Why I bought one of AMD’s worst GPUs

When it comes to graphics cards, AMD had some stinks Over the years, the Radeon RX 6400 must be counted among them. For $130, it’s a terrible deal for most gamers, and the practical requirements for a modern CPU and motherboard are frustrating.

This is it bone players. Despite what I knew to be true about the RX 6400, I recently went out and bought one. No, I did not have a mental breakdown or some kind of psychotic episode. In fact, I had a very good reason for buying the 6400, and while it’s a terrible card for most people, it actually has a good reason for being.

RX 480 level performance for just 40 watts

Powercolor Radeon RX 6400 packaged.
Matthew Konatzer / Digital Trends

When we think about what makes a good GPU, performance is king. It’s definitely what the average GPU buyer has in mind when they scour the web for benchmarks and performance data.

But pulling power is also important. very important.

In 2016, I was one of the first people to buy a Radeon RX 480, One of AMD’s best ever GPUs, due to its great performance, low price and decent energy efficiency. I enjoyed how easy the games played like The Witcher 3And the Hitman (2016)And the Skyrim With HD or maximum graphics at 1080p while maintaining a frame rate of 60 FPS (frames per second) or more. Even today, this is a good level of performance.

The RX 6400 draws 100 watts less power than the RX 480. That’s a big deal.

But in terms of power efficiency, the RX 6400 puts its predecessor to shame. It’s nearly as fast as the RX 480, and while it’s smaller, it consumes less than Third of the RX 480’s power budget. As we’ve seen in many Reviewers’ results when tested against the RX 570, which can account for the RX 480, the RX 6400 lags by only about 6% in average frame rates, while consuming 100 watts less power. That’s a big deal.

Of course, one important caveat is that the RX 6400 requires PCIe 4.0 for peak performance. With only PCIe 3.0 enabled, the RX 6400’s performance appears to drop by 15%. This is a particularly thorny issue for the RX 6400, because that means it performs poorly on machines prior to PCIe 4.0’s debut in 2019; Ironically, most budget Ryzen 5000 CPUs don’t have PCIe 4.0, although all Ryzen 3000 chipsets do. Fortunately, Intel has PCIe 4.0 support on all Alder Lake CPUseven their sub-$100 models, are the kind you’ll want to pair with the RX 6400.

Low-level GPU pricing is finally affordable

A PC inside a SilverStone ML05.
Matthew Konatzer / Digital Trends

The RX 6400 is a lower-end GPU, which means it’s compact physically, and it should snap open easily. Smaller ITX builds Where open space is limited. While the RX 6400 is impressive compared to older GPUs, one can point out that it has roughly the same performance as Nvidia’s old GTX 1650, which was released in 2019, a full three years before the RX 6400. That’s right – the GTX comes 1650 is also compact in size and consumes the same amount of power. So what does the RX 6400 do that the 1650 can’t? Well, it comes down to availability and price.

For years, prices for low-end GPUs have skyrocketed, even before The shortage of the GPU reared its ugly head. For reference, I bought a low-end 2GB RX 460 for $94 in 2017, which was actually a really good deal as GTX 1050s and GTX 1050 Tis go for much more – sometimes as high as $150. I even remember seeing lower-end 460s, 1050s and 1050 Tis for around $200 throughout 2018 and 2019.

While supply was a factor, the real nail in the coffin was the shortage the new Low-level GPUs to pick up the slack. From 2016 to 2018, the only new lower-end GPU was the GT 1030, which is extremely slow and low-end, and thus fails to bring down prices or deliver a worthwhile experience. In 2019, the GTX 1650 appeared and was promising for its high performance and efficiency, but it was very expensive, usually selling for more than $200. Even today, most of them go for $225 to $250, with a single gigabyte model currently available for $175.

Just last month I bought an RX 6400 for only $130.

The fact that the RX 6400 exists, especially at its price, makes it a very unique graphics card.

The RX 6400 seems to be in good supply since it was introduced and sells for under $160 at times. At the time of writing, there are two RX 6400s selling for $150, but just in the last month, I bought an RX 6400 for $130. For those who want to build a cheap, low-end PC, saving $30 is a lot when it means they can go for a better CPU that supports PCIe 4.0.

I may be more bitter about the 6400’s price when I paid less than $100 for a good low-end GPU in 2017, for a very similar PC as you can see in the photo above. The thing is, low-end cards for gaming aren’t just a niche — they’re a niche in the ITX gaming PC niche. People who like to build small computers (myself included) just have to take what they can get these days. I’m grateful the RX 6400 exists, because it’s the first low-end graphics processor in a long time worth the cost.

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