Sapphire RX 560 Pulse OC 4GB Review vs. GTX 1050, RX 460, More

By Published May 12, 2017 at 9:00 am

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Sapphire RX 560 Pulse OC Power Consumption

Starting off with total power consumption as measured at the wall, our RX 560 Pulse ($115) configuration draws 67W when idle, with the overclocked variant mostly equal to this. This is lower power consumption than the RX 460 for two reasons: One, AMD tuned the 500 series of Polaris cards to draw lower power when idle; two, the RX 460 we tested has LEDs and extra hardware on the board, which increases power draw. For comparison, our MSI GTX 1050 model – which MSI calls the “OC,” but we are running stock – has equal power consumption in our tests to the RX 560 Pulse.

Moving to 3DMark – FireStrike, the RX 560 Pulse faces a total system power draw of 148W, lower than the RX 460 Nitro only because the 460 hosts two fans, LEDs, and different volt-frequency curves. Otherwise, as we saw in our RX 580 versus RX 480 results – which we can highlight here – the 500 series has been drawing more power given the same PCB and cooler.



Regardless, 148W for the Pulse 4GB card, jumping to 172W system power draw when overclocked. The GTX 1050 configuration draws 139W with the stock MSI card, which MSI calls “OC.” The GTX 1060 SSC, for reference, sits around 219W total system power draw.


In real-world gaming workloads, starting with For Honor, the RX 560 Pulse runs a power consumption of around 172W total system draw, with the 460 Nitro at 180W and both fans cranking. The 560 Pulse overclocked card hovers around 193W total draw, below the GTX 1060 SSC at 218W total system power draw. The MSI 1050 card hovers at 153W total system power draw, marking about an 11% reduction in power draw than the Pulse 460.


Playing Ghost Recon: Wildlands, we observe a total system power draw of around 173W for the RX 560 Pulse, a reduction of about 5.7% from the particular RX 460 that we tested, with the overclocked Pulse build drawing 194W. This is about an 8% reduction from the GTX 1060 SSC. At the low-end, the GTX 1050 MSI card runs at 152W total system power draw.

AMD RX 560 Frequency Stability vs. Temperature


Moving now to thermal testing, we start with a simple frequency versus time chart to plot GPU core stability under a power virus scenario. Clocks are enumerated differently in these torture workloads than with gaming workloads, meaning a lower clock than in gaming, but power consumption and thermals are higher.

Given the low-power cooler on the Sapphire RX 560 Pulse, we expected worse cooling performance than what was output in our torture workload. It seems that, thanks to the relatively low power consumption of the GPU compared to its larger counterparts, things are kept under control even with a heatsink that is similar to an Intel stock cooler.

We’re looking at an average GPU diode reading of approximately 75C, with the target seeming to be about 73-75C, while the GPU clock maintains just below 1200MHz. We see some clock dithering at this point; ideally, you’d observe a perfectly straight line for the clock – but our range is still about 20MHz. Not bad. To maintain this clock and temperature, the fan ramps up maximally to around 36% fan speed for 1600RPM.

Sapphire RX 560 Pulse OC VRAM & VRM Temperature


The next question is how VRM and VRAM components hold up to the small cooler. Fortunately, because this card isn’t driving much power, the VRMs do OK.

With our thermocouples, we measured one of the hottest MOSFETs at around 63C, which is well within any reasonable operating temperature. We’re so far below the 125C point that FET temperatures are a non-issue here; at least, they are for the stock card.

The top-left VRAM module is one of the hottest on this card, and measures at about 75C. We’re still well within spec here, though it’d get a bit warm in a higher ambient environment with restrictive airflow. GPU diode temperature is steady at around 73-75C.

Continue to Page 3 for 3DMark results.

Last modified on May 12, 2017 at 9:00 am
Steve Burke

Steve started GamersNexus back when it was just a cool name, and now it's grown into an expansive website with an overwhelming amount of features. He recalls his first difficult decision with GN's direction: "I didn't know whether or not I wanted 'Gamers' to have a possessive apostrophe -- I mean, grammatically it should, but I didn't like it in the name. It was ugly. I also had people who were typing apostrophes into the address bar - sigh. It made sense to just leave it as 'Gamers.'"

First world problems, Steve. First world problems.

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