NVIDIA GeForce GTX 470 Video Card Overclocked

The GTX 470 might run hot and loud, but Shane doesn't care as he overclocks this sucker to see what extra there is on tap.

Published Mar 29, 2010 12:13 AM CDT   |   Updated Tue, Nov 3 2020 7:02 PM CST
Manufacturer: NVIDIA
16 minute read time


NVIDIA GeForce GTX 470 Video Card Overclocked 02

We've already looked at the GTX 470 and maybe you think it's pretty good. You just wish that it had a bit more power. At the same time, you don't want to fork out GTX 480 money which is quite a big jump in price.

What do you do? You overclock! Which is exactly what we're doing here today. Sure, the card runs pretty warm already and the fan is quite loud, but let's be honest; overclockers don't care about that stuff. At the end of the day, if it gets through the benchmark or your games, then all is well.

Before we get into the results of the card when overclocked, we'll have a quick look at how we went about overclocking the card and what we managed to achieve as far as the maximum overclock went.


It's been ages since I'd done any overclocking on an NVIDA based video card. ATI has no doubt dominated over the last few months and really, over the last few months 99% of the video card reviews have been based on ATI chipsets. That's going to change, though, as we see partners release versions of the GTX 400 series over the coming months. We're sure that ATI aren't just going to sit still, however.

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 470 Video Card Overclocked 03

When it came to overclocking options, as you would expect options are pretty limited for a model that hasn't even been released yet. Fortunately, the boys at EVGA gave us the hook up with the latest version of Precision which is their own branded overclocking tool.

Firing up the tool, we instantly felt some sadness due to the lack of the ability to overclock the core. Maybe because the card does run quite warm, NVIDIA didn't want to give us the option. It wasn't going to stop us from overclocking at all, though.

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 470 Video Card Overclocked 01

With great surprise, once we started to overclock the Shader clock, the Core clock moved with it. Even though we couldn't see it in EVGA Precision, it could clearly be seen under GPU-Z.....and our benchmarks!

As you can see, we moved from a 607MHz core clock to 687MHz. The Shader went from 1215MHz to 1374MHz and as for the 1280MB of GDDR5, we got that from 837MHz to 980MHz which in QDR land equates to a jump from 3348MHz QDR to 3920MHz QDR.

I managed to tip over the 4GHz QDR mark once or twice, but it didn't want to play all that nice. What we ended up with is still very impressive and should yield some noticeable performance gains.

Test System Setup and 3DMark Vantage

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 470 Video Card Overclocked 99

We would like to thank the following companies for supplying and supporting us with our test system hardware and equipment: Intel, ASRock, Kingston, Western Digital, Noctua and Thermaltake.

The whole line-up of benchmarks is the same as our standard GTX 470 review. The only difference between these graphs and those ones is that these include the overclocked results and the GTX 285 has been removed.

Let's get started!

3DMark Vantage

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.0.1
Developer Homepage:
Product Homepage:
Buy It Here

3DMark Vantage is the new industry standard PC gaming performance benchmark from Futuremark, newly designed for Windows Vista and DirectX10. It includes two new graphics tests, two new CPU tests, several new feature tests, and support for the latest hardware.

3DMark Vantage is based on a completely new rendering engine, developed specifically to take full advantage of DirectX10, the new graphics API from Microsoft.

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Getting straight into Vantage, you can instantly see the difference in the overclocked card. Compared to it sitting right next to the HD 5850, it offers a huge performance increase over it now. Not quite HD 5870 speeds, but significantly closer.

Unigine Heaven Benchmark

Version and / or Patch Used: 1 and 2
Developer Homepage:
Product Homepage:

New benchmark grants the power to unleash the DirectX 11 potential in the gift wrapping of impressively towering graphics capabilities. It reveals the enchanting magic of floating islands with a tiny village hidden in the cloudy skies. With the interactive mode emerging experience of exploring the intricate world is ensured within reach. Through its advanced renderer, Unigine is one of the first to set precedence in showcasing the art assets with tessellation, bringing compelling visual finesse, utilizing the technology to the full extend and exhibiting the possibilities of enriching 3D gaming.

