The AMD Radeon RX 470 chip was presented during the E3 PC Gaming Show 2016 and is positioned in the mid-range market. The RX 470 is available in 4 GB and 8 GB configurations and offers three DisplayPort inputs and a single HDMI connector.
Pro Asynchronous shaders improve performance in recent games
The RX 470 offers concurrent/parallel CPU to GPU communication in DirectX 12, Mantle and Vulkan with asynchronous shaders for the stream processors. Asynchronous shaders allow the developers of games to maximize the potential of AMD's new Polaris architecture and this technology is used to optimize DX12, Mantle and Vulkan performance in recently released compatible games. In short, developers can now use multiple task queues and split up GPU power across multiple tasks at the same time.
This also works well in virtual reality situations, where head tracking is required. Latency (delay between the images that appear on the display) and stuttering can be reduced by using asynchronous shading. Although the RX 470 lacks the overall computing power to render VR games comfortably, the card has been given the 'VR Capable' rating by SteamVR, which implies a stable framerate of over 90 frames per second but not at the level that's recommended for smooth VR experiences.
Pro Ideal for 1080p gaming
The RX 470 performs extremely well in recent games when played in Full HD resolution and with the highest possible graphical settings. For example, the RX 470 is able to achieve an average framerate of 117 fps in DOOM. The card also manages to get a very fluid 68 fps in Fallout 4 and even more intensive games such as Hitman perform well with the RX 470, averaging at 67 frames per second. In short, the RX 470 is ideal for playing games with a fluent framerate in 1080p.
When gaming on a higher resolution of 1440p (2560 x 1440 pixels), performance on the RX 470 is often a hit or miss. Some more optimized games such as Dirt Rally (52 fps) or DOOM (77 fps). However, some other games will struggle to deliver a fluent gameplay experience. The average 1440p framerate in both The Division and Rise of The Tomb Raider for example hovers around the 45 fps mark, although a higher framerate can be achieved if graphical settings are toned down.
Pro Great performance improvements in Vulkan-compatible games
When using Vulkan, a graphical API that allows developers to better communicate with the GPU, the RX 470 can achieve great performance improvements compared to the more standard DirectX 12 or OpenGL API's. Some recent games offer support for Vulkan, such as Doom, Dota 2 and Ashes of The Singularity. When playing Doom under the standard OpenGL in Ultra Settings and 1080p resolution, the RX470 is able to achieve an average framerate of 84.2 FPS. When using Vulkan however, the same RX 470 performs significantly better with an average result of 101.5 frames per second, a 20.5% performance increase.
While NVIDIA's new Pascal architecture is also compatible with the Vulkan API, the AMD RX series benefit more greatly from it. In the same benchmarks, results for the competing GTX 1060 were also provided, where the performance improvement under Vulkan was only 6%.
Con Very minimal price difference with RX 480
The RX 470 is positioned slightly under the RX 480 by AMD, but the price difference between these two GPU's is very minimal. Both GPU's hover slightly above the $200 mark, which gives users little reason to purchase a RX 470 instead of a faster RX 480.
Con Mediocre performance-per-watt ratio
The RX 470 uses AMD's new Polaris 10 architecture and is more efficient than previous-generation GPU's, but the performance-per-watt ratio remains somewhat mediocre. The TDP (thermal design point and maximum power consumption) of the RX 470 chip is measured at 125W. The more expensive GTX 1060 by NVIDIA heavily outperforms the RX 470 but still manages to achieve the same levels of power consumption. Efficiency-wise, the Radeon RX 470 doesn't impress.
Con Limited overclocking potential
The RX 470 has limited overclocking potential as AMD has decided to cap the maximum memory bandwidth at 1850 MHz. Although GPU clockspeed increases of 10 - 15% aren't uncommon up to 1355 MHz, differences in games are less noticeable because the card tends to struggle with this maximum speed. If AMD had allowed further clockspeed increases of the memory, the RX 470 would be better suited for overclocking.