AMD Radeon RX 470 Performance Analysis: 1080p Showdown with GTX 970


The Radeon RX 480 is currently AMD’s fastest GPU using the latest iteration of GCN (Graphics Core Next). We have reviewed it and found it to be competitive against NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX 1060. In games that support CrossFire, two RX 480 GPU’s can go head-to-head with a GTX 1080. The RX 480 offers a great value for the money especially when pairing it with a Free Sync monitor like the LG 23MP68VQ or the AOC G2460PF.

However, the Radeon RX 480’s price is still out of reach for some. AMD’s solution to that is the Radeon RX 470. It has two variants – 4GB and 8GB. For this article, we reviewed the 4GB variant and compared it to the GeForce GTX 970 which is the most popular GPU according to the August 2016 Steam Hardware Survey. Prior to the release of Radeon RX 400 series and GeForce GTX 1000 series, the GeForce GTX 970 is the recommended GPU for gaming at 1080p. It would be interesting to see how the Radeon RX 470 fairs against the former value king.

We would like to thank AMD for lending us an MSI Radeon RX 470 4GB Gaming X.

How We Tested

The PC we used for testing is shown below.

CPU: Intel Core i7 4790K @ 4.0 GHz (Turbo disabled)
GPU: MSI Radeon RX 470 4GB Gaming X, Gigabyte GeForce GTX 970 4GB ITX
Motherboard: Gigabyte Z97-D3H (F9 BIOS)
Memory: G. Skill 4GBx4 DDR3 1,600 MHz
Power Supply: Corsair HX 620 watts
Case: Antec 300
AMD GPU Driver: Crimson 16.9.1
NVIDIA GPU Driver: GeForce 372.70
Operating System: Windows 10 64-bit

Frame rates and frame times of a 60-second game play were recorded using FRAPS v3.5.99. The test results are the average of 3 benchmark runs. Since this is a GPU review, we benchmarked the area of the games that put heavy load on the GPU.

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided – Prague
The Witcher 3 – Woesong Bridge
Rise of the Tomb Raider – Valley Farmstead

The image quality settings used are shown below.

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided Rise of the Tomb Raider The Witcher 3
Resolution: 1920 x 1080 Resolution: 1920 x 1080 Resolution: 1920 x 1080
Field of View: 100 Anti-aliasing: FXAA Frame Rate: Unlimited
MSAA: Off Texture Quality: High Nvidia HairWorks: Off
Texture Quality:
High
Anisotropic Filter:
16x
Number of Background Characters:
Ultra
Texture Filtering:
16x Anisotropic
Shadow Quality:
Very High
Shadow Quality:
Medium
Shadow Quality: High Sun Soft Shadows: On Terrain Quality: Ultra
Ambient Occlusion: Very High Depth of Field: On Water Quality: Ultra
Contact Hardening Shadows: On Level of Detail:
Very High
Grass Density:
Ultra
Parallax Occlusion Mapping: High Dynamic Foliage:
High
Texture Quality:
Ultra
Depth of Field: On Ambient Occlusion: On Foliage Visibility Range: High
Level of Detail: Very High Pure Hair: On Detail Level: Ultra
Volumetric Lighting:
Off
Specular Reflection Quality: Very High Motion Blur:
Off
Screenspace Reflections: On Vignette Blur: Off Blur: Off
Temporal Anti-Aliasing: On Motion Blur: Off Anti-aliasing: On
Motion Blur: Off Bloom: On Bloom: On
Sharpen: On Tessellation: On Sharpening: High
Bloom: On Screen Space Reflections: On Ambient Occlusion: SSAO
Cloth Physics: On Lens Flares: On Depth of Field: On
Subsurface Scattering: On Screen Effects: On Chromatic Aberration: Off
Chromatic Aberration: Off Film Grain: Off Vignetting: On
Tessellation: On Light Shafts: On

Test Results

The Witcher 3 is one of the great-looking games released in 2015 and is suited for benchmarking today’s GPU’s. Of the 3 games we tested, this one is the most forgiving because we were able to set a lot of settings to Ultra and still maintain a frame rate above 60 FPS. RX 470 is 3 % faster than GTX 970 in this game.

b2g-gtx-970-4gb-vs-rx-470-4gb-witcher-3-fps

b2g-gtx-970-4gb-vs-rx-470-4gb-witcher-3-ms

Despite being initially released as an exclusive game for XBox One, Rise of the Tomb Raider on the PC has impressive visuals and it still looks beautiful even if we’re not using maximum settings. RX 470 was just 6% slower than GTX 970 in this game.

b2g-gtx-970-4gb-vs-rx-470-4gb-rottr-fps

b2g-gtx-970-4gb-vs-rx-470-4gb-rottr-ms

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is another great-looking game which was just released last August 24, 2016. We did a performance review which you can read here. RX 470 was again faster than GTX 970 but the gap has increased to 9 %.

b2g-gtx-970-4gb-vs-rx-470-4gb-dxmd-fps

b2g-gtx-970-4gb-vs-rx-470-4gb-dxmd-ms

Conclusion

In all of the games we tested, it was just as fast as the GeForce GTX 970 and delivered an impressive performance at 1080p. The cheapest Radeon RX 470 4GB can be had for around PhP 9,800 ($ 200) and it makes the GeForce GTX 970 irrelevant. If you are looking for a gaming graphics card that will let you play the latest games at 1080p with high image quality, you can never go wrong with the Radeon RX 470 4GB.

This article is for reference only and will be expanded in a future revision. For now, its clear that depending on the engine the RX 470 does have an edge over the GTX 970 in sheer performance but this doesn’t factor in efficiency just yet and that’s something that’s definitely one to look out for in our future analysis.

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