Note: If a card doesn't support DirectX 11 the benchmark will be left out, if it does it will be included along with the DirectX10 results.

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The GTX 470 was already performing well under Unigine Heaven Benchmark. You can clearly see the extra performance increase in both version 1 and 2 of the benchmark.

Benchmarks - CINEBENCH


Version and / or Patch Used: Release 10 and Release 11.5
Developer Homepage:
Product Homepage:

CINEBENCH is a real-world test suite that assesses your computer's performace capabilities. MAXON CINEBENCH is based on MAXON's award-winning animation software, CINEMA 4D, which is used extensively by studios and production houses worldwide for 3D content creation. MAXON software has been used in blockbuster movies such as Spider-Man, Star Wars, The Chronicles of Narnia and many more.

MAXON CINEBENCH runs several tests on your computer to measure the performance of the main processor and the graphics card under real world circumstances. The benchmark application makes use of up to 16 CPUs or CPU cores and is available for Windows (32-bit and 64-Bit) and Macintosh (PPC and Intel-based).

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CINEBENCH has never made use of overclocking and for that reason you can see the performance difference is almost unseen.

Benchmarks - Resident Evil 5

Resident Evil 5

Version and / or Patch Used: Demo Benchmark
Developer Homepage:
Product Homepage:

Resident Evil 5 is a survival horror video game developed and published by Capcom. The game is the seventh installment in the Resident Evil survival horror series, and was released on September 18. Resident Evil 5 revolves around Chris Redfield and Sheva Alomar as they investigate a terrorist threat in Kijuju, a fictional town in Africa.

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Across the board the performance increase is strong with the card outperforming the HD 5870 at all resolutions, even if it's only by a single FPS at 2560 x 1600.We do again see as we climb the resolution table the cards performance does drop back to being in line with others, but in this case it's still able to pull out the win.

Benchmarks - BattleForge


Version and / or Patch Used: Auto Patched at Load
Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in Test
Developer Homepage:
Product Homepage:

The Gods have disappeared and the old sun has died, letting a vile twilight engulf the world of Nyn. In exchange for all treasures the mortals possessed, the evil giants agreed to forge a new sun and hurl it into the sky.

But the deal was betrayed, the treasure stolen and now the mortals flee the wrath of the giants. Under the light of a new sun the mortals stumble into a world changed and twisted by an age of twilight. The long journey home has become a conquest of survival.

Note: Supporting DirectX 11 we have seperated the graphs for NVIDIA and ATI cards. While the numbers between the two brands can be compared you have to make note that ATI based HD 5000 series cards are running DirectX 11.

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Again we see that good amount of boost in performance. Again, though, we continue to see at the lower resolution the model is able to outperform even the HD 5870. As we climb the resolution table performance drops back and falls behind the model. Unlike the non-OC tests, though, the card still beats out the HD 5850 at 2560 x 1600.

Benchmarks - Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X.

Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X.

Version and / or Patch Used: Benchmark Demo
Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in Test
Developer Homepage:
Product Homepage:

Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X is an arcade-style flight simulator video game developed by Ubisoft Romania and published by Ubisoft for Microsoft Windows, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and iPhone OS.

The fundamental gameplay mechanics are similar to those of other console-based flight series. Players take on enemies with over 50 aircraft available. Each mission is at real world locations in environments created with commercial satellite data. A cockpit, first person, and third person view are selectable. The third person view gives the player an external view of both their plane and the target.

Set above the skies of a near-future world, increasingly dependent on private military companies with elite mercenaries who have a relaxed view on the law. As these non-governmental organizations gain power, global conflict erupts with one powerful PMC attacking the United States.

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Again, another good boost in performance, but the card drops back as we climb up to 2560 x 1600. Again, though, like BattleForge the extra umph! from the overclock continues to place the card ahead of the HD 5850; something the stock clocked card wasn't doing.

Benchmarks - Darkest of Days

Darkest of Days

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.4
Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in Test
Developer Homepage:
Product Homepage:

Darkest of Days takes the player through time into historic battles in an effort to save key individuals from certain death. The battles range from Custer's Last Stand at the Battle of the Little Bighorn in 1876 to fighting in Pompeii as ash and fire rain down from an erupting Mt. Vesuvius in 79 AD. Other locations include the battles of Antietam and Tannenberg, and a German World War II P.O.W. camp. There are different missions in every time period and the game takes about 4 hours to complete.

