The one thing I'm going to start with as I begin my performance summary of the SAPPHIRE Nitro Radeon RX 470 4GB is that I'm only going to be judging the card for its performance at 1080p. I've included 1440p and 4K results after I told myself I wouldn't include them in my review. I thought it would be good to just include them anyway, so we can see where the card falls against the 8GB variant that I will be reviewing shortly.
The 4.9 TFLOPS of compute performance on the Radeon RX 470 is enough to chew through today's games at 1080p 60FPS, which is great considering the $200 (or so) price you should find SAPPHIRE's Nitro Radeon RX 470 4GB for. SAPPHIRE has two models of its Nitro Radeon RX 470 cards, one with 4GB of VRAM and another with 8GB. The one we have here rocks 4GB of RAM, and it's enough for 1080p and 1440p gaming without a problem.
SAPPHIRE's Nitro Radeon RX 470 4GB kills it at 1080p, with 60FPS average and some. In games like Metro: Last Light Redux, we had results of 79FPS average - which is more than enough to turn on some AA and still hit 60FPS average. Far Cry Primal was hitting 59FPS at 1080p, which is perfect - again, some detail adjustments and you could hit 60FPS and beyond on the Radeon RX 470... but an overclocked RX 470 should be able to keep up with a reference RX 480.
This is where the reality sets in - the RX 470 is priced at $179 from AMD, while the RX 480 4GB costs $199... a difference of $20. Most people are going to spend the extra $20 and get the RX 480 over the RX 470, which is why AMD really needed to have a $149 price on the RX 470. But, we can't change that - the only thing I can do is make a point that the RX 480 costs just $20 more.
Now, when it comes to games like Overwatch and CS:GO, the Radeon RX 470 becomes an even bigger beast. These games don't require crazy amounts of GPU horsepower, so I thought I'd test Overwatch (my current gaming obsession) on the SAPPHIRE Nitro Radeon RX 470 4GB. I'm using a BenQ XL2730Z monitor, which rocks a native resolution of 2560x1440, refresh rate of 144Hz, and AMD's FreeSync technology.
I was playing Overwatch at 2560x1440 at around 100FPS average on a mix of medium/high graphics settings, and if I lowered the resolution to 1080p, I was hitting 144FPS average without an issue. This is quite the performance from a $179 graphics card, which I normally wouldn't bother with, but in games like Overwatch, CS:GO, and League of Legends, this is all you need. Spending $500+ more on GeForce GTX 1080 is absolutely useless in a game like Overwatch or CS:GO, and this is the market AMD needs to win with. The Radeon RX 470 is an amazing value for money card at 1080p, and even more so when it comes to Overwatch, League of Legends, DOTA 2, or CS:GO.
High Price: If the Radeon RX 480 wasn't already available, then the RX 470 would be a clear winner - but AMD needed to hit a lower price point. AMD should've priced the Radeon RX 470 at $149, and allowed the RX 460 to hit $99 or $109. The $179 price on the Radeon RX 470 is most likely going to land with reference-style designs, while the custom RX 470s will reach prices closer to $200. Boo.
Well, here we are, at the end of the review for our first AMD Radeon RX 470 graphics card, and you know what? I'm beyond excited about the Radeon RX 470. I benchmarked and reviewed the SAPPHIRE Nitro Radeon RX 470 4GB the day after I received it, benchmarked and reviewed NVIDIA's new Titan X graphics card which costs $1200, yet the RX 470 will have a longer lasting effect on me. Why? Because more people can afford the Radeon RX 470, and more people will buy it. It's a card that the average person can afford and not just the 1% of the market willing to spend $1200 on a graphics card.
AMD's new Polaris architecture is power efficient, but it doesn't even match what NVIDIA can offer with cards that are magnitudes faster - so we definitely have that to ponder. SAPPHIRE's Nitro Radeon RX 470 4GB consumes around 260W (the entire system), which isn't too bad, but it's worrying when the GeForce GTX 1070 consumes less power but offers close to twice the performance in all resolutions.
But again, we're not here to compare $450+ graphics cards to $200-ish graphics cards, and that's where AMD completely buries NVIDIA. While NVIDIA might have the high-end and enthusiast markets tied up with their GTX 10 series and new Titan X graphics cards, AMD is filling the lower and mid-range markets with graphics cards like the Radeon RX 470 and RX 480.
Gamers who might own an older graphics card and want a nice bump in performance but reduced thermals and noise, but want all the new features that AMD's next-gen Polaris architecture offers, will find the perfect solution with the Radeon RX 470. It's not quite as expensive as the RX 480 (which is another 10% at $199 for the 4GB model), but it offers near RX 480 levels of performance, at $179.
If you've been waiting a few years to upgrade and wanted to get into current and next-gen games with a bit of a GPU upgrade, spending around $200 will provide you with a card easily capable of 1080p 60FPS on every game on the market right now. If you're playing games like CS:GO and League of Legends, the RX 470 might even be too much for you, and that's where the even cheaper Radeon RX 460 will come into play. That's something that will be reviewed by yours truly in the next few days.
The End Result: SAPPHIRE's Nitro Radeon RX 470 4GB offers virtually identical performance to AMD's reference RX 480 graphics card, even with its 8GB of RAM and higher GPU frequency. It looks better, performs faster, and has a far superior cooler. The only issue is that the RX 480 isn't much more expensive, so it makes you wonder, what is the true purpose of the RX 470 at its current price?
Product Summary Breakdown
|Performance (overclocking, power)||95%|
|Quality (build, design, cooling)||95%|
|General Features (display outputs, etc)||100%|
|Bundle, Packaging & Software||90%|
|Value for Money||80%|
|Overall TweakTown Rating||92%|
The Bottom Line: SAPPHIRE's new Nitro Radeon RX 470 4GB represents one of the best value for money graphics cards you can buy, offering 1080p 60FPS performance. It has great support for DX12, VR headsets, and next-gen HDR and high-res 8K displays. But, the RX 480 is not much more expensive...
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- Page 1 [Introduction, Pricing & Availability]
- Page 2 [It's Not Just About Gaming, Either]
- Page 3 [Specs, Cooling Tech & A Detailed Look]
- Page 4 [Testing Methodology & Test Setup Configuration]
- Page 5 [Benchmarks - Synthetic]
- Page 6 [Benchmarks @ 1080p]
- Page 7 [Benchmarks @ 1440p]
- Page 8 [Benchmarks @ 4K]
- Page 9 [Benchmarks - DX12]
- Page 10 [Power, Temperature, & Noise]
- Page 11 [Performance Summary & Final Thoughts]
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