PowerColor Red Devil RX 470 Graphics Card Review
John Williamson / 7 months ago
Unfortunately, the pricing of AMD’s RX 470 hasn’t been divulged to reviewers in a swift and concise manner. Currently, the retail prices are subject to change and I’ve received some conflicting reports. Right up to the embargo being released, this section was edited to reflect new information. According to AMD, the Sapphire RX 470 OC will cost £164.99 in the UK from Overclockers UK. This isn’t a great exchange rate since US customers can acquire models starting from $179.99. Of course, the current devaluation of Sterling is probably the root cause of this and unavoidable. Custom models will rightfully cost more and I’ve been quoted a £189.99 price on the ASUS STRIX GAMING RX 470. This is perilously close to the RX 480 and I hope the pricing comes down after launch. For example, the Sapphire Nitro+ RX 480 OC 4GB is available to pre-order from Overclockers UK for £199.99 . This isn’t a basic reference model either and makes you question the RX 470’s price point.
In my opinion, the RX 470 reference model should cost no more than £154.99 to remain an enticing proposition. The small price gap to a highly-rated custom model will simply make consumers pay the extra even if the performance is similar. Furthermore, the reference model cannot uphold its maximum boost clock. Psychologically, owning the higher-end product creates a heightened sense of pride and users are more likely to display their systems with the RX 480. I’m not entirely sure how AIB partners can expect to market custom designs if they’re the same price or within £5-10 of the RX 480. Evidently, AMD hasn’t created a suitable price disparity between their two Polaris 10 chips and this is probably going to result in weak sales.
PowerColor has been responsible for creating a huge catalogue of AMD custom designs and the Red Devil branding refers to their flagship offerings. Typically, the Red Devil products involve a strict selection of chips with great overclocking headroom and a premium cooling solution. While the PowerColor Red Devil RX 470 is designed for the budget market, it’s worthy of the luxury branding and utilises the highest factory overclock I’ve encountered thus far. Saying that, the 1270MHz boost is only a mere 10MHz faster than the Sapphire Nitro+ RX 470 OC and this doesn’t translate to noticeable performs gains. Despite this, judging the GPU on its own, you cannot help but admire the extremely capable boost speed.
Throughout the testing process, the graphics card maintained a strong lead over the basic Sapphire reference model. This is mainly due to the GPU’s excellent power delivery and cooling solution which ensured the boost clock was completely stable. In contrast to this, the Sapphire RX 470 OC’s boost is dynamic and operates between a wide range. This helps us to determine why there’s such a significant performance difference. As expected, there was hardly anything to choose between the PowerColor Red Devil RX 470 and Sapphire Nitro+ RX 470 OC. Both of these feature hefty overclocks and offer almost identical performance. For the most part, the PowerColor Red Devil RX 470 is remarkably close to the RX 480 and I would have preferred to add a reference model to test bench. Sadly, this wasn’t possible but I’m certain the difference would be almost non-existent. However, there are some anomalies and the RX 470 even when using a premium model can fall behind the competition. For example, the RX 480 has a surprisingly large lead when tackling the Hitman benchmark. This inconsistency in the data is unusual and it might be worth re-assessing the Polaris 10 range at a later date once drivers mature. From what I’ve encountered, the RX 470 is designed to compete with the GTX 970 while being cheaper.
In terms of aesthetics, the graphics card’s red and black colour scheme is relatively attractive and should appeal to the core gaming demographic. Upon first inspection, there’s no wow factor, but the design grows on you rather quickly. The contrast between the matte black shroud and red accents is superb and I particularly like the Red Devil Logo. To improve the design, some subtle RGB lighting would have helped and added a more spectacular finish. Nevertheless, the PowerColor Red Devil RX 470 looks great and exudes a premium feel. Also, it’s awash with high-end components such as a digital PWM design and 6+1 phase power delivery.
Unfortunately, the product’s cooling solution can become loud under strain and isn’t that much quieter than Sapphire’s reference design. This is a crying shame because the temperatures are extremely low which makes me think the noise issue could be solved with a BIOS update or custom fan curve. Rest assured, the cooling hardware is impressive and ensures the boost clock doesn’t throttle.
When it comes to overclocking, the graphics card has lots of headroom and I initially received a boost figure of 1375MHz. This appeared completely stable during the Heaven benchmark, and I decided to begin recording the results from a number of games. Unfortunately, the games locked up until the clock was scaled back to 1335MHz even when applying the maximum voltage. Despite this decent number, I’m confident that you should be reaching around 1350-1365MHz. While it wasn’t possible on my sample, I have a suspicion that a driver or another factor was causing issues.
- 0dB fan mode
- Dual BIOS
- Excellent 1270MHz boost factory overclock
- Good overclocking headroom
- High-quality backplate
- Impressive performance gains over reference
- Reliable power circuitry
- Sleek aesthetic
- Superb temperatures
- Priced too close to the RX 480 (Could change)
- Sapphire Nitro+ RX 470 is much quieter
“The PowerColor Red Devil RX 470 comes pre-loaded with a very impressive overclock and handsomely outperforms the Sapphire reference model. Not only that, the GPU sports the iconic AMD colour scheme and is built to an impeccable standard.”
PowerColor Red Devil RX 470 Graphics Card Review
Thank you PowerColor for providing us with this review sample.