We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

The Radeon RX 470 is the mainstream video card in the new RX400 video card family from AMD, based on the Polaris architecture. Let’s test the 4 GiB model from XFX (RX-470P4L) and see how it performs.
The chip used in the Radeon RX 470 (codename “Ellesmere”, the same one used by the Radeon RX 480) is based on Polaris architecture. While the entry model, the Radeon RX 460, has much more modest specifications, the Radeon RX 470 is very close to the RX 480 (which is the high-end model of this family so far) in features. The number of processing cores, for example, is 2,048 in the RX 470, and 2,304 in the RX 480, with a maximum clock of 1,206 MHz and 1,266 MHz, respectively. Both are manufactured under 14 nm “FinFET” process, which guarantees higher energetic efficiency when compared to the previous generation.
The Radeon RX 470 we tested is from XFX, model RX-470P4L, with the same 2,048 cores from the reference model, but with a higher maximum clock (1,256 MHz vs. 1,206 MHz, which means 4% factory overclocking) and 4 GiB of GDDR5 memory running at 7 GHz (6% above the reference model, which runs at 6.6 GHz) with 256 bit interface, for a memory bandwidth of 224 GiB/s. So, keep in mind that other cards with different clocks may perform differently.
The tested video card has a TDP of 120 W.
It is possible to find Radeon RX 470 models with 4 GiB and 8 GiB. As we mentioned before, the tested model has 4 GiB.
Figure 1 shows the box of the Radeon RX 470 from XFX (RX-470P4L).

Radeon RX 470 ReviewFigure 1: the box of the XFX Radeon RX 470

Figure 2 unveils the tested video card.

Radeon RX 470 ReviewFigure 2: the XFX Radeon RX 470 (model RX-470P4L)

The MSRP for the Radeon RX 470 is USD 179. It means its direct competitor is the GeForce GTX 960 Ti. Another video card similarly priced is the GeForce GTX 1060 3 GiB, costing around USD 200.
While there are actually Radeon RX 470 models that cost USD 170 in the USA, the tested model costs USD 220.
So, in our tests, we compared the performance of the 4 GiB XFX Radeon RX 470 (RX-470P4L) to a GeForce GTX 960 from Gigabyte. We also included the Radeon RX 460 we tested recently, to have a comparison of both cards from the same family. Unfortunately, we had no GeForce GTX 1060 3 GiB to include here.
In the table below, we compare the main specs from the video cards we included in this review. Prices were researched at Newegg.com for this article.

Video card

Core clock

Turbo clock

Effective memory clock

Memory bus

Memory bandwidth

Memory

Processing cores

TDP

DirectX

Price

XFX RX-470P4L

926 MHz

1,256 MHz

7.0 GHz

256 bits

224 GB/s

4 GiB GDDR5

2,048

120 W

12

USD 220

Gigabyte G1 Gaming GeForce GTX 960

1,241 MHz

1,304 MHz

7.01 GHz

128 bits

112 GB/s

4 GiB GDDR5

1,024

120 W

12.1

USD 210

XFX Radeon RX 460

1,090 MHz

1,220 MHz

7.0 GHz

128 bit

112 GB/s

4 GiB GDDR5

896

75 W

12

USD 139

Now let’s take a closer look to the tested XFX Radeon RX 470 video card.
[nextpage title=”The Radeon R7 360″]
In Figure 3 you see the video connectors of the XFX Radeon RX 470. It brings a DVD-D, one HDMI 2.0b, and three DisplayPort 1.4 connectors.

Radeon RX 470 ReviewFigure 3: video connectors

Figure 4 shows the top of the card. It uses a six-pin PCI Express power connector.

Radeon RX 470 ReviewFigure 4: top view

In Figure 5 you see the back of the card.

Radeon RX 470 ReviewFigure 5: back view

An amazing detail of this XFX model is that the fans are fitted to the cooler and can be easily removed for cleaning or replacing, even with the computer turned on.

Radeon RX 470 ReviewFigure 6: removable fans

Figure 7 shows the solder side of the RX-470P4L, covered by a metallic plate.

Radeon RX 470 ReviewFigure 7: solder side with the backplate

Figure 8 unveils the solder side of the RX-470P4L without the plate. There are no memory chips here.

Radeon RX 470 ReviewFigure 8: the Radeon RX 470 without the backplate

In Figure 9, you see the Radeon RX 470 with the cooler removed. This cooler has three heatpipes and two 90 mm fans. The cooler touches the GPU, and also the transistors of the voltage regulator circuit. Notice the eight memory chips.

Radeon RX 470 ReviewFigure 9: the Radeon RX 470 with the cooler removed

Figure 10 shows the “Ellesmere” chip, which is manufactured with 14 nm “FinFET” technology. It is the same chip present on the Radeon RX 480, but with 256 disabled cores.

Radeon RX 470 ReviewFigure 10: Ellesmere chip

Figure 11 presents one of the memory chips of the RX-470P4L. It is a SKhynix H5GC4H24AJR-ROC chip with 4 Gib (512 MiB) capacity and nominal clock of 6 GHz. So, the memory chips are already working above their nominal clock.

Radeon RX 470 ReviewFigure 11: memory chip

Figure 12 shows the voltage regulator of the RX-470P4L. It uses five phases for the GPU and one phase for the memory chips.

