Asus ROG Strix Radeon RX 470 04G
AMD is currently throwing all of its new graphics card technology at the more affordable end of the spectrum. Now, not long after the release of the company’s first Polaris-based product, the Radeon RX 480, comes the even less expensive RX 470 with its eye fixed on the 1080p prize.
With the vast majority of PC gamers running at 1080p, AMD decided to target exactly this resolution with its latest technologies. First came the Radeon RX 480, which is promoted as an entry-level VR-capable card, and now the more price-sensitive RX 470 reviewed here. If you’re not into virtual reality gaming, or can’t afford it, then an RX 470 may be all you need for solid 1080p gaming at a reasonable price. The card reviewed here has been given the Asus Strix treatment, which adds extra features to AMD’s reference design along with overclocked gaming performance.
The RX 470 employs exactly the same graphics processor as its bigger brother, the RX 480, but with selected components disabled, thereby producing a reduced performance version. Where the RX 480 comes with 2304 stream processors, the RX 470 leaves only 2048 of these enabled. The memory bandwidth on this 4GB model is also reduced from 224GB/s to 211GB/s. Core clock speeds in reference versions of the card also suffer a similar reduction, but this Asus Strix model comes preoverclocked with a maximum core speed of 1270MHz, which is 4MHz faster than a standard RX 480, helping narrow the performance gap while keeping the cost low.
Like the RX 480, the RX 470 uses AMD’s latest 14nm FinFET technology to enable higher performance with lower power consumption than previous generations. It will also support the latest DirectX 12 games.
In addition to boosting the clock speeds, Asus has also provided its GPU Tweak II utility, which provides a choice of three preset performance modes, allowing you to balance performance, power and fan noise to your own requirements. You can also switch into manual mode to push performance even further.
High levels of overclocking require an efficient cooling system, and the Strix RX 470 comes with a custom twin fan solution fitted to a large heatpipe-based heatsink. This design leaves many of the board’s components visible and makes the card look completely different to the standard fullyenclosed box of AMD’s reference design. Another major cosmetic difference is the RGB illuminated logo, which changes colour under the control of the supplied AURA software utility. Unlike some of the more expensive Strix cards, there’s no metal backplate on this model, which we think is fair considering its price-sensitive positioning.
If even more cooling is required, you can make use of the Asus FanConnect feature. This lets you wire up a fan from your system case directly to the graphics card and will control the fan speed as required to keep GPU temperatures down
We found the built-in fans to run very quietly and they’ll switch off entirely when not required, so you can build a PC that operates silently when gaming performance is required. Unfortunately, we noticed audible coil whine coming from the card while running benchmarks, but it’s not as loud as many other cards we’ve tested.
Asus has fitted this board with a pair of DVI-D ports for compatibility with older displays, along with one each of HDMI 2.0 and DisplayPort 1.4 for modern ones. The latter two ports are the latest versions which support high refresh rates and also HDR when using DisplayPort. To install the card in your PC you’ll need a single 6-pin power connector.
If you’ve familiar with the RX 480, then the benchmarks from the RX 470 will be much as you would expect. It offers all of the same capabilities of its bigger brother, but with a little less speed.
The RX 470 still delivers enough power for high quality 1080p gaming and from our benchmarks we can see that it does, achieving average frame rates of 83.5fps in Thief and 118fps in Alien Isolation, both on Ultra settings. Drop the quality level a little and you may even get away with 1440p on some titles, although we recommend a faster card if you’re serious about gaming at the higher resolution.
If you’re thinking of venturing into the world of VR, then we’d advise you not to take an RX 470 with you on that trip. While its Steam VR Performance Test results show it can pass the test without dipping below the required 90fps, it does so with only a ‘Medium’ quality rating and a VR quality score of 5.8. This results in it failing to be deemed VR ‘Ready’ by the test, achieving instead the lower result of ‘Capable’. An RX 480 on the other hand will get you the ‘Ready’ rating you should