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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For Honor GPU Benchmark - Sapphire RX 560 vs. GTX 1050, RX 460, 570

Starting our game testing with For Honor, the Sapphire RX 560 Pulse OC ($115) operates a 43FPS AVG with this in-game test course, with GN’s coined 1% low framerate at 32.7FPS, and 0.1% lows at 28.7FPS. This positions the RX 560 Pulse below the GTX 1050 from MSI – which, despite its name, is not actually overclocked – and above the RX 460 4GB card. We’ve got a lead of 5.7% over the previous RX 460 4GB card, running the slower clock-rate, with the GTX 1050 producing an 11.6% lead over the RX 560 Pulse OC.

To compare versus other nearby cards, the $140 MSI GTX 1050 Ti runs at 57FPS AVG, 49FPS 1% lows, and 47FPS 0.1% lows. This places the $140 1050 Ti approximately 19% ahead of the $100 GTX 1050 and 33% ahead of the RX 560. The RX 570, at $180, runs 35% faster than the 1050 Ti. While those cards aren’t the focus of today, they help us understand if and when extra money could be worthwhile.

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Frametime consistency isn’t king for the RX 560 in this particular title, as we can show in this frametime plot, although the GTX 1050 does reasonably when compared to the 560.

Mass Effect: Andromeda GPU Benchmark – RX 560

Moving on to Mass Effect: Andromeda, we start with higher settings tests to get some comparative numbers to the higher-end cards, then we’ll move to tests with medium settings.

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The $115 Sapphire RX 560 Pulse runs an AVG FPS of 37, with lows at 31 and 30, trailed by the RX 460 Nitro 4GB card at 34FPS AVG. The 560 leads by about 8.8% over the 460. The next card up, the MSI GTX 1050 $100 card, operates at an average of 46FPS, with lows tightly timed as on the previous cards. The 1050 Ti runs a 51FPS AVG, outmatched quickly by an RX 570 at 63FPS AVG.

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Let’s look at the medium results. Although more limited, as we’ve only just begun testing lower-end GPUs, we get a better idea as to relative performance on these cards. With these settings, the GTX 1050 is able to hit 61FPS AVG, with the RX 560 stock running 53FPS AVG, 45FPS 1% lows, and 42FPS 0.1% lows. This lands it about 6.6% better than the RX 460 Nitro 4GB card, with the overclocked RX 560 Pulse running at 8.8% faster than the stock RX 560.

DOOM (Vulkan) GPU Benchmark – RX 560

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Moving now to DOOM with Vulkan and Async compute, the RX 560 finally begins to pull ahead of the GTX 1050; in fact, once overclocked, it also pulls ahead of the more expensive 1050 Ti. This is in-line with what we’ve seen out of this particular game in the past, where DOOM tends to produce more favorable results for AMD with its Vulkan integration. The MSI GTX 1050 OC struggles a bit, maintaining an average FPS of 44 with lows dipping to 25, and overall produces less consistent frametimes than the RX 560 4GB card. The 560 averages 66FPS, which is about 6.5% faster than the RX 460 4GB Nitro card.

Overclocked, the 560 moves up to 74FPS AVG, a 13% increase over its stock performance. For reference, the RX 570 4GB card averages at around 120FPS, or 60% faster than the RX 560 4GB Pulse card.

A quick note, here: this is with DOOM configured to Ultra graphics at 1080p – not bad performance for these low-end cards. Even the 1050, although we wouldn’t recommend it.

Ghost Recon: Wildlands GPU Benchmark – RX 560

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We now move to Ghost Recon: Wildlands, where we’ve got tests at Very High for comparison and on Medium for more realistic representation of the cards.

