Sapphire Nitro RX 460 OC review: A classy, capable low-cost graphics card

But that fanciness comes at a price.

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Test 8: Power

We test power under load by plugging the entire system into a Watts Up meter, running the intensive Division benchmark at 4K resolution, and noting the peak power draw. Idle power is measured after sitting on the Windows desktop for three minutes with no extra programs or processes running.

nitro 460 power use

AMD’s Polaris GPU grants Radeon graphics cards a huge step forward in power efficiency, but it still isn’t as lean as Nvidia’s chips. Comparing the Sapphire Nitro and XFX Radeon RX 460 cards head-to-head, Sapphire’s card consumes slightly more power at peak (while still coming in solidly under 200W). Running at full speed at all times will do that.

Test 9: Heat

We test heat during the same intensive Division benchmark, by running SpeedFan in the background and noting the maximum GPU temperature once the run is over. All three of our test samples use custom coolers; there’s not a single reference design in the mix.

nitro 460 temps

Sapphire’s Nitro runs the “hottest.” Again, opting to design around clock speeds running at maximum at all times has knock-on effects. That said, all of these cards run cool compared to higher-priced graphics cards.

They also all run quietly. You can hear the fans on both the XFX and Sapphire models, but neither is obnoxious when they’re in a closed case under your desk, and those sounds disappear completely if you toss on a gaming headset while you play.

Next page: Bottom line

At a Glance
  • Sapphire's custom model delivers thoughtful touches you don't normally find in budget graphics cards, but 4GB versions of the Radeon RX 460 simply cost too much.

    Pros

    • Thoughtful design
    • Overclock speed stays rock-solid during gameplay
    • Supports a wide-range of cutting-edge technologies

    Cons

    • All Radeon Rx 460 models with 4GB of memory aren't priced compellingly
    • Rock-solid overclock requires slightly more power and heat.
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