AMD Radeon RX 470 4GB Review

How We Tested

The subject of today’s evaluation is Asus’ Strix RX 470 OC Edition. Whereas the RX 470 is specified at a 926 MHz base and 1206 MHz boost frequency, Asus operates its model at a 1270 MHz boost clock rate. This figure drops to an average of 1143 MHz during our 10-loop Metro: Last Light Redux stress test. Asus arms the board with 4GB of GDDR5 memory, which we’d consider the right amount for a 1920x1080 target.

The rest of the field consists of a Radeon RX 480, Radeon R9 380, Radeon R9 280X, GeForce GTX 1060 Founders Edition, GeForce GTX 970, GeForce GTX 960, and GeForce GTX 770, covering multiple generations of popular gaming cards capable of playable 1080p performance. Of course, in this space, reference-class boards aren’t always available, so some of the competing products come from add-in partners as well:

Core Clock (Reference)
Memory Clock (Reference)
Asus Strix RX 470 OC Edition
1270 MHz (1206 MHz)
1650 MHz (1650 MHz)
AMD Radeon RX 480
1266 MHz (1266 MHz)
2000 MHz (2000 MHz)
MSI R9 380 Gaming 4G
1000 MHz (970 MHz)
1425 MHz (1425 MHz)
XFX Radeon R9 280X Double Dissipation
1080 MHz (1000 MHz)
1550 MHz (1500 MHz)
Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 Founders Edition
1708 MHz (1708 MHz)
2000 MHz (2000 MHz)
Gigabyte GeForce GTX 970 G1 Gaming OC
1178 MHz (1050 MHz)
1752 MHz (1752 MHz)
MSI GTX 960 Gaming 2G
1190 MHz (1127 MHz)
1752 MHz (1752 MHz)
Nvidia GeForce GTX 770
1085 MHz (1085 MHz)
1752 MHz (1752 MHz)

As we shift from big GPUs that beg for potent platforms to more mainstream graphics cards, the editors start debating whether to use lower-end hardware in our reviews. This is particularly relevant with low-level APIs like DirectX 12 and Vulkan in play. For now, though, in the interest of fairness, we’re sticking with our Core i7-6700K-based test bed. After all, we’ve already benchmarked everything from Nvidia’s Titan X to AMD’s RX 480 on the same configuration. But rest assured we’ll circle back once AMD and Nvidia slow down with these launches to explore the topic in more depth. By then we hope to have one or two more shipping DX12-based titles to test with, too.

Drivers and Benchmarks

That’s not to say our methodology isn’t evolving. For instance, we’re increasing the graphics load imposed by Project CARS by switching to DS4X mode with SMAA set to High. Based on our findings in the Titan X review, we anticipate that more anti-aliasing will increase visual fidelity (especially at 1920x1080) and better balance any utilization-based differences between platforms running AMD and Nvidia graphics.

We do the same thing in GTA V, adding 2x MSAA to already-taxing Very High graphics settings. Doom is in there at the Ultra quality preset under Vulkan, just as it was in our Titan X review. Hitman now benefits from SMAA, in addition to running under DirectX 12 mode. And Rise of the Tomb Raider also gets the SMAA/DirectX 12 treatment. Finally, we turn SSAA on in Metro: Last Light Redux.

Of course, the Vulkan/DX12 testing necessitates a new approach to measurement. From our Titan X review, “…this involves shifting away from Fraps-based testing and adopting PresentMon, an Event Tracing for Windows-based frame rate monitor. By default, PresentMon records all running processes. But we specifically filter out the process we want to evaluate, generating a record of time between Present commands, similar to Fraps.

All of the cards in our Radeon RX 470 review are tested using the most current drivers available to press: AMD sent over Radeon Software Crimson Edition 16.8.1, and Nvidia gave us GeForce 368.98.

