AMD Radeon RX 460 Review: Polaris On A Budget

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RX 460 Overclocking, Power Consumption, Noise, and Temps

We also spent a little time overlcocking the new ASUS Radeon RX 460 STRIX, to see what kind of additional performance we could squeeze out of it. Before we get to our results, we should talk about updates to AMD's Radeon Software Crimson Edition driver suite for Polaris GPUs that enable a host of previously unavailable overclocking features. With the update, the Overdrive tab is gone in favor of a new one called WattMan. WattMan arrived with the release of the Radeon RX 480 a few weeks back.

Like previous-gen Radeon cards, when turbo boosting, frequencies and voltages scale upwards -- power and temperature permitting -- based on the GPU's workload at the time. With Overdrive, you could overclock using a fixed percentage frequency offset and bump up the GPU power curve manually. But with WattMan, while similar tools are still available, users also have the ability to alter frequencies and voltages on a per-voltage step (or state) basis.

rx460 oc
WattMan Running On The Radeon RX 460

With WattMan, users can also tune fan speeds, memory clocks, voltages and the power limit. There's a real-time graph at the top that maps out GPU activity, clocks, and temperatures as well, along with the memory clock and fan speed over time.

To overclock the Radeon RX 460, we took a straightforward approach. We upped the power and temperature targets, while also bumping up the fan speed curve and increasing the low acoustic limit. Changing these settings allows the cooler to dissipate more heat at any given voltage point, while also allowing the GPU to boost longer and use more power.  While we had the card overclocked, we re-ran a couple of tests, but saw virtually no change in performance.

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The settings appear to take affect in Wattman, because fan speeds were increasing properly and the GPU stayed boosted throughout the tests. The tests may have been completely memory bandwidth limited or the oversized cooler on the tiny, lower-power GPU, was already allowing it to maintain maximum boost speeds. We have to dig into this one further...

Total System Power Consumption
Tested at the Outlet
Before bringing this article to a close, we'd like to cover power consumption and noise. Throughout all of our benchmarking and testing, we monitored acoustics and tracked how much power our test system was consuming using a power meter. Our goal was to give you an idea of how much power each configuration used while idling and also while under a heavy workload. Please keep in mind that we were testing total system power consumption at the outlet here, not the power being drawn by the graphics cards alone.

power

The Radeon RX 460 proved to be quite power friendly. Under both idle and load conditions, the card consumed the least amount of power in comparison to the other cards we tested.

noise

Noise is a non-issue with the ASUS Radeon RX 460 STRIX we tested as well. When idling, the card is inaudible over the other components in our test system (we test inside a mid-tower chassis with a Corsair HX series PSU and Arctic Cooling CPU air-cooler on the CPU). Under load, the fans do spin up, but the card remains relatively quiet overall.

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