The game features over twenty weapons, both from the original time period as well as those brought back from the future. In addition, there are artillery weapons from different time periods to assist in battle.

Note: With the PhysX set to Medium or High Darkest of Days take advantage of the NVIDIA PhysX abilities. For that reason we will test ATI cards at the Low preset, NVIDIA based cards though will be tested at Low and High.

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NVIDIA GeForce GTX 470 Video Card Overclocked 27

The GTX 470 was already beating out the ATI line-up in this benchmark with PhysX turned on. When overclocked the card simply just improves on its lead.

Benchmarks - Far Cry 2

Far Cry 2

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.01
Timedemo or Level Used: Ranch Long
Developer Homepage:
Product Homepage:
Buy It Here

The Dunia Engine was built specifically for Far Cry 2 by the award-winning Ubisoft Montreal development team. It delivers the most realistic destructible environments, amazing special effects such as dynamic fire propagation and storm effects, real-time night-and-day cycle, dynamic music system, non-scripted enemy A.I. and so much more.

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Strong performance under Far Cry 2 sees the model really move away from that 30 FPS minimum at 2560 x 1600. In the minimum department we can see the HD 5870 and GTX 470 really fight at 1920 x 1200 and 1680 x 1050. When we again move to 2560 x 1600, though, the card falls behind. Compared to the HD 5850, however, it has a nice little jump on it.

Benchmarks - Batman Arkham Asylum

Batman Arkham Asylum

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.1
Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in Test
Developer Homepage:
Product Homepage:

Batman: Arkham Asylum exposes players to a unique, dark and atmospheric adventure that takes them to the depths of Arkham Asylum - Gotham's psychiatric hospital for the criminally insane. Gamers will move in the shadows, instigate fear amongst their enemies and confront The Joker and Gotham City's most notorious villains who have taken over the asylum.

Using a wide range of Batman's gadgets and abilities, players will become the invisible predator and attempt to foil The Joker's demented scheme.
Batman: Arkham Asylum features an original story penned exclusively for the game by famous Batman author and five-time Emmy award winner Paul Dini, whose credits include Lost season one and Batman: The Animated Series.

Note: With support for PhysX NVIDIA based cards will be tested with the technology on and off, ATI cards will be tested with the technology off due to it not being supported on their cards.

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NVIDIA GeForce GTX 470 Video Card Overclocked 30

A strong boost in performance here which sees the card beat out the HD 5870 at every resolution in the minimum department. The averages fall a little behind, but we're already seeing massive numbers so it's nothing we'd be worried about.

On the PhysX front we just get a strong performance boost across the board. Unfortunately at 2560 x 1600 with PhysX set to high we're below that 30 FPS minimum we want to see. Hopefully the GTX 480 will be able to give us the numbers we want to see here.

Benchmarks - Dark Void

Dark Void

Version and / or Patch Used: Benchmark Demo
Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in Test
Developer Homepage:
Product Homepage:

The game's story takes place during World War II and centers around a cargo pilot named William Augustus Grey (voiced by Nolan North) who is teleported to another world while flying through the Bermuda Triangle. In this world, known as the 'Void', Will encounters an alien race as well as other humans, which are known as the Watchers and the Survivors respectively.

Will reluctantly joins the Survivors who are engaged in a feud with the alien race to satisfy his desire to return to Earth. While aiding the Survivors, Will discovers that the Void is a middle ground that connects both the Watchers homeworld and Earth. It also becomes apparent that the Watchers are supplying the Axis powers with various supplies for reasons unknown. With the help of Nikola Tesla, Will utilizes retrofited Watcher technology to combat the Watchers and eventually find a way to escape the Void.

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NVIDIA GeForce GTX 470 Video Card Overclocked 32

We're already seeing massive numbers under Dark Void and the overclock just helps increase those numbers. We again see here it's the difference between the card sitting ahead and behind the HD 5850 at the higher resolutions.

