All About BTC, LTC, ETH mining as well as other alternative crypto currencies
Time to see what the AMD Radeon RX 460 is capable of bringing to the crypto mining world. We got a Gigabyte Windoforce OC AMD Radeon RX 460 with 2 GB of video memory to test what hashrate it will manage to provide you with for mining Ethereum (ETH) and other popular crypto algorithms. The Radeon RX 460 is currently the leas powerful model of the new RX series from AMD, it comes with just 896 stream processors, uses x8 PCI-E lines, relies of a 128-bit memory bus and comes with 2GB or 4GB video memory clocked at 7 GHz. The biggest advantage that the Radeon RX 460 has is the low power usage that the card has, below 75W TDP as it does not feature a PCI-E power connector for external power. The big question however is how much performance it manages to provide for the low power usage it has.
Do note that we are going to be using a 2GB video card here and for Ethereum mining that can cause some issues as some of you probably know already. Some video cards with 2GB video memory by default produce an error when you try to mine Ethereum with them, but the good news is that with some extra commands you can still use them. Here is How to Fix Ethminer Not-Working Issues on 2GB GPUs, this trick also does the job for the RX 460 2GB.
Let us see what the Gigabyte Windoforce OC AMD Radeon RX 460 2GB can do when mining Ethereum with the Claymore Dual Miner – about 10.9 MHS average. That hashrate is a direct result from the 128-bit memory and the 4GB versions should do the same as they are also equipped with 7 GHz video memory using the same width of the memory bus. The hashrate is pretty much half of what a Radeon RX 470 with 7 GHz video memory and 256-bit memory bus provides as you can see from our review of a 4GB 7GHz RX 470 here.
The obvious thing to do here is to try and overclock the video memory to see if we can squeeze some more extra performance by going over the default 7 GHz (1750 MHz) frequency. Well, you can go quick a bit overclocking the video memory, however pas the 7 GHz mark it apparently switches to more relaxed timings and thus you don’t actually see increase of the hashrate, but a drop. So overclocking the video memory is pointless for Ethereum mining, though for gaming it should still result in some extra performance increase.
With the stock settings for the GPU and memory when you are mining Ethereum (ETH) you should be below 60W of power used by the video card in total, though you can probably further reduce that with some tweaking while maintaining the same hashrate for mining Ethereum. The default setting for the fans manages to keep the card at 68 degrees Celsius with just the fans rotating at 33%, maxing them out to 100% makes the card a bit noisy, but the temperature goes down to just about 50 degrees.
Here is how the situation looks for other popular crypto mining algorithms, tested with the latest NiceHash Miner. It is as expected, the RX 460 is more than two times slower than the RX 470… but with the 460 having less than half of the Stream Processor of a 470 it is normal that GPU intensive algorithms will be slower. Furthermore, without Ellesmere-specific optimizations for certain algorithms the hashrates produced with the default kernels for some algorithms do seem really disappointing when compared to optimized kernels on 280X and 290X or the 300 series. So while the new Radeon RX 400 series does manage to do quite well in Ethereum mining (memory-intensive algorithm) the new GPUs from AMD are just lacking the raw power to be able to offer really good hashrate for other GPU-intensive algorithms.
After testing the Sapphire NITRO+ AMD Radeon RX 470 8GB and seeing what it it capable of delivering for mining Ethereum and some other crypto currencies it is time to also test a smaller 4 GB version of the Radeon RX 480. We have managed to get our hands on an MSI Gaming X AMD Radeon RX 470 4GB video card and we tested it, so below you can read about our experience and findings using that particular model. The good thing about the MSI RX 470 card is that it runs on 6.6 GHz (1650 MHz) video memory by default and has an OC mode that overclocks the video memory to 7 GHz (1750 MHz), so we could easily test both modes. As you’ve probably read already the Radeon RX 470 8 GB we tested from Sapphire is with 8 GHz video memory, so as you’d expect the MSI card should be slower for Ethereum mining, let us see how much exactly.
Using the Claymore Dual Miner for mining Ethereum (ETH) at the default settings with the video memory at 6.6 GHz (1650 MHz) the hashrate we are getting is about 20.5 MHS. That is roughly 4 MHS slower than what the RX 470 8GB from Sapphire manages to do with its memory running at 8 GHz. So significant difference in the performance you get at default settings between a 4 GB and 8 GB versions of the RX 470 for mining Ethereum. A larger difference is also to be expected in other mining algorithms that are more memory intensive than GPU intensive. For algorithms that are not so memory dependent on the video memory there should not be much of a difference in performance between he 4GB and 8GB models of the Radeon RX 470.
Moving to 7 GHz for the video memory (1750 MHz) on the MSI Radeon RX 470 4GB we get an increase of the Ethereum mining hashrate to about 22.1 MHS. That is about 1.6 MHS increase over the result we got from the 6.6 GHz (1650 MHz) video memory and is slower by 2.4 MHS compared to the RX 470 8GB with memory running at 8 GHz.
We wanted to try overclocking the video memory further over the 7 GHz frequency and see if that will bring some extra performance and we could achieve up to about 7.5 GHz stable for mining Ethereum. The problem however was that instead of the hashrate further increasing as we overclock the video memory past the 7 GHz mark the result was the opposite, we started seeing a drop of the hashrate below 20 MHS. It seems that after 7 GHz the timings of the video memory are being changed to less aggressive values and even though we get higher frequency it does not manage to result in better performance for mining Ethereum at least. The maximum limit for how high we could set the video memory operating frequency we got available was 8.4 GHz (2100 MHz), but of course we could not get even close to it with this slower video memory like we could easily reach it with the RX 470 8GB Sapphire card that starts at 8 GHz.
So what about other mining algorithms? Well, the results we got were a bit disappointing and not because of the hashrates, but because of the way that the video card behaved that got us puzzled. Using the latest AMD Crimson Edition 16.8.1 Hotfix driver and trying to run some sgminer tests for other popular algorithms pretty much resulted in us getting blue screens, so we’ve moved to the version that MSI provides for that video card on their website. Using the 16.7.3 release made things a bit better, no blue screens anymore, now the system just restarted instead. When testing the Sapphire RX 470 8GB model we had no such trouble, however back then we’ve used an earlier beta driver that Sapphire put on disk included with the video card and it behaved much better than what we’ve seen with these two newer releases.
So we’ve had to try the Sapphire NITRO+ AMD Radeon RX 470 8GB with the AMD Crimson Edition 16.8.1 Hotfix driver and guess what, the same blue screens started appearing when trying to run sgminer via the NiceHash Miner package for the same tests that were working with the beta driver prior to that on the same GPU. So it seems that the problem is related to the video drivers and the most recent versions apparently are not good for mining anything other than Ethereum or at least almost anything, because Ethereum mining seems to be working just fine with all of the drivers. If you are interested we can upload and share the Sapphire beta drivers that seem to be working better if you are experiencing similar problems with RX 470 trying to mine anything other than Ethereum.