Galaxy GeForce GTX 470 GC SLI Review

Galaxy's new GeForce GTX 470 GC video card offers a unique solution to a common problem for hardware enthusiasts. There are new features such as higher clock speeds, a custom PCB design, and something called a detachable flip fan you will want to see. We compare single and SLI gameplay performance against AMD.

Introduction

Galaxy has been producing video cards since the mid 1990’s and has remained partnered with NVIDIA as an authorized NVIDIA AIC. While we’ve evaluated a few Galaxy branded video cards over the years, most have been in the low-end category.

Today marks the premier launch of a brand new video card from Galaxy based on the latest NVIDIA Fermi architecture. Specifically, this is a brand new GeForce GTX 470 GPU based video card that has been custom re-designed by Galaxy. This unique video card aims to separate itself from other GeForce GTX 470 video cards by offering some unique features.

Galaxy GeForce GTX 470 GC

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Galaxy is launching the new Galaxy GeForce GTX 470 GC, not to be confused with the Galaxy GeForce GTX 470 that is already out there. This new "GC" model offers some new features. Notably, as the box sticker above says: "Factory Overclocked", "Advanced Flip Fan Design with Blue LED", "Cooler and Quieter", "DUAL BIOS, with Xtreme Tuner HD Support." These new features separate this video card from the standard Galaxy GeForce GTX 470. The price also separates these two video cards as the new "GC" version comes in with a $30 premium over the standard version, making the MSRP $379 on the new "GC" version.

Unforuntely, the "Factory Overclocked" nature is a bit of a letdown. Standard reference NVIDIA GeForce GTX 470 GPU Clock speeds call for 607MHz. The Galaxy GTX 470 GC is clocked at 625MHz, only an 18MHz increase. Subsequently the Shader Clock speed on a reference NVIDIA GeForce GTX 470 is set at 1215MHz while the Galaxy GeForce GTX 470 GC is set at 1250MHz, a 35MHz increase. The memory runs at the reference clock speed of 3.348GHz, it is untouched. Thankfully, the other facts about this video card do not disappoint.

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Upon opening the box you are greeted with a well packaged product, with every component in its own compartment and plenty of cushioning. Included in the box is a setup manual, how to operate the "Flip Fan Design" (which will talk about below), a driver CD, DVI to VGA adapter and HDMI cable. There are two DVI ports and one HDMI port on the video card.

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There are several things that will grab your attention once you take a look at the video card. You will notice it has a blue printed circuit board (PCB), it is shorter than a reference GeForce GTX 470 and it uses a custom heatsink and fan. Some of the key features are plastered on the front face of the heatsink, such as CUDA support, DX11 support, HDMI, PhysX, GDDR5 and uniquely it tells you the Minimum PSU requirement right on the actual device.

From the back, what you may not notice at first glance is the complete re-design of the PCB compared to a reference video card.

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Look between these two pictures above and you will see that nearly everything is different. The bottom video card is a reference NVIDIA GeForce GTX 470, while the top is the Galaxy GeForce GTX 470 GC. Everything from the physical size, to the eradication of the cutout for the fan on the back, to the placement and layout of circuits to the inclusion of new chips separate both video cards. You can say that the Galaxy GeForce GTX 470 GC is a complete re-design of the GeForce GTX 470 reference video card as sent to us by NVIDIA. The Galaxy GTX 470 GC is a full half an inch shorter as well. The power connectors have also been moved from the edge of the video card to the back end.

The Flip Fan

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The most unique feature about this video card is the detachable flip flan. The fan has two tabs that you depress, and the entire fan assembly rotates upwards, almost flat. The idea is that you will be able to flip this fan up and clean the fan blades after prolonged use. This will allow the video card to run at peak cooling efficiency. It is essentially a method of easy access to the fan so that you can clean it when it gets dusty. It is a rather simple idea and pretty weird that no one has thought about doing something so simple as this yet! It really is a simple thing, yet it may save a lot of people a lot of frustration and help make this video card last longer in your system. You can see the heatsink once the fan is flipped up and it does indeed use copper heatpipe all the way down to the core.

SLI

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SLI is fully supported and we have two Galaxy GeForce GTX 470 GC version video cards with SLI enabled for your gaming pleasure! You can see that there are blue LED lights which give the fan a nice blue glow while in use.