As for the game with PhysX on, we're simply seeing an increase in performance. At 2560 x 1600 it's nice to move a good chunk further away from that 30 FPS minimum as well.

Benchmarks - High Quality AA and AF

High Quality AA and AF

Our high quality tests let us separate the men from the boys and the ladies from the girls. If the cards weren't struggling before they will start to now.

Far Cry 2

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The GTX 470 was the only card apart from the dual GPU HD 5970 to bring us a playable frame rate here. Compared to the HD 5970 the minimum is boosted beyond which is no doubt the more important of the two numbers. In the average department, though, we can see that the HD 5970 is a fair bit higher. Again, though, this isn't as important if we're over that 30 FPS minimum.

Resident Evil 5

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Before we could see the GTX 470 sits in between the HD 5850 and HD 5870. Overclocked, however, we can see it manages to outperform both ATI offerings.

Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X.

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Under H.A.W.X. the overclock has let us go from a card that was trailing the HD 5850 to a card that is outperforming the HD 5870. We can see the overclock has done big things in a number of games and this is one of them.

Benchmarks - Elcomsoft Wireless Security Auditor

Elcomsoft Wireless Security Auditor

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.51
Timedemo or Level Used: Sample File
Developer Homepage:
Product Homepage:

ElcomSoft has pioneered many software innovations that have made it easier to recover passwords protecting various types of resources. For the first time in the industry, the company's patent-pending GPU acceleration makes its way into Wi-Fi password recovery, reducing the time required to recover Wi-Fi passwords up to a hundred times.

Supporting up to four NVIDIA boards such as GeForce 8, 9, and 200, as well as ATI video cards such as RADEON HD 4000 Series and up, Elcomsoft Wireless Security Auditor allows building servers with supercomputer performance at a fraction of the price.

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Again we must mention that WSA isn't quite optimized for FERMI yet, but you can see when overclocked we're seeing a boost in performance.

Benchmarks - Badaboom


Version and / or Patch Used: Release
Developer Homepage:
Product Homepage:

Badaboom eliminates the frustration of video conversion by providing users with speed, efficiency, quality, and a sleek interface. In a practice that used to take several hours, Badaboom converts feature-length movies in a matter of minutes while keeping the videos looking crisp and clear.

By harnessing the power of NVIDIA CUDA-enabled GPUs, Badaboom offloads the CPU to allow users to continue browsing the Internet or checking email without decreased system performance, making transcoding high-quality video fast, easy, and painless.

Note: With the requirement for a CUDA enabled graphics card to run Badaboom, this means that we can only use NVIDIA based cards for this test.

We convert an AVI version of The Lion King that comes in at 851MB to a 2500kbps 1.4GB MP4 for the iPhone. While we understand that the MP4 version of the file is bigger, we've chosen the maximum bit rate simply to put the most amount of pressure on the cards we test.

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Ripping times don't change with the overclock with a 1 second fluctuation simply being seen between the two setups.

Temperature and Sound Tests

Temperature Tests

With the TES 1326 Infrared Thermometer literally in hand we found ourselves getting real-world temperatures from the products we test at load (3D clock speeds).

There are two places we pull temperature from - the back of the card directly behind the core and if the card is dual slot and has an exhaust point we also pull a temperate from there, as seen in the picture.

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Ouch! - Should be a warning at the back of these cards. Wonder if we'll see the GTX 470 get the hard core GTX 480 cooler with a massive heatsink.

Sound Tests

Pulling out the TES 1350A Sound Level Meter we find ourselves quickly yelling into the top of it to see how loud we can be.

After five minutes of that we get a bit more serious and place the device two CM away from the fan on the card to find the maximum noise level of the card when idle (2D mode) and in load (3D mode).

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Even though the card was running warmer, we heard no difference in fan noise.

Power Consumption Tests

Using our new PROVA Power Analyzer WM-01 or "Power Thingy" as it has become quickly known as to our readers, we are now able to find out what kind of power is being used by our test system and the associated graphics cards installed. Keep in mind; it tests the complete system (minus LCD monitor, which is plugged directly into AC wall socket).

There are a few important notes to remember though; while our maximum power is taken in 3DMark06 at the same exact point, we have seen in particular tests the power being drawn as much as 10% more. We test at the exact same stage every time; therefore tests should be very consistent and accurate.

