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Monday, 7 November 2016



A few days back we had a look at the very impressive Asus ROG Strix RX 480 8GB OC Graphics Card which is the latest-flagship offering from AMD based on their Polaris 10 or Ellesmere architecture.
Today thanks to Asus India we've the opportunity to look at its smaller cousin the Asus ROG Strix RX 470 4GB OC edition! Strictly aimed at the 1080p gaming segment the card is powered by the same Polaris 10 GPU at heart as that of the RX 480 but with a few features damped down.

Where the RX 480 comes with 2304 stream processors, the RX 470 leaves only 2048 of these enabled. Also 32 out of the 36 Graphics CoreNext (GCN) compute units are physically present on the chip, which makes for 2,048 stream processors. The TMU count is proportionately lowered to 128. The memory bus is untouched at 256-bit GDDR5, and the ROP count stays at 32. Reference clock speeds are set at 928MHz core and 1206MHz boost, and the memory runs at 6.6 Gbps, which works out to a bandwidth of 211 GB/s. Our card is the OC edition so the clock speed has been bumped to 1270Mhz but the memory is left untouched.

Packing and Accessories

Following the same packing style as the STRIX RX 480 the Asus ROG STRIX RX 470 even comes in a black box with a multi-color STRIX marking on one side and the Radeon RX 470 4GB GDDR5 on the other.

At the back peculiar features such as Fan Connect, Asus AURA and DirectCU II cooler type are neatly printed with brief descriptions.

Open the box and you'll find the accessories lying beneath the molded foam containing the card. The bundled accessories include, driver CD, Asus ROG wrist bands, a quick setup guide, Asus stickers and World of Warships Coupon.

Closer Look and Features

The Asus ROG STRIX RX 470 is a really compact by the looks itself. The design is all new not only for the previous generations but also differs from the STRIX RX 480.

Its an all black card with minute detailing all over. The shroud is made up of plastic and in terms of design is probably inspired from the U.S. Boeing–Sikorsky RAH-66 Comanche combat helicopter!

At the back we can see the bare PCB with no backplate but another support system is provided to which we'll come to later on in the review. The card measures in at 24.2cm x 12.9cm x 4.2cm so you can fit this thing in almost any chassis in the market today.

Two heatpipes can be seen peeking out from the bottom of the card unlike the closed enclosure design that the STRIX RX 480 follows.

The top end encloses everything under it and has a RGB LED backlit ROG logo.

To power this nifty little power house you need a 6-pin power connector so theoretically this card can reach upto 150W of peak power consumption which indicated to a promising overclocking headroom!

The DirectCU II cooler employed by Asus for the RX 470 is a pair of 100mm fans that don't spin till the card reaches 54°C

Looking at the connectivity options we see that its a dual slot card with two DVI ports, one HDMI port, and one DisplayPort. The HDMI port is 2.0b and the Display Ports are 1.3 HBR3/1.4 HDR ready.

An interesting feature over here is the inclusion of a four pin PWM fan connector which enables you to connect a case fan to the card. This in turn synchronizes the fan spin with that of the card's delivering not only quieter but also more efficient cooling experience as a whole.

Open up the card and you'll find  that the card is a triple layer installation with the shroud, heatsink and the PCB.

The heatsink is dense with two 6mm heatpipes running throughout the mesh in a U shape manner. Both these pipes make direct contact with the GPU to maximize the cooling.

As the card lacks a backplate so Asus has put in a thin support strip that connects directly to the I/O panel and runs through the entire length of the card on the upper corner! This provides a similar support as a backplate, to the card and prevents it from wrapping under its own weight.
This is a cost effective solution and helps to bring down the overall price.

The Ellesmere GPU powering the RX 470 is seated securely at the center.  Its built on the 14 nanometer FinFET process & is also the first AMD GPU made at GlobalFoundries, instead of TSMC.

