There are not a lot of discussions going on about the RX 460. While the GPU does not ranks amongst the top performers, it totally deserves a little bit more of attention. Yeah, the 2 GB part alone makes most people turn their heads away, but how does that memory size really impacts the card?
While there are not a lot of people talking about the RX 460, there are virtually no negative reviews about the card either. That’s what called my attention in the first place. This card looked quite underrated to me – not a lot of people own the RX 460, yet the ones who do they don’t really complain about it.
All of the mentioned motivated me to make a deeper research about the topic. As always, I try to be as objective as possible, so in this review you’ll see real data rather than shallow speculations. I will give my opinion about the card in the end, but as always, the final conclusion is up to you. Let’s begin.
Gigahertz and Megahertz
Memory and GPU clocks are the first things to consider. Those will affect virtually every mining process, with ETH mining being probably the only notable exception.
I’m going to compare the RX 460 2GB with its two �biggest brothers’ – the RX 470 and RX 480. When it comes to clocks:
Radeon RX 460 2GB works under 7 GHz (1750 MHz) and comes with a 128-bit memory bus.
The RX 470 4GB comes with 6.6 GHz (1650 MHz) and cannot be overclocked further than that (at least for now). Although slightly slower than the RX 460, the RX 470 has a 256-bit memory bus.
The RX 480 8GB can be overclocked up to 2200 MHz and comes with a 256-bit memory bus as well.
It’s worth mentioning that there’s still no way to overclock the RX 460 2GB. I mean, it can be overclocked, but according to several reports, it will give no positive results regarding to mining. While that might seem like an important downside, let’s not forget that the RX 460 drivers are still under development. AMD might provide us with more overclocking possibilities soon.
Now, the card can still be overclocked for gaming purposes. Ironically, overclocking does make the card to perform better when running games. Looks like the mining overclock issues are all about optimization after all. In fact, that gives me the hope that the problem might be solved with one of the upcoming driver updates.
Low power consumption might be the most interesting quality of the card. The RX 460 pulls only 60 W from the wall. Several users claim that they’ve managed to further reduce power consumption by undervolting the card. According to them, the wattage tweak had no notable effects on ETH hashrate.
Now, let’s list some other numbers to make the picture a bit clearer. The RX 470 8GB consumes 2.5 times the amount of power than the RX 460, pulling about 160 W from the wall. Some users managed to undervolt the card, achieving a power consumption of 130 W. Nevertheless, even in this case, we still have a solid difference of 216%.
The RX 480 pulls about 133 W from the wall when running normally. That happens when the required tweaks are made and some users fail to achieve such low power consumption. Also, power consumption rises further when the card is overclocked to 9 GHz.
It’s also worth mentioning that the RX 460 has no PCI-E power connectors for external power. The 60 W mark is considered the top, thus the usual power consumption of the card is actually below 60 W.
Performance and Hashrate
It’s an obvious fact that the RX 460 offers a way lesser hashrate than its two counterparts. Nevertheless, even if the RX 460 lacks on raw Mh/s numbers, there are other factors worth considering. Therefore, I’ve tried to focus on the power consumption/hashrate ratio.
I’m using the Ethereum Claymore Dual Miner (ETH) test as a standard. I will also list the results for some other tests, yet the ETH test is more universal, and thus allows me to make a more fair comparison between cards.
The RX 460 has a stable 10.9 Mh/s hashrate with a power consumption of 60 W, and a possibility to undervolt.
The RX 470 8GB has a 24.5 Mh/s average with factory memory clock (2000 MHz). It can be overclocked up to 8100 MHz to hit the 25.6 Mh/s mark. As we already mentioned, in this case, it pulls 160 W from the wall.
The RX 480 has the same 24.5 Mh/s average when used with the factory clock. Now, the card really excels when overclocked, achieving a hashrate of 27 Mh/s. Its average power consumption is 133 W.
Looks like the RX 460 is way more power-effective (Mh per Watt) compared to the RX 470 8GB and it’s quite close to the RX 480.
Driver Compatibility and Known Issues
The new Radeon 4xx series lack of the Ellesmere-specific optimizations the 300, 28x and 29x versions enjoyed. Therefore, the RX 460, RX 470 and RX 480 perform well only when mining ETH. They excel at memory-intensive mining algorithms and somehow lack of efficiency when it comes to the GPU-intensive ones. Not that they cannot be used for anything else than ETH mining, but they might not perform as good if used differently.
There’s another issue that has been driving people away. Some people have been complaining that these past months Ethminer had issues with 2GB GPU’s. Luckily enough, the issue was solved, so no need to panic anymore. The problem was in the Ethminer DAG file failing to properly allocate in the GPU memory. While the file has a size of roughly 1.3 GB, some GPU’s don’t use the whole RAM capacity to allocate the file.
The solution users found is quite straightforward. Before running Ethminer, you first need to run the following commands (while in Windows):
setx GPU_FORCE_64BIT_PTR 0
setx GPU_MAX_HEAP_SIZE 100
setx GPU_USE_SYNC_OBJECTS 1
setx GPU_MAX_ALLOC_PERCENT 100
setx GPU_SINGLE_ALLOC_PERCENT 100
It has been reported several times that it works with older (14.x) drivers and some people say that it works with the newest ones as well. Next time you see someone complaining about the RX 460 not working with Ethminer, ask them whether they’ve tried this fix first.
The Bottom Line
Is the RX 460 worth it? While there’s nothing that would make the card REALLY stand out of the crowd (either positively or negatively), you should probably consider power consumption as the main factor. Is power consumption an issue for you? Does the GPU wattage marks the difference between getting a new expensive PSU or not?
Yeah, the card isn’t really cheap, but the low power consumption is an important aspect to consider. Firstly, you might be able to install a couple of them without the need to get a stronger power supply. Secondly, it will definitively save you money in the long run (by keeping your electricity bills from going wild).
What do you think about it? Have you had the chance to try it yet? Please write your comments down in the section below.
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