We’ve got a fairly complete view of performance from top-to-bottom with this chart, with regard to scaling. The RX 560 Pulse operates an average FPS of 33.3, followed by the RX 460 4GB card at 32FPS AVG. The GTX 1050 is able to sustain a higher average at 36FPS, with the 1050 Ti running about 42FPS AVG. For perspective, the RX 570 runs an average FPS of 51, leading the RX 560 by 53%. It’s not until RX 570, RX 580, and GTX 1060 territory that we start reaching numbers where it’d be possible to play on a mix of Very High and High settings. The GTX 1060 is the real victor of that stack, but at more than two times the cost of the GTX 1050 and RX 560, can’t really be considered as an alternative in the price-point. Instead of trying to make that work, let’s just run the tests with lower settings.

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Here’s Medium, which is more reasonably where you’d be playing with these $100-class cards. We’ve got fewer cards on this chart, but enough to start building an understanding of performance. The RX 560 Pulse now runs an average of 43, about 10FPS higher than previously, landing it around 7.5% faster than the RX 460 4GB Nitro card. Overclocking gets us to 46FPS AVG, which is about on-par with the MSI 1050 card’s stock performance. The MSI GTX 1050 stock card operates 8.6% faster than the RX 560 4GB card. For reference, the GTX 1050 Ti stock card runs a 53FPS AVG, making it 12.8% faster than the 1050 and 15.3% faster than the RX 560. The RX 570 is about 50% faster than the RX 560.

AOTS (Dx12) - RX 560

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Sniper Elite 4 (Dx12) GPU Benchmark – RX 560

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Sniper Elite 4 is another game where we’ve only just started running low-end card tests, so it’s not as populated as our 4K tests. Looking at 1080p/High, the RX 560 4GB card runs an average of 52FPS, with overclocking producing a 9% performance improvement over baseline. The RX 460 runs a 49FPS AVG, making the gap between the 460 and 560 about 6.7%. The GTX 1050 is led by all of these, thanks to its 43FPS AVG, though overclocking nearly gets its averages on-par with a 460 – despite lower performance in frametime consistency overall, as illustrated by GN’s low values.

These performance numbers plot the RX 560 close to the GTX 1050 Ti, with the RX 570 hitting 100FPS averages, at times.

Conclusion: RX 560 vs. GTX 1050 (& Others)

We’re not yet looking at 4GB vs. 2GB comparisons for the RX 560 (but hope to), but the promised price-point of ~$115 (a $15 difference) nearly makes such a comparison irrelevant. Our initial reviews of the RX 460 and GTX 1050 ($80 to $100) demonstrated that the RX 460 was a bad purchase, given the competition at the same price bracket. Things have changed today – part of that is the games market, where we now have the likes of DOOM and Sniper holding the RX 560 well ahead of the 1050 – and part of that is just the core and frequency increase. Still, it’s not a clean sweep; the RX 560 4GB is behind in our Dx11 test suite, costs more ($15 more from retail, or $35 more if counting near-constant MIRs), and consumes more power. Considering, though, that its Dx11 deficits aren’t as large as its surpluses in other test titles, the RX 560 is far from a “bad buy.”

This particular model, the Pulse from Sapphire, is able to maintain perfectly acceptable VRM FET and VRAM temperatures in spite of its low-quality cooler, thanks to lower amperage throughput on the 560 GPU. Temperatures aren’t offensive, performance isn’t offensive, and power draw is acceptable.

These cards aren’t the most exciting to look at, given the price bracket, but they fill an important niche. At this point, the 1050 is aging – that’s not to say the 560 is “new,” seeing as it’s really just Polaris with a new BIOS, but the unlocked cores do help the RX 560 regain ground where the 460 lost handily. The extra ~5-7% over the initial RX 460 launch helps out.

Really, though, just buy whichever fits the budget. Unless you’re playing one of the specific games where the 560 takes a strong lead (like DOOM or Sniper), performance is similar enough to just go for the card that favors the budget. If games like DOOM and Dx12 titles are in your regular games arsenal, then the 560 seems to suit those titles (from our tests).

More to come on this card.

Editor-in-Chief: Steve Burke
Video Producer: Andrew Coleman


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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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