Unlike the RX 480 the GDDR5 memory chips on the ROG STRIX RX 470 are from Hynix and carry the model number H5GC4H24AJR-R0C. These run at 1750 MHz (7000 MHz GDDR5 effective) and are 500MB each in capacity.

The power delivery system on the ROG STRIX RX 470 is a 5+1 phase solution & comes with its dedicated cooling system in form of vertical fins. Six are for the GPU and one is for the memory ICs. These are what Asus calls the Super Alloy Power II components which greatly enhance efficiency, reduce power loss and achieve thermal levels that are approximately 50% cooler than previous designs.

A DIGI+ ASP1106 chip takes care of the voltage regulation.

For fan control and monitoring the ITE 8915FN-561617-CXA chips is placed on the PCB.

Benchmarks and Overclocking 

Installing the RX 470 was easy and it powered up like a breeze once we booted up the system.
GPUZ reported the correct frequencies with 1270Mhz on the clock and 1650Mhz on the memory.

For the benchmarks we used the following test setup configuration --
CPU: Intel Core i7 5930K OC at 3.7Ghz on all six cores
Motherboard: Gigabyte X99 Gaming 5P
RAM: Kingston HyperX Predator 16GB DDR4 (4x4) 3000Mhz Memory Kit
Cooler: Antec Kuhler H2O H600 Pro
Graphics Card: Asus ROG STRIX RX 470 OC 4GB GDDR5 Graphics Card
Storage: Corsair Neutron GTX 480GB SSD
Power Supply: Corsair AX860i 860W 80+ Platinum
OS: Windows 10 Pro 64-bit
GPU Driver: Crimson 16.10.2 Beta

Overclocking the STRIX RX 470 was a simple process and using the Asus GPU Tweak II or any other utility yielded the same results. The highest frequency with respect to performance gains that we could obtain on our sample was 1350Mhz on the clock and 1720Mhz on the memory, anything above this either gave poor results, white dots or even system freeze.
For the gaming results comparison we're using the reading obtained from the Asus ROG STRIX RX 480 8GB OC edition graphics card at stock settings.

AIDA64 Extreme Edition GPGPU

The AIDA64 GPGPU test not only calculates the read, write and copy speed of the graphics card and processor but is also very useful in observing the SHA-1 Hash and AES-256 score. These are indications of how well the GPU can handle number crunching or real life image or video rendering. Higher score shows a better card.

The results seen over here are extremely impressive for a budget oriented card.

Unigine Heaven 4.0 and Unigine Valley 1.0

A compilation of 26 beautiful scenes rendered and run via the raw GPU power of the system. It emulates any game or graphical work that you'll perform on the system scoring it on various parameter. We ran the test on Custom preset and settings at 1920x1080 resolution, quality to ultra and extreme tessellation.

These two benchmarks utilize the full 4GB VRAM on the RX 470 hence quite an accurate real-world rendering power can be made out from the results.

3D Mark Fire Strike

Fire Strike by 3D Mark is a test suit that plays a cinematic scene to determine the FPS, GPU temperature and CPU temperature scaling everything via a cumulative score. It is a great tool to benchmark your GPU since the render is mostly GPU & memory dependent.

3D Mark 11 Professional Edition 

Another variant of the Fire Strike by 3D Mark, used mainly for scoring the GPU performance.

Crysis 3

I can't start gaming benchmarks without running my all time favorites Crysis 3 but its a game that no system loves! The CryEngine 3 behind this scenic beauty can bring down any system to its knees and I mean any system. I set everything to Ultra at 1920x1080 resolution with MSAA 4X and motion blur high.

Rise of the Tomb Raider

The latest installation of Lara Croft in the spectacular Rise of the Tomb Raider 2016 with stunning graphics and rich location makes it a great game to benchmark with while enjoying in the due course! We used DX12 and settings were at Ultimate on full HD resolution.