DirectX 12, Extreme quality preset, built-in benchmark
DirectX 11, Ultra quality preset, custom Tom’s Hardware benchmark (Tashgar jeep ride), 100-second Fraps recording
Vulkan, Ultra quality preset, custom benchmark, 100-second PresentMon recording
DirectX 11, Very High quality settings, 2x MSAA, built-in benchmark (test five), 110-second Fraps recording
DirectX 12, Ultra level of detail, SMAA, High texture quality, built-in benchmark, 95-second PresentMon recording
DirectX 11, Very High detail preset, SSAA, 16x AF, Normal Motion Blur, Normal Tessellation, built-in benchmark, 145-second Fraps recording
DirectX 11, Ultra quality settings, DS4X/SMAA anti-aliasing, High texture resolution, Nürburgring Sprint, 100-second Fraps recording
DirectX 12, Very High quality preset, SMAA, built-in benchmark, 80-second PresentMon recording
DirectX 11, Ultra quality preset, Supersampling temporal AA, built-in benchmark, 90-second Fraps recording
DirectX 11, Highest quality settings, HairWorks disabled, custom Tom’s Hardware benchmark, 100-second Fraps recording

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  • cknobman
    Uhhhhhhhh, were are all the charts?
  • AndrewJacksonZA
    An issue: The Ashes and Battlefield 4 graphs are not displaying.
  • n0ns3ns3
    Well ...
    Until I see at least 5 games on Vulcan and 10 on DX12 of different types, I'll not jump into conclusion about AMD vs Nvidia performance.
    So far the clear winners for AMD are the games sponsored by AMD - so couldn't care less about those results.
    Doom is interesting, but any card getting very decent FPS in it.
  • AndrewJacksonZA
    Actually, almost all the graphs are missing.
  • Anonymous
    Another failure by AMD.
  • Ergosum
    Indeed. Charts would be nice :)
  • Sizzor
    Is it me or every one else where are the charts??
  • FormatC
    Cool down.... I've just re-published all galleries and the charts are visible now. The US guys are sleeping but I saw the issue (a follow of your new front-end) and fixed it.

    Please reload the pages again :)
  • Stardude82
    Where are the cards? Not seeing them at the big e-retailers.

    Edit: Just went live and they're gone.
  • Sizzor
    The MSRP was $149 and looking at the current market the price should be around $180, $200 is way to high for this card.
  • AndrewJacksonZA
    Anonymous said:
    Cool down.... I've just re-published all galleries and the charts are visible now. The US guys are sleeping but I saw the issue (a follow of your new front-end) and fixed it.

    Please reload the pages again :)
    Awwwwwwwwww. We were looking forward to starting a riot, FormatC! ;-)

    I've cleared my browser's cache and reloaded the page, but still can't see the missing graphs. I'll try again in 15 minutes or so.

    Thank you. :-)
  • Achoo22
    It would be convenient for the 1070 to be included in these comparisons. I feel that the card under review should never be at the top or bottom of the performance charts when there are faster and slower options readily available for reference and comparison. Plus, it does make you look biased.
  • AndrewJacksonZA
    @Achoo22: You do realise that the 1070 is in a completely and utterly different price bracket, right?
  • Yuka
    I missed the 290 and 290X in the review, but I guess we want to compare the RX470 against the RX480 primarily, right?

    And yeah, this card bordering $200 is just stupid. There is no way you will skip the RX480 4GB and pick this one at the same price point. Well, if you can find either, that is :S

    I'm hoping that when the prices stabilize, this card will be in the $130-150 bracket as it should be.

  • cknobman
    Anonymous said:
    Cool down.... I've just re-published all galleries and the charts are visible now. The US guys are sleeping but I saw the issue (a follow of your new front-end) and fixed it.

    Please reload the pages again :)

    Sorry but I have tried in 2 different browsers.

    No charts, you fixed jack squat please try again. :)
  • AndrewJacksonZA
    I agree with you Yuka. I would expect this card to be in the USD130 - USD150 range with the 460 going USD80 - USD95.
  • n0ns3ns3
    I'd even agree that it is nice in 140-170 range.
  • 3ogdy
    $180 for this card? What are they smoking that's causing them to dream like that?
    Just like people around here have already said: this card should cost no more than $130-$150 - with the $150 being the heavily improved version, for duck's sake.
    Personally, for $200 I'd just save $100 more and get the GTX1060, given the performance delta.
  • Dukinie
    Pricing just doesn't make any sense... here in Denmark the prices are (Sapphire Nitro+ cards, which are the cheapest atm):

    470 4gb - $277
    470 8gb - $322
    480 4gb - $299
    480 8gb - $367

    Kinda makes the 470 pointless..
  • elbert
    For a $200 custom 470 I would expect an 8pin power PCI-E card. I do wonder tho why tomshardware isn't doing OC tests. This card should hit 1.4Ghz unless AMD has lowered the VDDC max 1.15v the 480 gets. Also couldn't find if the 470 sports the same samsung GDDR5 has the 480 which would leave open overclocking memory.