AMD Radeon RX470 4GB review

Asus’ Strix Gaming Radeon RX470 wowed us last month, offering decent 1080p and 2,560 x 1,440 performance for under £200, all in a quiet, overclocked and good-looking package. At its stock speed, AMD’s RX470 has a 926MHz base clock and a 1206MHz boost clock, but its possible to get an overclocked card for not much more money than the reference spec.

The GPU itself is based on the same Polaris architecture found in AMD’s pricier Radeon RX480 cards (see opposite), but with a slightly cut-down specification. The RX470 has 32 compute units, compared to the 36 compute units in the RX480, giving it a total of 2,048 stream processors and 128 texture units, although it has the same count of 32 ROPS found in the Radeon RX480.

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You also get 4GB of GDDR5 memory running at 1650MHz (6600MHz effective), which is a fair bit slowerthan the 2000MHz (8GHz effective) frequency of the RX480’s memory. On the plus side, its attached to a 256-bit wide memory interface, giving you a total memory bandwidth of 211GB/sec.

Performance

Despite being the cheapest card on test, the RX470 managed to stay above 30fps in all our game tests at 1080p, including the challenging Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, where it still produced a solid minimum of 34fps. It wasn’t quite quick enough to hit the golden 60fps minimum in any of our tests, but its gameplay at 1080p is still smooth – it never dropped below 50fps in Doom, The Witcher 3 or Crysis 3, and its 41f ps minimum in Fallout 4 is a decent result at Ultra settings too.

The RX470 can also handle some gaming at 2,560 x 1,440, never dropping below 30f ps in Crysis 3, Doom or The Witcher 3. However, its 25fps minimum in Fallout 4 is only borderline playable – we recommend running this game at High settings, rather than Ultra, on this card. Its 23fps minimum in Deus Ex: Mankind Divided at this resolution is also unplayable, although to be fair, none of the cards on test managed to hit a 30fps minimum in this test.

The problem for the RX470 now, though, is that you can pick up 3GB GeForce GTX1060 cards for just £10 more, and they offer a significant jump in performance, particularly if you want to play games at2,560 x 1,440. The GTX 1060 3GB beats the RX470 in every single one of our game tests, often by a substantial margin.

Meanwhile, one interesting area for the AMD cards this month was power consumption. We measured the idle power consumption of our system with the RX470 installed at 90W, which is fine, being only 5W higher than with the Nvidia GPUs on test. For the most part, the power consumption at load was fine too, with our system generally drawing around 250W at peak. However, in the third run of Unigine Valley, our test rig’s power consumption started to spike higher when any of the AMD cards were installed, hitting 293W with the RX470. This result isn’t a huge worry; we only saw these power spikes very occasionally, and the result isn’t terrible either way, but the Nvidia cards clearly have the edge in terms of efficiency at the moment.

Conclusion

AMD’s Radeon RX470 can handle 1080p gaming fine, and it can manage some solid frame rates at 2,560 x 1,440 too. However, Nvidia’s 3GB GeForce GTX 1060 has smacked it down to earth with a bang, costing just £15 more, but offering substantially faster frame rates while consuming less power.

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The Radeon RX470 now costs too much money for the performance it offers, but that’s not to say it’s a bad GPU. If you’ve already bought a Radeon RX470 card, it will continue to offer decent gaming performance, but the 3GB GTX 1060 now offers a better deal in this price league.

VERDICT

Decent frame rates from the cheapest card on test, but Nvidia’s 3GB GeForce GTX 1060 offers substantially quicker performance for just £15 more.

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ASUS ROG STRIX Radeon Rx 470 4GB OC Edition AMD Graphics Card...

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AMD Radeon RX470 4GB review

Decent frame rates from the cheapest card on test, but Nvidia's 3GB GeForce GTX 1060 offers substantially quicker performance for just £15 more.

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