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Galaxy GeForce GTX 470 GC Video Card

Galaxy is the first company we've seen attack the GTX 470. Have they managed to improve on the reference design?

@ShawnBakerTW
Published Mon, May 17 2010 1:02 AM CDT   |   Updated Tue, Nov 3 2020 7:02 PM CST
Rating: 90%Manufacturer: Galaxy

Introduction




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It hasn't taken long for companies to start jumping on the bandwagon when it comes to modified versions of the GTX 400 series. We don't mean the normal bump in clock speeds, though; instead we're talking full on cooler redesigning.

Let's be honest; there's some serious room for improvement..The stock cooler is too loud and even then the core runs too hot. Plus, if overclocking the model has let us find out anything, it's that there's some head room to be offered.

The first update to the GTX 470 comes from Galaxy. It carries with it everything we want, including a new cooler that looks the goods along with an overclock. Looks can be deceiving, though; the Galaxy GTX 470 GC card might only look the goods and do nothing extra over the stock one. But let's hope this isn't the case.

Before we have a closer look at the performance, we'll first look at the package Galaxy has put together followed by a closer look at the card, its cooler and more importantly to some, its overclock.

The Package




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Let's not kid ourselves; looking above you can see there's very little to the package with the only stand out point being the mini HDMI to HDMI cable. Still, for so many the most important aspect of a new video card bundle is the video card, so let's have a closer look at it.

The Card and Specifications


The Card

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It's easy to get a bit taken back with the cooler design and its a little bit of a mixed bag. I love the text over it. PSU requirements, mention of Fermi GPU inside and others make it look pretty cool. You can also see bits off copper which give it an overall mean look. Behind the fan is also a blue LED which makes the card look great when up and running.

Where it all becomes a little unstuck is with the quality. It's just plastic and it doesn't feel the best. In saying that, though, it doesn't feel like it's going to break or anything like that. I think the general flimsiness is due to the feature which gives you the ability to pull back the fan.

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Pulling back the fan lets you get to the heatsink and the idea is that once a bit of dust is built up you can clean the heatsink quickly, so cooling is at peak performance at all times. It's actually really not a bad idea and when you're in the PC making a few changes or giving a clean-up, a quick dust of the heatsink on the VGA card is a great idea.

There's no denying that this could be done in a sturdier way, however. It's the first time we've seen something like this and it's no doubt going to be a learning curve. This is ultimately the cost of being innovative; you're not going to be able to perfect a new process the first time.

Apart from this, no other surprises are really found on the card with connectivity offering us two Dual-Link DVI ports and a single mini HDMI one.


Specifications

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As we mentioned already, Galaxy has chosen to overclock the model. They haven't gone too crazy, though. Galaxy has chosen to leave the 1280MB of GDDR5 memory at the default 3348MHz QDR, but they have bumped the core from 807MHz to 825MHz which also results in the Shader clock going from 1215MHz too 1250MHz.

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.

Today in our results we've included a couple of video cards. The most important one is the reference GTX 470 as we want to see what the extra MHz on the core does for overall performance.

We've also included the GTX 480 and HD 5870 for good measure.

Let's get started!


3DMark Vantage

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.0.1
Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com
Product Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com/products/3dmarkvantage/
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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In our first test we can see the small bump in MHz on the core helps improve performance slightly at both presets.

Unigine Heaven Benchmark




Version and / or Patch Used: 1 and 2
Developer Homepage: http://www.unigine.com
Product Homepage: http://unigine.com/press-releases/091022-heaven_benchmark//



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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Across the board we see the extra grunt give us a little boost. Under Heaven we see the GTX 470 perform strong against the HD 5870 thanks to the tessellation optimization.

Benchmarks - CINEBENCH


CINEBENCH

Version and / or Patch Used: Release 10 and Release 11.5
Developer Homepage: http://www.maxon.net/
Product Homepage: http://www.maxon.net




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 doesn't hold any surprises with the model performing just as you would expect.

Benchmarks - Resident Evil 5


Resident Evil 5

Version and / or Patch Used: Demo Benchmark
Developer Homepage: www.residentevil.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.residentevil.com/




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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The extra MHz gives us a little bit of extra movement at the lower resolution, but nothing to get all that excited about.

Benchmarks - BattleForge


BattleForge

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





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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Unlike RE5 we see here that the Galaxy GTX 470 OC GC performs better as we climb up the resolution table.

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: http://www.ubi.com/UK/default.aspx
Product Homepage: http://www.hawxgame.com/





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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Here we see a nice performance boost across the board, especially as we climb up to 2560 x 1600 where we really get the chance to move away from that 60 FPS average we need.

