Visiontek RX 470: Punching Above Its Class

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Dec 22, 2016
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PRODUCT INFO

Visiontek RX 470

Type Graphics Card
Price $170 - $185

It’s no doubt that at this point in time the Radeon RX 470 holds the 1080p bang for buck crown.  We’ve looked at the Sapphire RX 470 Nitro in the past and found it to be a great performer.  But today we’re taking a look at the VisionTek RX 470 OC and see how it holds up when compared to some tough competition.  Interestingly enough VisionTek went for a reference designed card through and through.  When it first arrived I was hopeful for another unlockable card as the identifier on the PCB matched that of our XFX RX 480, but after cracking it open we found a few missing power phases indicative that this was a true RX 470, foiled I suppose.

 

What VisionTek Did Different

 

But that’s not all in itself a negative and shouldn’t be taken as such.  VisionTek did do one thing right in regards to the reference cooler, the core heatsink.  Unlike what others have done with the RX 470 when using the reference style cooler VisionTek stuck with the RX 480 design, meaning rather than a solid aluminum chunk they’ve used the cooler with the copper slug.  Since we’re in true reference design fashion the I/O remains untouched sporting 3x DP 1.4 and HDMI 2.0 ports. Since this is an OC model VisionTek has pushed the core past the reference 1206MHz up to 1226MHz and the memory from 1650 base to 1750 base.  Thanks to the memory bump it’s now matching its bigger brother, the RX 480 4GB, in terms of memory speed and bandwidth.  The only issue here is that they’ve done this all on a reference board which, much like the RX 480 we reviewed, results in quite the core clock fluctuation.  This instability in the clock left our card running around the 950MHz mark for most of our gaming benchmarks.

 

 

Overclocking

 

Okay, so the fluctuating core clock is a bit of a turn off, I get it.  But, let’s take a look at the overclocking performance we were able to get out of this card.  I wasn’t expecting near the push as what we saw on the Sapphire RX 470 Nitro since we are only working with a single six pin and a reference power delivery system, but the results were pretty good.  It took a while to nail down our top overclock that would make it though all tests and hold that clock. No fluctuations were acceptable for an actual overclock on our Polaris cards.

Overclocking led us down an interesting road here, we’ll start with the core.  The core wasn’t that hard to get up at making sure we went +50 on the power limit, but we quickly ran into a power delivery limit when we crossed 1100mV and found we had negative scaling.  So, we backed down the voltage to 1100mV and left it there while easing up on the core where we found 1300MHz to be rock solid.  Now, coming from an average out of the box state of 950MHz I’d say that’s a healthy jump.

The memory was simple enough, it went straight to 2000MHz from its factory clock of 1750MHz without a hitch, anything past that was simply a no go.  The fan curve is the most interesting thing here.  Out of the box the fan curve seemed to be taken over by Crimson rather than what the card was designed to do, resulting in a peak stock temp of 80c while the fan never went past 22% or 1600rpm.  Sure it was dead silent, but those temps had to have something to do with the core clock since the GPU target temp was 76c.  Okay, that out of the way, taking over control of the fan allowed for it to get upwards to 40% or 2300rpm (still extremely quiet) but reduce the temps, while overclocked, down to 76c at its absolute hottest.

 

 

 

Testing The RX 470

 

We tested on our X99 Broadwell-E based test sytem. For DX11 and OpenGL we utilized FRAPS for capturing performance during our runs. For our DX12 testing I wanted to take a moment and thank the guys at CustomPCReview again for helping develop a tool that will now allow us to deliver the same level of results for DX12 and Vulkan as we have with DX11. DX12 tests were conducted with OCAT and once the runs are all completed three times the averages for average FPS, 1% low, and .1% low are taken and plotted. We use 1% and .1% lows rather than absolute minimum as the absolute minimum typically represents an outlier frame and doesn’t typically represent actual gameplay.

X99 Test System

CPUIntel Core i7 6800k (4.1GHz)
Memory 32GB CORSAIR Vengeance LPX DDR4 2666MHz
MotherboardASUS X99A-II
StorageCrucial MX100 512GB SSD
Seagate 2TB SSHD
PSUCooler Master V1200 Platinum

*All testing was completed when these were current drivers*

Radeon 16.11.5

GeForce 375.95

Battlefield 1

Battlefield 1 was tested just like in our game performance review using the “Over The Hill” mission at 1080p using the Ultra preset in both DX11 and DX12.

 

BF1.DX11

BF1.DX12

 

DOOM

DOOM was run at 1080p using the Ultra preset with TSSAA x8 enabled in both OpenGL and Vulkan.

