AMD has quietly released its entry-level Radeon RX 6400 graphics card with a recommended price of $159, making it the most affordable RX 6000 series card to date. The RDNA2-based RX 6400 includes a scaled-down version of the 6nm Navi 24 GPU, the same one that powers the RX 6500XT. It includes 768 Shader units and comes with a typical plate power of 53W.
That power consumption figure means it can get all its power through the PCIe slot. This is one of the main advantages of the 6400. It can be easily integrated into any of the millions of Dell or HP systems in the world, without having to worry about the internal power supply.
Many 6400 boards ship with single-slot cooling, low-profile PCBs, or both. This is an important feature for small form factor systems.
In terms of performance, AMD advertises the RX 6400 as superior to the GTX 1050 Ti and GTX 1650 consuming less energy. Assuming these numbers hold up in independent testing and excluding any limitations from PCIe 4x, this is the kind of performance that will appeal to casual gamers. AMD claims the RX 6400 can maintain 60fps in a variety of modern games, although the most demanding ones require low settings, and you can forget about things like ray tracing.
If you’re considering buying an RX 6400, it’s important to be aware of its limitations. It is limited to just a single HDMI 2.1 and DisplayPort 1.4 output. A third would be nice, but that’s a legacy of its mobile origins. There is also its PCIe x4 limitation. A card at this level shouldn’t face any significant bottlenecks in a PCIe 4.0 or PCIe 3.0 system, but it can happen with an older PCIe 2.0 system, which is where I assume many RX 6400s will end up, perhaps as a replacement for a dead GPU or obsolete.
It does not have a complete media encoder and decoder, which will limit its appeal to HTPC users. This will depend on the CPU that comes with it. One APU may be more attractive to users who want to build a media box.
If you’re aware of its limitations and don’t expect much from it, the RX 6400 might carve a niche for itself, especially since Nvidia doesn’t yet have an Ampere-gen card to compete with. I feel that its price of $159 is too high, but this is not a card that attracts miners and will certainly go down over time. If that happens, the RX 6400 will be a reasonable entry-level gaming card. Load up PUBG or some CS:GO and it will do the job, while drinking energy and staying cool.