The other thing to remember is that our test system is bare minimum - only a 7,200RPM SATA-II single hard drive is used without CD ROM or many cooling fans.

So while the system might draw 400 watts in our test system, placing it into your own PC with a number of other items, the draw is going to be higher.

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Power draw is no different since we don't really adjust any voltages etc. - A little bit of fluctuation shows the model coming in a little lower than the stock one. This is nothing that you should really be worried about, though.

Total Performance Rating (TPR)

Total Performance Rating

The TPR graph is a combination of all our benchmarks in which NVIDIA and ATI are on an even playing field. This includes benchmarks where PhysX can be forced off like Dark Void and Batman: Arkham Asylum, but not Darkest of Days.

The TPR number is a combination of:

3DMark Vantage, Heaven Benchmark V2, CINEBENCH R11.5, Resident Evil 5, BattleForge, Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X., Far Cry 2, Batman: Arkham Asylum (PhysX Off), Dark Void (PhysX Off) and our three High Quality tests which include Far Cry 2, Resident Evil 5 and Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X.

All of the benchmark results achieved are then combined into a single number. As this graph will grow over time and cards won't be re-tested, next to each model you'll find the driver version that was used when the card was benchmarked.

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When overclocked you can see we get a healthy boost in our TPR rating. What's preventing it from outperforming the HD 5870 even overclocked is the 2560 x 1600 performance where we really see the card fall behind.

Of course, you have to take into account that this graph doesn't included results for any of the HD 5000 series cards when overclocked.

Total Value Rating (TVR)

Total Value Rating

The TVR graph is the TPR score divided by the price of the video card. The price of the video card is based on the list price of the model on In the event the card isn't listed, it will be based on the U.S. $ MSRP given to us by the manufacturer.

In the event we can't source a price from either, the product will not receive a TVR rating. As with our TPR graph, the amount of video cards on the list will grow over time and the price of the model won't change from what it was when first reviewed. For this reason the U.S. $ price that the card is based off will be included next to the name of the model.

In the event you want to find the TVR rating yourself based on the current price, all you have to do is simply divide the TPR number by the list price.

TVR numbers are rounded to the nearest whole number; 100.3 will be 100; 100.8 will be 101 and 100.5 will be rounded down to 100.

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Thanks to the big boost in performance and price staying the same, our TVR jumps a good 11% with the card sitting directly in line with the HD 5850. Again, though, you have to consider that none of the HD 5000 series cards are overclocked.

What this graph is essentially telling us is that even though the GTX 470 is more expensive; when overclocked it offers the same value as a HD 5850. There's no doubt that the value of the HD 5850 would increase once it's overclocked. None the less, the result is very interesting.

Then you also have to factor in that overclocking is subjective; we might get more than you and your friend might get more than us.

Final Thoughts

Overclocking is great for people who want to get even more performance out of a product without spending any more money. The one thing you have to remember is just because we achieved this overclock, it doesn't mean you will. On the other hand, you might get even higher.

Sure, take overclocking into consideration when it comes to purchasing a card if that's what interests you, but don't let it hold the weight of your decision because it can change from card to card and model to model.

We're glad that when it came to overclocking in Precision we weren't limited to only Shader clock and Memory clock adjustments. It was good to know that as we bumped up the Shader the core went with it; maybe if we could do them separately and could unlink the Shader and core clock we might have got more performance, but that is only speculation.

If NVIDIA bumped the clocks slightly more out of the factory the card could've probably given the HD 5850 a better run for its money at the higher resolution, because as it stands at 607MHz on the core it does tend to fall behind it quite often. We're sure there's good reasons why NVIDIA opted for the clocks they did, though.

There's some extra performance there; now it'll be interesting to see how NVIDIA partners harness it. New coolers, voltage adjustments and bigger overclocks? Only time will tell.

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Shawn takes care of all of our video card reviews. From 2009, Shawn is also taking care of our memory reviews, and from May 2011, Shawn also takes care of our CPU, chipset and motherboard reviews. As of December 2011, Shawn is based out of Taipei, Taiwan.

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