PowerColor Red Devil Radeon RX 470 Video Card Review

AMD’s next generation Polaris architecture based GPU is released today in the form of the AMD Radeon RX 470 priced below the Radeon RX 480. Instead of a reference video card we have a full custom cooled and factory overclocked retail video card with the PowerColor Red Devil RX 470 video card.

Introduction

From the start of this summer 2016 to now here in August this has been an action filled summer of video card launches from AMD and NVIDIA. It has kept us extremely busy, and it has provided gamer’s with a lot of new choices for their new shiny computer builds or upgrades. There are new choices from NVIDIA up and down the price ranges from the mainstream to the extreme enthusiast level where money is no concern. AMD has taken a different stance this summer in releasing its 4th generation GCN architecture known as Polaris.

Instead of starting at the high-end or enthusiast level AMD launched the AMD Radeon RX 480 on June 29th in the $199-$239 price range, the more affordable mainstream gamer. This price range is certainly more appealing and has a wider install base, but of course you cannot expect that a GPU in this price range will provide high-end enthusiast level gaming performance. That said, what we have seen from the Radeon RX 480 shows promise. There is no question that AMD has a leg up on next generation APIs like DX12 and Vulkan. The big question is will this give AMD the boost it needs in next generation game titles to give the competition a run for its money.

AMD Radeon RX 470 and AMD Radeon RX 460

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Continuing in the line of the new Polaris 4th generation GCN architecture is AMD's next couple of video cards continuing the RX 400 series. These two new video cards being announced today fulfill the lower-end of the price range, beneath the AMD Radeon RX 480. The two cards being announced today are the AMD Radeon RX 470 supposedly available today, and the AMD Radeon RX 460 available on August 8th.

The AMD Radeon RX 470 will have an AMD suggested retail price of $179. Naturally pricing will vary on add-in-board partner video cards depending on features and clock speeds. At $179, this places the AMD Radeon RX 470 at only $20 less than the "stock" 4GB AMD Radeon RX 480 video card. Compared to the 8GB AMD Radeon RX 480 it is about $40-$50 cheaper. Today’s evaluation will focus on the AMD Radeon RX 470 GPU specifically using a full retail custom video card from PowerColor.

AMD Radeon RX 470

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Let’s first talk about what is the same between AMD Radeon RX 470 and AMD Radeon RX 480. All of the new specifications and features present with the AMD Radeon RX 480 are true with the AMD Radeon RX 470. You can think of AMD Radeon RX 470 as a cut down or lessened AMD Radeon RX 480. The technology is based on the 14nm FinFET manufacturing process and contains all the features present in the 4th generation of the GCN architecture.

You will find the same three Async Compute features present on the AMD Radeon RX 470 same as the AMD Radeon RX 480. As we move down the scale in GPU performance games that utilize these Async Features in DX12 may potentially perform better than "higher performing" GPUs as Async Compute really has a greater benefit on lower-end GPUs where performance is more constrained. If these features are utilized well in games it could give the AMD Radeon RX 470 a leg up in performance in games.

Considering that the AMD Radeon RX 470 is geared for the more budget minded user or computer user looking for other attributes such as video and output support the AMD Radeon RX 470 is well equipped. It is capable of all the latest video formats in the popular streaming services including HEVC and H.264 encode. You will also find the latest display technologies like DisplayPort 1.3 and 1.4 ready as well, and HDMI 2.0.

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AMD claims the AMD Radeon RX 470 is built for 1080p gaming at 60+ FPS with anti-aliasing enabled. This will certainly be something we will test in our evaluation to see if it is true.

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Here is what makes it tick. In terms of TFLOPS the RX 470 is up to 4.9, for comparison RX 480 is 5.8. There are 32 CUs and 2048 Stream Processors on the Radeon RX 470. The AMD RX 480 has 36 CUs and 2304 Stream Processors. The AMD Radeon RX 470 has 32 ROPs and 128 Texture Units. The AMD Radeon RX 480 has 32 ROPs and 144 Texture Units. The AMD Radeon RX 470 will run at a base clock of 926MHz with a boost clock of 1206MHz. For comparison the AMD Radeon RX 480 runs at a base clock of 1120MHz and a boost clock of 1266MHz. The TDP is 120W on the RX 470 versus 150W on the RX 480.

On the memory system the Radeon RX 470 will have 4GB of GDDR5 running at 6.6GHz on a 256-bit memory bus. This provides 211GB/sec of memory bandwidth. For comparison the RX 480 can have 8GB of GDDR5 providing 256GB/sec of memory bandwidth or 4GB providing 224GB/sec of memory bandwidth. As you can see, the two 4GB versions are actually pretty close to each other in terms of memory bandwidth. The memory bandwidth on the RX 470 isn’t cut down that much, it still has a 256-bit bus and high speed GDDR5.