Sapphire NITRO+ Radeon RX 470 4GB

Price Does Not Equate to the Performance Drop Compared to RX 480

Sapphire Technology NITRO+ Radeon RX 470 4GB PCI-Express Graphics Card
NITRO+ Radeon RX 470 4GB. ┬ęSapphire Technology, Ltd.

The Bottom Line

AMD's push into the more affordable end of the PC graphics card market hits a bit of a snag when it comes to the Radeon RX 470. Essentially a scaled back Radeon RX 480, it offers ten percent less overall performance but ends up costing roughly the same as the 4GB version of the RX 480. Sapphire has made some improvements to the cooling and looks of the card but, frankly , the result is only really appreciated by those that maybe want an RX 480 but are unable to find one and still only game at the 1080p resolution.

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Pros

  • Better Availability than RX 480 Cards
  • Performance Well Suited for 1080p Gaming

Cons

  • Priced Roughly the Same as More Powerful 4GB RX 480 Cards
  • Does Not Really Offer Performance for VR Use

Description

  • AMD Radeon RX 470 Graphics Processor
  • GPU Clock 1143MHz, Boost Clock 1260MHz
  • 4GB GDDR5 Memory
  • 256-bit Memory Bst
  • Dual-X Fan Cooling Solution
  • Two DisplayPort 1.4, Two HDMI 2.0b, One DVI
  • 9.45-inch Long, Double Wide Card
  • 500 Watt Power Supply Recommended
  • Microsoft DirectX 12 Compatible
  • PCI-Express 3.0 Interface

Review - Sapphire NITRO+ Radeon RX 470 4GB

Aug 15 2016 - AMD's Radeon RX 480 graphics card really shook up the mainstream market. Its relatively low $250 price tag offered an affordable alternative to NVIDIA's new Pascal based cards. For some, though, even this is a bit too much when it comes to purchasing a video card. AMD responded by introducing the more affordable RX 470 graphics cards that have a suggested price tag of $199 by AMD but manufacturers are able to set their pricing as this does not really have a reference design like the RX 480.

AMD does not really have a reference design when it comes to the RX 470 meaning that manufacturers such as Sapphire can elect to push out their own designs. Sapphire has changed the cooling for the NITRO+ design by moving away from the single blower fan design to a dual fan open air design. This provides a better amount of airflow over the graphics card for cooling but it is not as efficient when to comes to pushing the air out of the desktop case.

Overall, it does the job at keeping the card cool without too much noise. The length of the card is still roughly nine and a half inches long which makes it less useful for small form factor designs where the GeForce GTX 1060 has an advantage. Power requirements are the same with a single 8-pin PCI-Express power connector and a recommended 500-watt power supply but it will likely run on less.

Performance for the card is roughly ten percent less than the RX 480 due to the fewer stream processors. This means the card is best suited to playing games at the 1080p resolutions with high detail levels and some antialiasing effects. It can drive some games up at the higher 1440p games but you will often have to drop detail levels and remove filters in order to keep the frames rates playable and they certainly will be below 60 frames per second. While the card can output video to a 4K or UltraHD display, it is not going to be useful at all for attempting to play games at that resolutions.

Another big difference with the Radeon RX 470 is virtual reality. The Radeon RX 480 was touted as being well suited for use with Virtual Reality. It is certainly capable but is pushing the limits of functional in some cases.

With the decrease in performance with the RX 470, it really is not something you want to try and use. Frame rates are going to be very limited and offer a less than optimal performance with an HTC Vive or Oculus Rift.

Finally, we come down to pricing which is going to be the biggest problem. The recommended price tag for the RX 470 is around $199. Sapphires NITRO+ 4GB version ends up with a list price of $209 if you can find it. The problem is that this puts it over the $199 price tag of the reference Radeon RX 480 4GB graphics cards. It does not make sense for consumers to spend a bit more to end up with less overall performance they can get at the same price.

The only thing helping the RX 470 is that it is very difficult to find any of the RX 480 cards near their list prices. Still, if consumers are just willing to wait a bit, they can get more for less.

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