Alien Isolation 

Its a great game for people, like me, who love to hunt down Xenomorphs or aliens with guns blazing all over the place. The game is highly optimized for PC and supports DirectX 11 with Tessellation, real-time Direct Compute radiosity, and shadows making it an ideal game to benchmark with settings at Ultra.

Batman Arkham Knight

Since the game is powered by Epic's Unreal Engine 3 and supports DX11 tessellation so playing this game on 1920x1080 resolution with all settings maxed out can be any modern system's 'worst nightmare'!

Battlefield 4

Based on the DICE's Frostbite Engine 3 this game not only taxes a CPU and GPU both by reproducing lush details on the screen but also utilizes the DX11 and DX11.1 features coupled with 64-bit binaries! Settings were at Ultra with antialiasing deferred at 2x MSAA and ambient occlusion enabled.

Fallout 4

Fallout 4 takes place in post-apocalyptic Boston in the year 2287, 210 years after a Nuclear war. Bethesda's Creation Engine drives the game's strong first- and third-person presentation. The game takes advantage of DirectX 11 and can be highly taxing on most of the PC hardware. At full HD resolution shadow quality was set to high along with everything else cranked to max.

Far Cry Primal

A game that takes the concept of going back in time a bit too far, set in pre-historic central Europe where man is still fighting the forces of nature to become the dominant species on Earth. Based on Ubisoft's latest Dunia Engine, the game takes advantage of DirectX 11 and is heavily taxing on high-end GPUs. We used Very High preset at 1920x1080 resolution since that's what is considered the sweet spot for this game.

Ashes of the Singularity 

Developed by Oxide Games & running on the Nitrous Game Engine Ashes of the Singularity is a real-time strategy game set in the future where descendants of humans (called Post- Humans) and a powerful artificial intelligence (called the Substrate) fight a war for control of a resource known as Turinium.
We've used the in-built benchmarking tool and the result is shown in an average of all the graphical tests conducted over various locations and topographies of the game. DX12 API, Quality set to Extreme, 4xMSAA and everything else to high.

Hitman 2016

Agent 47 is back and in this sixth installation of the infamous Hitman series everything is notched up ranging from gameplay to graphic engine. The game uses an in-house game engine by IO Interactive called the Glacier game engine that is one of the first to leverage DirectX 12. The sole purpose of including this game in our benchmark today was to see how the RX 470 performs in DX12 mode.
Settings are at Ultra on full HD resolution.


Finally we've introduced this much awaited titled to our benchmarks! Developed by ID Software Doom or popularly written as DOOM is a reboot of the older Doom series. Its fast and scary with more than enough variety of guns that you can ever imagine or even use!
Its OpenGL and quality is set to Ultra.

Noise & Temperature 

The fans on the Asus ROG STRIX RX 470 don't spin till the card hits 54°C or more. We recorded the maximum temperature in Celsius that our card hit during extensive gaming & sound was measured in decibels from a distance of 3 feet. This was performed for both stock and overclocked speeds.

My Verdict

Coming in at around $209 or Rs 19,000 in India the Asus ROG STRIX RX 470 4GB OC edition is definitely a worthy player in the 1080p gaming market. The clock is overclocked out of the box and with some cool features such as the Asus fan connect and the LED ROG logo the card is a total package.
There is more than enough headroom for overclocking on this card and you can surely reach some impressive numbers with that, even the memory overclocked well on our sample. The entirely new cooler is very effective but noisy for the size of a two fan card! For me, I can live with it but someone else might find it irritating while gaming.
Performance wise its obviously slower than the RX 480 but surely faster than a R9 380 and GTX 960. The 4GB edition of the RX 480 is the only viable competition to this card as of now but sadly that card is scarcely found anywhere in the market & I won't advice you to go on a quest to find one either for your next build! So is the Asus ROG STRIX RX 470 the perfect card? No, the price is a bit on the higher end and puts it eerily closer to more powerful cards! So if they can bring it down to the near Rs 17K mark they'll have themselves a clear winner.
I give it a just 7/10 and it earns our silver award!

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