Final words and conclusion
Final words and conclusion
The Radeon RX 470 can be true value products. If you area an average gamer with a Full HD monitor and will be able to pick up a 4GB model for say ~179 USD, then this is golden stuff. The price stack however is as follows: premium cards will cost 199$ and value models 179$. So you can expect a 199 USD price for this Red Devil edition card, a price similar to a value 4GB RX 480, and that might be a problem in the product pricing stack. The performance might be a notch lower compared to the RX 480, but it still is really good. Even at 2560x1440 if you'd forfeit a little in say AA levels, the card can manage itself quite well. With a 120 Watt TDP your power consumption isn't too high either. The board partners improved on everything the reference product did half-half. As such this PowerColor has a dual-slot cooler, despite it could be a notch more silent, it does keep temps at the 60 degrees C marker. The product also comes with a back-plate and is a notch tweaked out of the box as well. The end result is a massively impressive product series. You may expect 8GB versions on the market as well, but predominantly we will see 4GB models take the hot-seat in this price range.
Performance wise you always need to place things into perspective, and the final sales price is the biggest variable that will determine the success of the RX 470. For 4GB if you pick a product in the 179 USD space, I think you'd be golden. But another variable is of course your gaming resolution, and 1080P is the domain for this card. You are looking at a product that competes in-between the GeForce GTX 960 GeForce GTX 970. If you compare to say a 280/280X/280 series graphics card, well, for 199 or 229 USD you are in for a treat in terms of performance and value. Let's not forget about other features; the Radeon RX 470 and Polaris 10 overall will offer proper performance, Eyefinity features and PCIe gen 3 compatibility and all the other stuff like HDMI 2.0b, DisplayPort 1.4 with HDR support and so on. The Radeon RX 470 series is a proper DirectX 12 product right from the get-go. Now I shouldn't be saying this but Polaris 10 is Polaris 10 and as such the same GPU is being used on the RX 480. If you purchase a product with a dual-bios (just like the card tested today), you might want to tryout an RX 480 BIOS in this card and see if that works. Hey now that's a cheap and simple upgrade eh? And if the firmware doesn't work out, you do have a spare BIOS. (Just be careful. Very careful. - Ed.)
Who Would The Radeon RX 470 Be Best Suited For?
As always, the answer to that question is a little complex. I would say that you'll need to look at your monitor and game preferences first and foremost. This card at its given price range makes quite a lot of sense right now for 1080P. It is however capable of rendering 2560x1440 resolution games, but you'll run out of raw performance rather sooner then later. At WQHD (2560x1440) most games run well enough if you forfeit on image quality though, e.g. lower AA and complex texture quality settings and shadows. Another benefit is that at least the most elementary and arbitrary DirectX 12 Feature levels are supported in hardware. Even on very harsh-on-the-GPU titles you'll refrain from un-ticking graphics quality options to gain on framerate performance, there's very little trade-off to be made as the RX 470 will deliver enough. In short, for the money this is an excellent 1080P card (if you opt for that model). With 8GB we feel the card is rather future proof, however we're not sure the extra money is well invested (worth it) at 1080P.
Cooling and Noise levels
We did not receive a reference card, but our Red Devil edition from PowerColor with the dual-slot two fan cooler did keep the product at roughly 60 Degrees C under load at near reference clocks. PowerColor is still working on their BIOSes though and as such it is very hard for me to give a final recommendation. Noise levels wise I was definitely less impressed about the two fan cooler opposed to the three-fan one we tested on the RX 480 last week. I would tag this product (in OC BIOS mode) borderline noisy at 42 dBA. In silent mode it keeps the cooler in line at 39~40 dBA on good temps and then isn't either, so I guess that's OK. We have not had any issues with coil noise for this card.
The board is rated at roughly 120 Watts TDP, that means when you completely stress it, that's the power consumption. Our measurements showed that the board TDP is in the 135 Watt region, we measured a little higher but with some games also noticed lower wattage's. The move to 14nm FiNFET obviously is testimony to a great perf/watt ratio. No complaints here really.
The card in default mode (reference) is running ~1200 MHz on the boost frequency with 1270 on the OC BIOS mode - that unfortunately means there isn't a lot of room left for tweaking. In the coming weeks you'll be able to OC with AfterBurner as we are working on support for it It'll get you a proper voltage slider, a MHz increase as well as voltage control (offset) and fan control. That's what I want and need, not the endless unneeded nonsense that both teams now have implemented in their drivers. Overclocking wise we could get the card stable at 1300~1325 MHz. The memory will reach roughly 8.0 Gbps. Overall these are OK results. With a default temperature profile the card will remain to be silent and at the very same temperature levels as default.
The Radeon RX 470 4GB is a very interesting product from a performance point of view, it really isn't that far off from the RX 480 with its clocks set at OC mode (1270 MHz). However there is one flaw, the price does not match the product stack ? See originally the RX 480 8GB was supposed to launch at 259$ 8GB, then 229$ for 4GB with a targeted 199$ for the RX 470. But Nvidia released their 1060 and AMD decided to go more aggressive with the 8 GB 480 at 239 USD and that 4GB RX 480 at 199 USD, and that was and still is the price point for the RX 470. Now it's not like you are going to find a 4GB RX 480 anywhere, but yes a premium 470 will sit at 199 USD. It is still a proper price for this kind of performance and hardware. PowerColor took the RX 470 GPU and improved on the design with a new cooler, OC mode and added a back-plate to it. Also thumbs up for the inclusion of a DVI connector. PowerColor has tweaked not just the clock frequency, they increased the power limiter by default as well, and this (in total) will bring you roughly 10% extra perf compared to what other brands will do who will just increase that Boost clock frequency. See the advantage here is that 1270 MHz is just that, 1270 Mhz all the time, other brands will dynamically boost downwards to the 1150~1200 Mhz range depending on load and limiters. Anyone looking for an affordable upgrade to a FullHD and even WQHD capable graphics card coming from say a 280/380... well, this card series will offer nice value for money. Heat and noise wise I'd like to declare the product as reasonable, it however is not and I do repeat this not a silent product. We do especially find the OC mode to be too noisy for a product anno 2016, when you switch towards the BIOS silent mode with slightly slower clocks there you have a a more silent product but at the cost of performance. We think the 470 series will be a nice mainstream product series offering good value for money, but you need to make sure that you will not purchase the product with price hyper-inflated, 179~199 USD is the purchasing domain that makes sense.