Since you’re in the market for a new graphics card, you’re probably thinking about several questions. How is this going to make my games look? How much will it cost me? How does it stack up against the competition? Well, you’re going to be pleased with the AMD RX 470.
While it isn’t at the forefront of graphics cards currently on the shelf, it’s a deceptively strong GPU that can keep you playing most current games without too much hassle. Check out our full review below to find out if this is the GPU for you!
Looking Under the Hood
The Radeon RX 470 is much more than just an entry-level graphics card. This AMD GPU boasts 32 complete units and a total potential 4.9 TFLOPS, reaching as high as 1206 MHZ during boost speed. Expect to use anywhere from 85 to 110 watts during your play sessions that fully use the GPU. You’ll need a minimum of 120 watts of board power for a desktop, and AMD recommends a power supply that holds at least 450 watts.
The RX 470 uses 4 GB of GDDR5 memory, holding its own against similarly powered graphics cards on the market. If you have a monitor capable of displaying 4K resolutions, this card has you covered, along with a 60 FPS framerate even at such a high output. A total of five ports are available with this card: two for DisplayPort at 1.4 HDR, two HDMI ports, and one for DVI-D. The 470 retains compatibility with Windows 7 for those of you that refuse to join the Windows 10 family, and the GPU can also be used with Ubuntu and Linux. Support for AMD CrossFire, DirectX12, and Virtual Super Resolution are just a few of the compatibility perks included by Radeon for this very capable graphics card. The RX 470 supports AMD Radeon FreeSync, designed to eliminate video tear as much as possible. There are over 350 specific compatible monitors available today.
The GPU measures at 10.9X5.5X1.5 inches, so while it is compatible with most motherboards, you’ll want to take measurements if you’ve been sitting on an older build for a couple years. The GPU will take a PCIe slot, and if possible, a 16x slot to ensure you can secure it without making any modifications to your existing build.
Radeon’s Chill feature dynamically shifts the power of your GPU to accommodate for the activity on your screen; when a wave of enemies is actively trying to slaughter you, the GPU cranks up its resources to keep you in the game and grant you the fastest response time possible. Once the scene calms down and you can take a breath, Radeon Chill will slow down the framerate and allow your system a moment’s rest before the next wave shows up.
10.9” X 5.5” X 1.5”
4 GB GDDR5
Now, we approach the sketchy subject of today’s graphics cards: the price. Ever since Bitcoin miners decided to exploit the GPU market and take hold of a massive inventory, it’s been difficult to get a solid grasp on the “real” cost of a new graphics card. In the case of the RX 470, many options are available for finding this card in stock.
You’ll find this averaging anywhere from $150 to $350, with slight variations for accommodating the overlocked model. Scouring eBay brings up the same results, but the amount of price gouging that can be seen in more powerful GPU models does not extend to the 470.
Keep an eye out for the amount charged for shipping, as the RX 470 weighs two pounds and will quickly add up in postage if free shipping isn’t included in your order. Finding this in a larger retail store such as Best Buy will be difficult because of its age, but you might luck out and find an open-box item being sold for a discount. Checking out your local gaming or computer expo might yield some results too!
Sizing up the RX 470 against the competition, we looked at this card vs. another AMD model: the ASUS Radeon RX 560, and the EVGA GeForce GTX 1060. These are all similarly priced, with the RX 560 fetching around $175 and the GTX 1060 commanding around $275.
- 1285 MHz boost clock (OC Mode) with 4GB GDDR5 memory for an upgraded gaming experience; Stream Processors: 1024
- ASUS Aura Sync RGB lighting features a nearly endless spectrum of colors with the ability to synchronize effects across an ever-expanding ecosystem of AURA Sync enabled products
- DirectCU II with patented Wing-Blade fans on 0db fan technology delivers 30% cooler and 3X quieter performance contact with direct-GPU contact heat pipes
All three of these cards can be installed in the same PCIe slot, and the EVGA card comes with an adapter needed if you’re going from six to eight pins. Installation of any of these cards takes a minimal amount of time; simply locking it into place and connecting the necessary wires is all it takes, followed by a series of driver installations from their official websites once you’ve powered up your PC again.
Looking at the manufacturers’ warranties, you won’t find too many differences in what is offered should you run into any problems.
- Real Base Clock: 1607 MHz / Real Boost Clock: 1835 MHz; Memory Detail: 6144MB GDDR5. Revolutionary new 360-degree image capture
- EVGA GeForce GTX 1060 SC - Small Size, Huge Performance. Height: 4.376in - 111.15mm; Length: 6.8in - 172.72mm; Width: Dual Slot
- What you see is what you get! - No additional software required to achieve listed clock speeds
The RX 560 is covered by ASUS for three years, and the GTX 1060 is under warranty through EVGA for the same period, just like the RX 470. Since all three cards use the same slot for installation, they are designed with the same structure and shape, but one main difference can be found in the fan of the GTX 1060. You’ll notice that word – fan.
