fitness-related trends for more than a decade. His work has appeared in more than three dozen publications, and he is the co-author of Careers in the Computer Game Industry (Career in the New Economy series), a career guide aimed at high school students from Rosen Publishing. You can connect with Peter on Google+.

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