Radeon RX 470 ReviewFigure 12: voltage regulator circuit

[nextpage title=”How We Tested”]
During our benchmarking sessions, we used the configuration listed below. Between the tests, the only variable component was the video card being tested.
Hardware Configuration

  • CPU: Athlon X4 880K running at 4.4 GHz
  • Motherboard: ASRock FM2A88X Extreme 6+
  • CPU Cooler: stock
  • Memory: 16 GiB DDR3-2133, four G.Skill Ripjaws Z F3-17000CL9Q-16GBZH 4 GiB memory modules configured at 2,133 MHz dual channel
  • Boot drive: Kingston HyperX Savage 480 GB
  • Video Monitor: Philips 236VL
  • Power Supply: Corsair CX500M

Operating System Configuration

  • Windows 10 Home 64-bit
  • NTFS
  • Desktop video resolution: 3840 x 2160 @ 60 Hz

Driver Versions

  • AMD driver version: 16.5.2.1
  • NVIDIA driver version: 358.91

Software Used

Error Margin
We adopted a 3% error margin; thus, differences below 3% cannot be considered relevant. In other words, products with a performance difference below 3% should be considered as having similar performance.
[nextpage title=”3DMark”]

3DMark is a program with a set of several 3D benchmarks. Fire Strike benchmark measures DirectX 11 performance and is targeted to high-end gaming computers, while Sky Diver also measures DirectX 11 performance being aimed at average computers. The Cloud Gate benchmark measures DirectX 10 performance.

Radeon RX 470 Review

On Fire Strike, the XFX Radeon RX 470 was 24% faster than the GeForce GTX 960 and 54% faster than the Radeon RX 460.

Radeon RX 470 Review

On the Sky Diver benchmark, the XFX Radeon RX 470 was 12% faster than the GeForce GTX 960 and 30% faster than the Radeon RX 460.
Radeon RX 470 Review

On Cloud Gate, the XFX Radeon RX 470 was 3% faster than the GeForce GTX 960 and 11% faster than the Radeon RX 460.

[nextpage title=”Gaming Performance (part 1)”]

Battlefield 4

Battlefield 4 is one of the most popular games of the Battlefield franchise, being released in 2013. It is based on the Frostbite 3 engine, which is DirectX 11. In order to measure performance using this game, we walked our way through the first mission, measuring the number of frames per second (fps) three times using FRAPS. We ran this game at Full HD, setting overall image quality at “medium.”
The results below are expressed in fps and they are the mean between the three collected results.
Radeon RX 470 Review

On Battlefield 4, the XFX Radeon RX 470 was 8% faster than the GeForce GTX 960 and 39% faster than the Radeon RX 460.

Dirt Rally

Dirt Rally is an off-road racing game released in April 2015, using Ego engine. To measure performance using this game, we ran the performance test included in the game, in Full HD resolution and image quality configured as “medium” and MSAA off.
The results below are expressed in fps.
Radeon RX 470 Review

In this game, all the three video cards performed similarly, which makes us believe the CPU was the performance bottleneck in this game.

Dying Light

Dying Light is an open-world horror game launched in January 2015, using the Chrome Engine 6. We tested the performance at this game with all quality options as “high” and Full HD resolution, measuring three times the frame rate using FRAPS.
The results below are expressed in fps and they are the mean between the three collected results.
Radeon RX 470 Review
On Dying Light the XFX Radeon RX 470 was 4% slower than the GeForce GTX 960 and 21% faster than the Radeon RX 460.

Grand Theft Auto V

Grand Theft Auto V, or simply GTA V, is a open-world action game released for PCs in April of 2015 and uses the RAGE engine. In order to measure the performance on this game, we ran the performance test of the game (the plane portion), measuring the frame rate with FRAPS. We ran GTA V at Full HD, with image quality set as “high” and MSAA as 2x.

The results below are expressed in frames per second.

Radeon RX 470 Review

On GTA V, the XFX Radeon RX 470 was 9% slower than the GeForce GTX 960 and 40% faster than the Radeon RX 460.

Mad Max

Mad Max is an open-world action game launched in September of 2015, using the Avalanche engine. In order to measure the performance using this game, we ran its intro, measuring the framerate with FRAPS three times. We ran the game at Full HD, with image quality set as “normal”.

The results below are expressed in fps and they are the mean between the three collected results.

Radeon RX 470 Review

On Mad Max, the XFX Radeon RX 470 was 29% faster than the GeForce GTX 960 and 90% faster than the Radeon RX 460.

Rise of the Tomb Rider

Rise of the Tomb Rider is an adventure/action game launched in January of 2016, based on Foundation engine. In order to measure the performance using this game, we ran the benchmark included on it, using Full HD resolution and graphics quality “medium”.
The results below are expressed in frames per second.
Radeon RX 470 Review
On Rise of the Tomb Rider, the XFX Radeon RX 470 was 12% faster than the GeForce GTX 960 and 62% faster than the Radeon RX 460.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is an open-world RPG released in May of 2015 and based on the REDengine 3 engine. In order to measure the performance on this game, we walked around at the first scene of the game, measuring the frame rate with FRAPS three times. We ran the game at Full HD with image quality set to “medium.”

The results below are expressed in fps and they are the mean between the three collected results.

Radeon RX 470 Review

In this game, the XFX Radeon RX 470 was 41% faster than the GeForce GTX 960 and 80% faster than the Radeon RX 460.

[nextpage title=”Conclusions”]
The Radeon RX 470 proved to be an excellent video card, far superior to its little sister, the Radeon RX 460 (the technical specs of the cards let it clear why), and superior to its direct competitor in terms of price (GeForce GTX 960) on most games we tested.
The only problem with the Radeon RX 470 is that it is also competing with the Radeon RX 480. Actually, both cards have similar specs, and also similar prices. There are even Radeon RX 480 models that are cheaper than some Radeon RX 470 cards. Unfortunately, we were unable to compare both cards directly, but it is logical to conclude that the RX 480 is a little faster.
So, the Radeon RX 470 is an excellent video card, powerful enough to run recent games in Full HD and high graphics quality at high framerates. However, don’t forget to look if can’t you buy an RX 480 for a lower price.