Is the RX 470 just making up the numbers or is it a legitimate option for less demanding gamers? If you game at 1080p on a 60Hz monitor and want a card under the $300 mark it's worth a serious look.
The RX 480 had more grunt than some 1080p gamers need - of course it depends on what you play and the refresh rate of your screen but in our benchmarking of the RX 480, we regularly saw frame rates over the 60FPS mark. This caused us to think about what sort of performance we would see for $100 less and how much we would have to sacrifice on eye candy. Enter the RX 470 OC edition from Sapphire.
The RX 470 GPU is rocking the new Polaris 10 architecture and does well in the current DX12 titles. There are 4GB and 8GB versions of the RX 470 cards on the market, some more overclocked than others. This review looks at the Sapphire RX 470 OC 4GB edition - it's one of the cheapest on the market and it features the blower style cooler. Don't let the stock-style cooler put you off, the price to performance ratio is worth a second look.
The Sapphire RX 470 OC edition has a stock blower type cooler but it's silver and includes a nice backplate as well. The card doesn't make excessive noise under normal settings but it can make more than 51dB(A) when overclocked. The best stable overclock we saw was 1282MHz but what you get with the factory overclock is impressive enough for the money. It's also a 4GB card which adds to the value proposition. Unless you need the 8GB version for texture packs or high resolution, the Sapphire OC edition could be ideal in that is has both 1080p performance and a lower price tag.
Once you start looking at the overclocked, custom cooled 8GB versions of the RX 470 GPU, the prices start to get close to the RX 480 cards which will probably hurt the sales of enthusiast RX 470 graphics cards.
At under $300 the leaner Sapphire RX 470 4GB OC becomes an easy choice for us given the test results.
As with other current AMD GPUs, FreeSync is supported to smooth out the experience if you have one of the quickly growing list of monitors that support FreeSync. There are some 'budget' FreeSync displays hitting the market as well that we will be looking at in the near future - These cheaper FreeSync displays combined with affordable RX 470 cards that can deliver 1080p and respectable DX 12 could be a shot in the arm for AMD come Q1 of 2017.
The card comes with 1 HDMI and 3 DisplayPort connections - there is also a HDMI - DVI dongle for those with older monitors. The blower-style cooler needs that full hight vent which we expect makes cramming more output ports on the back of the card a bit tricky.
The Crimson software from AMD performed well, remaining stable on the MSI X99 test rig, the Z97 ITX test system and in the 990FX AMD Test system. We didn't see any memory leaks, lockups or other issues at a system level, nor did we experience any in-game issues or driver crashes.
To date, we haven't seen any issues with the Crimson series drivers on any of our test systems so this came as no surprise.
During the final stages of this review, we also tested the Radeon Crimson ReLive driver and found this to be solid as a rock with the additional functionality of recording gameplay. AMD continues to improve their track record of drivers which is good to see and the community appears to be gaining confidence in Team Red on this front.