Both of the RX models come with dual fans, but the RVGA houses only a single fan. This is totally fine if you’re giving your gaming rig a rest for the day, but long nights of shooting demons and grinding for another level are undoubtedly going to make your GPU run a little hot, especially if you want to make it look amazing in the process.
If the rest of your system has great performance and access to built-in CPU coolers, you won’t have to worry too much about only having one GPU fan, but it’s definitely something to consider for your purchase.
EVGA GeForce 1060
Ease of Use
Using the RX 470: Pros and Cons
In practice, the Radeon RX 470 is not going to win any awards for showing off the maximum capabilities of your gaming rig. This is not a graphics card that was designed to push the standards of visual performance, highlight the individual strands of hair on your game’s main character, or give an incredible show across four separate 4K60 monitors (even though you could still technically do that).
What the RX 470 will do is allow you to play any major release on mid-level settings without turning your gaming tower into a superconductor capable of tearing a hole in the universe. This AMD card pulls off anything that a similar model from nVidia can claim.
The performance of a GPU looks unique when applied to different genres and release years. We can safely say that the RX 470 is not going to make Cyberpunk 2077 look or run as beautifully as CD Projekt Red has in mind.
But there’s no reason it won’t be able to run on an otherwise well-equipped system with the correct settings applied. Jump back a couple of years and asset-heavy shooters like Doom and Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare pass the performance evaluation with flying colors, activating the fans on the card but never setting off any warnings about internal temperature for the GPU.
Similarly, a test on Final Fantasy XIV revealed no drops in framerate during grinding and leveling sessions. During an alliance raid, keeping 24 characters on screen at once along with enemies did generate some slowdown, but it’s unclear if that was related to the GPU itself or any lag caused by moments of faulty internet connection.
With that said, let’s get one thing clear: this card won’t last you forever.
Developers continuing to push the idea of VR as an industry standard will expect graphics cards to accommodate the use of a VR headset, and the base model RX 470 simply cannot harness the power of virtual reality.
If your opinion of VR is not favorable, this card won’t allow you to potentially turn it around. You’ll need to consider a higher build and model of the RX family, starting with the RX 490 or the GTX 1080.
If you’re serious about the look of your rig, the RX 470 comes with a number of customization options for the LED lights built into the GPU itself. Using the MSI Gaming App, you can synchronize the LED lights to gunshots, explosions and spells cast in-game while you are playing. Other animation options exist for breathing light, flashes, or a steady always-on light.
The RX 470 also takes advantage of a nickel-based copper base plate, preventing the GPU from ever generating too much heat. The plate absorbs all the heat generated from the graphics card and sends it through the tiny heat pipes in the GPU, while keeping everything bound together with pre-applied thermal paste.
Should You Buy the Radeon RX 470?
Purchasing the RX 470 is going to come down to what kind of experience you want with gaming and what kind of gamer you are. Those who want to show off their rig, stream their gameplay with a top-of-the-line capture card. They may also post in forums about how they overclocked their CPU are going to pass over this GPU in order to seek something a little beefier in stature.
The RX 470 is no pushover, but it just can’t stand up to the best competition from other cards in the nVidia family, as well as other similar more powerful models from AMD.
As prices for VR headsets continue to drop, the entry level for VR becomes more approachable, and consumers will be looking for a GPU that can help ease their entry into the world of VR.
Spending the money on both a VR headset and a new graphics card is already more than what it takes to purchase a brand new console. The RX 470 was designed with this idea in mind – you’re already dropping a lot on the rest of the tower, so why not save a bit in the process and keep yourself within a budget that will allow you to play your games without burning through both your tower and your wallet?
Because you’re reading this review, we imagine you’re not interested in testing the limits of your PC architecture. You simply want a wallet-friendly, economically-minded graphics card that will allow you to take advantage of software sales and fire up a new game without having to spend twenty minutes searching for minimum system requirements.
If you go with the RX 470, the odds are in your favor: you shouldn’t have any issue purchasing a new release and playing it without dragging down the rest of your PC’s performance with it.
Not only will it accommodate your library of video games, but you’ll easily be capable of using it for business and videoconferencing with more than one client or coworker at once with no risk of resource hogging.
For a solid, reliable GPU that fits into almo st any existing motherboard and one that also works as the graphics core of a brand new rig you’re putting together, the RX 470 comes highly recommended to those who are more concerned about the ability to play a game than how many individual pixels show up on all four of their monitors.
4 out of 5 stars