Galaxy and Palit GeForce GTX 470s in SLI Overclocked

GTX 470 SLI is impressive, but we kick it up a notch higher by overclocking these two bad boys. Can it take top honors?

14 minutes & 46 seconds read time


Galaxy and Palit GeForce GTX 470s in SLI Overclocked 02

GTX 470 SLI performance was very strong. What our Total Performance Rating graphs showed us was that compared to a stock HD 5970 the setup is on a whole a nice chunk faster. The score it got, though, wasn't enough to take out top honors thanks to Sapphire and its HD 5970 TOXIC. Not only was the model able to outperform the SLI setup in stock form, but it also managed a bigger lead when it was overclocked.

The GTX 470 has a secret weapon, though. Unlike the GTX 480, the GTX 470 loves to be overclocked. There's really some massive performance on tap with the overclock we achieved on the Galaxy GTX 470 OC GC of 803MHz on the core, taking the lead over the much more expensive GTX 480.

Doing the math, the GTX 470 SLI setup when overclocked should be able to beat out the HD 5970 TOXIC in both forms. For starters, the GTX 480 is faster than the HD 5870 and what we're essentially doing today is offering almost SLI GTX 480s since we're clocking the cards up. Since the GTX 470 SLI setup was able to beat the stock HD 5970 by a nice little margin, yet fell behind the HD 5970 TOXIC only slightly, there's no reason it shouldn't take out top spot today.

If it does, though, at what cost? - Let's quickly see what we did with overclocking before we get into the actual results.

The Setup

We today decided to use the Xtreme Tuner HD software again. We were impressed with it when we overclocked the Galaxy GTX 470 by itself and since we found out it supported SLI overclocking, we thought we were onto a real winner.

Galaxy and Palit GeForce GTX 470s in SLI Overclocked 501

Due to the fact we're running SLI, we didn't want to be as aggressive with the overclock as we did before. In saying that, though, we set both fans to 100% to make sure the clocks we got ran as stable as possible.

Galaxy and Palit GeForce GTX 470s in SLI Overclocked 01

Galaxy and Palit GeForce GTX 470s in SLI Overclocked 500

What we ended up with was a 775MHz core clock, 1550MHz Shader clock and a 3820MHz QDR memory clock. While it's not quite the 803MHz / 3932MHz QDR clock we offered in our stand alone overclocking article on the Galaxy card, it's not that far off. Considering we're starting at a core speed of just over 600MHz, this really is a massive overclock for two cards. Before we go onward, I'll mention that the setup was 100% stable at these speeds.

Test System Setup and 3DMark Vantage

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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 line-up we're looking at today is going to be the same as the one we looked at recently when we looked at the SLI setup not overclocked. That means we've got the GTX 470 and GTX 480 in single form along with the HD 5970 and HD 5970 TOXIC. We've also of course got the GTX 470 in SLI at the default speeds.

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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Straight away we see a massive boost in the overclocked SLI setup with it pulling out a win against everything else in both presets.

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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Like Vantage we not only see a great performance boost, but its numbers put it ahead of every other setup we have here.

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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No surprises here when looking at CINEBENCH performance.

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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Again across the board we see some nice gains. The GTX 470 SLI already had the win at all resolutions; this overclocked one just cements it.

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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Seems the GTX 470 SLI OC setup is hitting a bit of a wall at 150 FPS. You can see it performs strong at 2560 x 1600; here it's equal first.

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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Big numbers across the board and some huge performance gains; nothing is touching the setup here which is awesome to see.

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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Galaxy and Palit GeForce GTX 470s in SLI Overclocked 27

DOD isn't the biggest fan of overclocking, but it's clear the game doesn't have an issue here with some massive numbers being seen.

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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Averages across the board are up; minimums are also, except 2560 x 1600 which seems slightly lower. Still, a very good number, just a little weird.

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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Galaxy and Palit GeForce GTX 470s in SLI Overclocked 30

In the non PhysX tests Batman AA performance went backwards at all resolutions. With PhysX on, though, performance improvements were great. This is a bit of a weird one.

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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Galaxy and Palit GeForce GTX 470s in SLI Overclocked 32

Like Batman AA, non PhysX testing performance was a little all over the place. PhysX testing on the other hand saw a good boost in performance.

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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A massive performance jump and some very impressive numbers here. The fastest we've seen to date by a long shot.

Resident Evil 5

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You can just see a perfect cascade of numbers as we move from one faster setup to another.

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

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SLI fell behind the HD 5970 TOXIC here. The overclocked setup didn't have the same problem, however.

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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While SLI isn't made use of, the massive overclock is.

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.

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Nothing that will really surprise you here.

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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The top card ran very warm; a lot warmer than the second card in this situation.

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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Both fans at 100% and the noise level wasn't the worst we've seen to date, which was nice. It's still very loud, though.

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 high! 777 Watt on our minimalist setup here. You want to make sure that you've got a good quality power supply for this configuration. We would be recommending something in the 1000 Watt area.

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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Even with some weird results in Dark Void and Batman AA, the GTX 470 SLI Setup when overclocked just performed extremely fast. Our TPR graph really helps put this into perspective.

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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The same price and a hell of a lot more performance does good things for the overall value rating. Not the best value, but quite an improvement.

Final Thoughts

I really quite like the GTX 470. Out of the box performance is a little ordinary, but a mean overclock on these cards with upgraded coolers and performance is very strong. At the moment the Galaxy card overclocked at 800MHz+ core is the best value card we've tested to date. We're sure that the Palit would be sitting up there as well if we did a separate OC article on that, because the model is even cheaper than the Galaxy offering.

Not everything was rosy, though. The heat is an issue, even at 100% fan speed. I mentioned to some people that generally speaking, my office runs hotter than the rest of the house because of the computer gear. It would run a little hotter again when I had the test beds running, but the problem I had with the GTX 470s SLI when overclocked was that the temperature went up another level. Considering it was only 16c here in Perth when I was doing this article, the heat in the room was worrying.

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During our testing we had the top card (Palit) running over 100c with the fan set to 100%. It's not like it was even hot outside. As mentioned, it was only 16c that night and the worst we saw the card was 103c. Now, the last thing I want you to think is that the Palit card is not a good one. In the stand alone review we saw it performed much better than the reference cooler. We could've put the Galaxy card in this spot and we would've seen the same numbers, so please don't think that Palits cooling solution is inadequate.

People can cry till they're black and blue that the heat and noise doesn't make a difference, but I'm honestly telling you it does. It's bearable with one card; a lot of people will have a problem with it, but enthusiasts will handle it. SLI on the other hand is just a different ball park. It's something you really need to take note of before you go down this path. These numbers weren't seen during Furmark or anything super intensive like that; it was just games like Dark Void and Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X.

Performance is awesome, though. I really can't wait to see what happens when we take GTX 480s for a spin in SLI.

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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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