Radeon RX 470 and RX 460 graphics cards intensify AMD's affordable gaming push

Meet the Polaris family.

AMD may have stoked hype-train fires with the grand reveal of the Radeon RX 480, a US$200 graphics card with the performance of today’s high-performance beasts, but the new Polaris graphics processor beating in its heart was always meant to power an entire new generation of Radeon cards. On Monday, AMD CEO Lisa Su provided a glimpse at the RX 480’s family during E3’s PC Gaming Show.

Instead of unveiling a RX 490 designed to go head-to-head with Nvidia’s beastly GeForce GTX 1070, AMD doubled down on the RX 480’s strategy of gunning for more mainstream gamers. The RX 470 is billed as a “refined, power-efficient” card for 1080p gaming, while the RX 460’s being heralded as “a cool and efficient solution for the ultimate e-sports gaming experience.”

And, well, that’s all we really know.

AMD didn’t talk about price points or offer performance comparisons like it did for the RX 480’s unveiling. Going off the RX 480’s claimed capabilities, however, don’t expect these cheaper cards to be very VR-capable—though the RX 470 in particular could offer pretty compelling 1080p gaming performance at a sub-US$200 price. AMD also sent out a vague press release saying that the Radeon RX series can deliver console-class graphics in thin-and-light 1080p notebooks at 60 frames per second, which presumably refers to a mobile variant of one of these new GPUs.

Su didn’t reveal launch dates for the RX 470 or RX 460 either. But hey, at least the Radeon RX 460 and RX 470 officially exist now!

The new cards support the same bells and whistles announced for the Radeon RX 480, including HDMI 2.0b, high dynamic range video, H.265 encoding and decoding, and the next-gen, “close to the metal” DirectX 12 and Vulkan gaming APIs. The two-generation leap from 28nm GPU technology to 14nm GPU technology promises massive improvements in both performance and power-efficiency over today’s cards as well. AMD says the Radeon RX 480 delivers performance roughly similar to the R9 390 or R9 390X but the card only sucks down a third as much power—a mere 150 watts. Presumably the more modest Radeon RX 460 and 470 demand even less energy; Su says the RX 470 is 2.8x more efficient than its predecessor.

Here’s hoping AMD sheds more light on the two cards’ capabilities, price points, and release dates sooner rather than later. The Radeon RX 480 is scheduled to launch on June 29.

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Brad Chacos

PC World (US online)
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