AMD Radeon RX 470 Review: Polaris Gets Even More Affordable

Introducing The Radeon RX 470

AMD has released virtually all of the Radeon RX 470's pertinent details over the last few weeks. If you've been paying attention to the graphics space lately, there's a good chance you're already familiar with the Radeon RX 470's GPU configuration, specifications, pricing, and expected performance levels.

Today though, we're able put the final pieces of the puzzle together and reveal what AMD's board partners have in store for the Radeon RX 470 and we've got an array of benchmarks and other related data to share as well. To quickly reiterate what has been disclosed up to this point, take a look at this slide...

radeon rx 470 slide

AMD's reference specifications and reference card -- which looks exactly like the Radeon RX 480 -- are shown above, but all of AMD's partners are at the ready with custom boards that look nothing like the reference part. We are told to expect very few, if any, straight up reference RX 470s at retail.  For the purposed of today's launch, we got our hands on ASUS' version, a 4GB Radeon RX 470 ROG STRIX. And as you'll see, save for the GPU at its heart, this card has very little in common with AMD's reference RX 470.

Radeon RX 470 STRIX
The ASUS Radeon RX 470 ROG STRIX 4GB
Radeon RX Series
Specifications & Features

Radeon RX 480 Radeon RX 470 Radeon RX 460
Architecture Polaris 10 XT Polaris 10 Pro Polaris 11 
Stream Processors 2304 2048 896
Compute Units 36 32 14
Base Clock 1120 MHz 926 MHz 1090 MHz
Boost Clock 1266 MHz 1206 MHz 1200 MHz
Memory Interface 256-bit GDDR5 256-bit GDDR5 128-bit GDDR5
Memory Bandwidth 224 GB/s 211 GB/s 112 GB/s
TDP 150 watts 120 watts 75 watts
Peak Compute     5.8 TFLOPS 4.9 TFLOPS 2.2 TFLOPS
Process Tech 14nm FinFET 14nm FinFET 14nm FinFET
MSRP $199/$239 (4GB/8GB) $179+ (4GB) $109+ (2GB/4GB)

The Radeon RX 470 is built around the same Polaris 10 GPU as the Radeon RX 480 that we reviewed here. With the Radeon RX 470, though, two CUs have been disabled, which results in fewer stream processors. There are 2048 stream processors active in the RX 470 versus 2304 on the RX 480. The 470's clocks are somewhat lower as well, with base and boost clocks of 926 MHz and 1206 MHz respectively. The end result brings peak compute performance for the RX 470 down to 4.9 TFLOPs (compared to 5.8 TFLOPs for the 480). The RX 470's memory is clocked slightly lower as well, which results in a peak 211GB/s, 13GB/s lower than the RX 480. We've thrown in some details for the Radeon RX 460 in the table above as well, which features a completely different GPU, but we can't give you the full scoop on that card just yet.
radeon rx 470 2
Here we have the brand new ASUS Radeon RX 470 ROG STRIX OC Edition. As you can see, the card looks nothing like AMD's reference model -- everything from the PCB, to its cooler, clocks, and outputs have been modified. The ASUS Radeon RX 470 ROG STRIX OC Edition offers a few modes of operation, an OC Mode that boosts the GPU clock up to 1270MHz and a standard gaming mode that boosts to 1250MHz. The 4GB of GDDR5 memory on board is clocked at 1650MHz, though 8GB Radeon RX 470 cards are on the way too. Using ASUS' included GPU Tweak utility, users can switch between OC and Gaming modes with a single click, but out of the box, using the drivers on AMD's website alone, the card will operate in OC Mode by default and it works with AMD's built-in WattMan utility as well.
radeon rx 470 3
The PCB used on the ASUS Radeon RX 470 ROG STRIX is somewhat longer than AMD's reference model, though the overall design is still relatively small at 9.5 x 5.1 x 1.6 inches. The card is outfitted with a single 6-pin power connector, a 5+1 phase power array with premium caps and chokes, and a custom DirectCU II cooler, with dual fans. The heatsink on the card features heat-pipes that make direct contact with the GPU and dual "wing blade" fans are mounted on top. ASUS claims the cooling assembly is up to 3x quieter and offers 105% more air pressure than reference models, which results in up to 30% lower temperatures.  Our equipment isn't sensitive enough to confirm the noise output claims, but we can say that this card is very quiet and GPU temps are a non-issue as well. More on that later, though.

Another "cool" feature on this card -- no pun intended -- is a built-in, GPU controlled 4-pin fan header. Should you want to add additional GPU cooling and have it controlled by GPU temperatures, rather than CPU or case temperatures like most motherboard-mounted fan headers, it can be plugged right into the header on the card and tweaked in ASUS' software.

strix lighting

The ASUS Radeon RX 470 ROG STRIX also features customizable RGB lighting. Using the included Aura utility, the color of the ROG logo on the top edge of the card can be set to virtually any color and it offers different modes of operation too. The lighting can be tuned to change color in line with GPU temperatures, cycle through different colors, or pulse on an off. ASUS includes a couple of decals with the card as well, should you want to add a bit more color.
radeon rx 470 5
The display configuration on the ASUS Radeon RX 470 ROG STRIX consist of a pair of Dual-Link DVI-D outputs, one HDMI 2.0 output, and one DisplayPort 1.4 output. All four of the outputs can be used simultaneously and the maximum supported resolution is 5120x2880.
radeon rx 470 1
ASUS includes a few bundled items with the Radeon RX 470 ROG STRIX as well. Along with the card itself, ASUS throws in some ROG-branded cable ties and some orange colored decals, should you want to spice things up a bit. There's also a basic lit pack and a driver / utility disc, which includes copies of ASUS' GPU Tweak II and the Aura utility for controlling the RGB lighting on the card.

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