 

DOOM.opengl

 

DOOM.Vulkan

 

DiRT Rally

DiRT Rally was run at 1080p using the Ultra preset with 2x MSAA and results were taken from the in game benchmark tool.

DR

 

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided was run at 1080p using the High preset along with TAA enabled and results were taken from the in game benchmark tool.

DXMD.DX11

DXMD.DX12

 

Forza Motorsports 6: APEX

 

Forza Motorsports 6 was run at 1080p using the highest quality settings but 2x MSAA.  Track used was Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps and run while in the rain to represent a more demanding load from the game.

FM6A

 

Grand Theft Auto V

 

GTA V was run at 1080p using the Very High settings along with 2x MSAA.  Results were taken from the final segment of the in game benchmark too.

GTAV

 

HITMAN (2016)

HITMAN (2016) was run at 1080p using the Ultra preset along with SMAA in both DX11 and DX12.  Results were from the included benchmark utility.

HITMAN.DX11

 

HITMAN.DX12

 

Rise of the Tomb Raider

 

RotTR was run at 1080p using the High preset but this go around no anti aliasing was applied.  Results were pulled from our custom run through the Geothermal Valley.

RotTR.DX11

RotTR.DX12

 

The Witcher 3

 

The Witcher 3 was run at 1080p using the High preset and H/W disabled.  Our custom benchmark includes a horse ride along the hillside, through the forest, and a jog through Crow’s Perch.

TW3

 

Temps and Power Draw

Temperatures were taken after a half hour run of Unigine Valley at Extreme HD settings.

Temps

 

Power draw was taken after several runs of the Firestrike Stress test and the peak power draw was recorded using a Kill-A-Watt.

PowerDraw

AMD Polaris GCN 4.0 GPU Lineup:

Graphics Card NameAMD Radeon RX 480AMD Radeon RX 470AMD Radeon RX 470DAMD Radeon RX 460 1024 SPsAMD Radeon RX 460
Graphics CorePolaris 10Polaris 10Polaris 10Polaris 11Polaris 11
Process Node14nm FinFET14nm FinFET14nm FinFET14nm FinFET14nm FinFET
Die Size232mm2232mm2232mm2123mm2123mm2
Transistors5.7 Billion5.7 Billion5.7 Billion3.0 Billion3.0 Billion
Stream Processors2304 SPs2048 SPs1792 SPs1024 SPs896 SPs
Clock Frequency1266 MHz1206 MHz1206 MHz1200 MHz1200 MHz
Compute Performance5.8 TFLOPs4.9 TFLOPs4.3 TFLOPs2.56 TFLOPs2.2 TFLOPs
VRAM4/8 GB GDDR54 GB GDDR54 GB GDDR54 GB GDDR52/4 GB GDDR5
Bus Interface256-bit256-bit256-bit128-bit128-bit
Memory Speed8 GHz6.6 GHz6.6 GHz7 GHz7 GHz
Memory Bandwidth256 GB/s211 GB/s211 GB/s112 GB/s112 GB/s
TDP150W120W110W75W75W
Launch Date29th June4th August20th OctoberTBD8th August
Launch Price$199 US (4 GB)
$239 US (8 GB)
$179 US (4 GB)$149 US (4 GB)TBD$99 US (2 GB)
$119 US (4 GB)
New Price$199 US (4 GB)
$239 US (8 GB)
$169 US (4 GB)$149 US (4 GB)TBD$99 US (4 GB)
$89 US (2 GB)

 

 

Conclusion

So out of the box the VisionTek RX 470 isn’t going to blow your socks off, but it’s great performance for the money and practically sips power and is ridiculously quiet.  I know the quietness factor is subjective since I don’t have a way to properly test that at the moment, but it’s as quiet under load as the RX 480 is at idle and that’s saying something. But push it a little, or a lot, and it quickly matches the performance of its bigger brother for a lot less money, heat, and noise while still staying under it in power draw.  While almost every other card maker has a wild and out cooling solution I’m glad to see that someone stuck with a bonafide reference RX 470 for those who could benefit from it.

 

 

For those who would rather watch than read, have a look at the video review above. Features some under the shroud shots too for those interested.

7.5

The VisionTek RX 470 OC suffers a bit out of the box, but quickly changes into something great when pushed even a little. The VisionTek RX 470 OC makes the argument almost impossible for less expensive graphics cards to be considered.

Performance7
Value9
Design & Aesthetics7
Features7

Pros

  • Good power draw. Quiet under load. Performs above its class with overclock. Unmatched at it's price point.

Cons

  • Lower than necessary fan speed resulting in higher than desired temperatures. Limited overclocking due to reference design. Lower than desired average Core Clock speed.
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