Benchmarks - Darkest of Days


Darkest of Days

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.4
Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in Test
Developer Homepage: http://www.darkestofdays.com/index.php
Product Homepage: http://www.darkestofdays.com/index.php





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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DOD is a bit funny with overclocked cards and you can see here that performance is a little wobbly. It's nothing to really be worried about, though.

Benchmarks - Far Cry 2


Far Cry 2

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.01
Timedemo or Level Used: Ranch Long
Developer Homepage: http://www.ubi.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.farcry2.com/
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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We see good numbers across the board and the most important thing is that we're above that 30 FPS minimum at all resolutions.

Benchmarks - Batman Arkham Asylum


Batman Arkham Asylum

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.1
Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in Test
Developer Homepage: http://www.batmanarkhamasylum.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.batmanarkhamasylum.com/





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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Good performance across the board and an extra few FPS at all resolutions thanks to the extra grunt on the core. With PhysX on, performance is again a little wobbly; we see a bit of a bump in the average at the lowest resolution, but the higher resolution numbers are a little down.

Benchmarks - Dark Void


Dark Void

Version and / or Patch Used: Benchmark Demo
Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in Test
Developer Homepage: http://www.airtightgames.com
Product Homepage: http://www.darkvoidgame.com/




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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With PhysX off we see a bit of a bump across the board thanks to the core speed increase. With PhysX on performance is identical in some areas with others seeing a very minor bump. At least performance didn't drop off slightly like it did under Batman AA.

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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Strong AA performance from the GTX 400 series as always. The overclock doesn't do much for performance here, though, with both cards performing almost identically.


Resident Evil 5

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We're above the 60 FPS average we want to see, but the extra MHz on the core isn't really doing anything for performance.


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

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H.A.W.X. sees a massive boost here; it's possibly a combination of the slightly newer driver and the extra grunt being available.

Benchmarks - Elcomsoft Wireless Security Auditor


Elcomsoft Wireless Security Auditor

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.51
Timedemo or Level Used: Sample File
Developer Homepage: http://www.elcomsoft.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.elcomsoft.com/ewsa.html




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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Here we see that the GTX 470 is performing significantly better with the newer driver and the extra grunt. Still a bit away from the ATI offerings, but a serious move in the right direction.

Benchmarks - Badaboom


Badaboom

Version and / or Patch Used: Release 1.2.1.7
Developer Homepage: http://www.nvidia.com//
Product Homepage: http://www.badaboomit.com/




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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No surprises under Badaboom with the card sitting where we would expect it.

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 fan from Galaxy might not look like much, but the cooler design does a great job of dropping temps. You have to remember the GTX 470 isn't the second bar, but the top one, so we're seeing a drop of almost 10c.


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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The best thing about this drop is that it's not coming at a increase in noise; instead it's significantly quieter at load which is fantastic.

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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No surprises with Power Draw with the card sitting where we would expect. In saying that, the idle power draw is slightly down.

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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The extra oomph from the core helps boost the overall TPR rating.

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 Newegg.com. 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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A bit of extra grunt from the card, yet the same price tag helps boost value of the overall model up purely from a performance perspective. Throw in the cooling numbers and noise levels and you're onto a winner.

Final Thoughts




The Galaxy version of the GTX 470 fixes the two biggest issues we have with the model; the heat and the noise. The noise is clearly at a respectable level while the heat is almost there. It still runs a little warm, but nothing like the reference version. You have to wonder, though, why did NVIDIA opt for the cooler they did on this model and not try and get something that could cool the card better.

As for overall performance, there's a nice little bump. In saying that, though, it would've been nice to see Galaxy do a little bit more with the overclock. Hopefully in the future they'll release a more aggressively clocked version of the card, because when looking at the temps and noise levels we can't see why they couldn't get more out of the model.

On the bundle front it's a little light. Actually, it's very light, but the fact that you're paying the same price as a reference GTX 470 with better cooling, quieter operation and faster performance, who are we to complain?

We have to wonder what would've happened if NVIDIA spent just another few weeks on the model before releasing it. You can see that not long after launch Galaxy has been able to do a bit with the model and made it a more serious contender in the market.

The other good news is that Galaxy has uploaded the latest version of Xtreme Tuner HD to their website which is supposed to give us the ability to adjust the core voltage. Having already downloaded it, I'll be attacking the card very soon with it. Off the reference GTX 470 we saw some good performance gains when it came to overclocking, but heat and noise were still an issue. I'm hoping that with the heatsink/fan redesign we can get even more out of this particular model.

Sticking to the $349.99 price tag is probably one of the best things that Galaxy has done. This is a great version of the card and the R&D team are quick and responsive. Galaxy has shown us that they're ready to rock and roll with the new GTX 400 line-up. We really can't wait to see what the company does with the GTX 480 and the new mainstream GTX 465 that is due in the coming weeks.

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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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