MSI Radeon RX 470 Gaming X 4GB Review

Submitted by Jason Singh on Mon, 01/16/2017 - 22:14

Introduction

The MSI Radeon RX 470 Gaming X has 4GB of DDR5 Memory. The RX 470 is currently available in two variants, 4GB DDR5 Memory and 8GB DDR5 Memory, with the 4GB variant being the most popular given its price to performance ratio. The MSI RX 470 Gaming X has been marketed as a sub $200 GPU. The chip used in this GPU is none other than AMD's newest Polaris architecture, specifically Polaris-10, built on the new 14nm manufacturing process.  To get a better idea of the changes Polaris brings to the fore, here is a list of the improvements made by this relatively new architecture.

  • Enhanced geometry engines
  • Improved shader efficiency (up to 15% per CU at RX 480 vs. R9 290)
  • LiquidVR API support with "Variable Resolution Rendering"
  • Improved memory controller and Delta Color Compression (DCC) with full 2/4/8:1 support
  • Doubled Level 2 cache
  • Shader Instruction Pre-Fetch and improved buffering
  • Improved Asynchronous Compute
  • AMD TrueAudio Next (calculated via shader)
  • H.265 Main 10 decode and 4K60 HEVC encode
  • HDMI 2.0b, DisplayPort 1.3 HBR (5K60 with a single cable) / 1.4 HDR with HDCP 2.2
  • HDR display support

 

Specifications and Features

  XFX Radeon RX460 4GB AMD Radeon RX460 Club3D R9 270 MSI Radeon RX470 Gaming X AMD Radeon RX480

Price (Euro)

169 131 170 230 315
GPU Polaris 11 (14nm) Polaris 11 (14nm) Curacao (28nm) Polaris 10 (14nm) Polaris 10 (14nm)
Stream Processors 896 896 1280 2048 2304
Clock Speed (MHz) 1220 1200/1090 955 1256/926 1266/1120
Memory Interface Width 128-bit 128-bit 256-bit 256-bit 256
Memory Interface GDDR5 GDDR5 GDDR5 GDDR5 GDDR5
Memory Clock (MHz) 7000 7000 5600 6700 7000
Memory Bandwidth (GB/sec) 112 112 179.2 211 224
Typical Board Power (W) 75 75 150 120 150
Memory GDDR5 (MB) 4096 4096 2048 4096
 
8192
 

 

Product Showcase

 

 

 

 

 

The following items were included in the box:

  • MSI RX 470 Gaming X GPU
  • MSI Quick User Guide
  • Software DVD

The design of the GPU is impressive and but the card itself feels quite bulky. The GPU is equipped with MSI's Twin Frozr technology. The red and black colour scheme, part of MSI's Gaming GPU lineup will probably be a good match with any computer colour scheme. At first glance, one would be able to make out the absence of a backplate. However, expecting a backplate on a budget oriented GPU might be asking for a bit too much.

One thing which is sure to grab your attention is the LED lit logo on the GPU which can be configured to display different colour combinations. On further inspection, the heatpipes are 8mm heatpipes and the fans used are MSI's TORX 2.0 fans. If you hate the sound of fans as much as I do, you'll be happy to know that this GPU provides silent gaming as the fans do not spin at all when the GPU is kept under 60c. The VRMs appear to be cooled by a row of heat fins. The GPU is powered by a single 8pin power connector. 

The ports on the GPU are the standard ones, including a single Dual Link DVI, pair of DisplayPort 1.4 ports and dual HDMI 2.0b ports. 

 

Testing Methods

 

For the process of these tests, we'll be running the testing environments at 1920x1080 and 4K (3840x2160)  at the maximum available graphical settings. A big thanks to Samsung that they submitted the UD590 for reviewing purposes.

For the comparison, we use cards from the same price range or a little higher from both AMD and Nvidia, to show how it compares. For these tests, the card will be benched at stock settings. The following games and benchmarks were used:

  • 3DMark: FireStrike/Time Spy (2 Tests)
  • Sleeping Dogs
  • COD: Black Ops II
  • Hitman: Absolution
  • Saints Row IV
  • Battlefield 4
  • Hitman
  • Doom
  • Warhammer

 

Test System

Processor i7 4790 - review
RAM

G.Skill RipsjawX (4x4GB) 1600MHz CL9

Motherboard MSI Z97 Gaming 5 - review
Power Supply Aerocool GT-1050SG
Graphics Card

MSI GTX 760 OC Twin Frozr Gaming - review

Club3D RoyalQueen R9 270X Dual-Fan - review

MSI R9 280X Gaming OC - review

MSI R9 290X Gaming OC review

MSI GTX 980 Gaming 4GB - review

Sapphire R9 390(X) Nitro - review

CPU Cooler

Noctua NH-D15

SSD

Samsung 840 EVO 250 GB

OS Windows 7 Home Premium x64
Monitor Samsung U28D590D
Driver Crimson Edition 16.3.2

 

Special thanks to:

MSI - for the support of the Z97 Gaming 5 motherboard which made this review possible!

Intel - for the support of the i7 4790

Aerocool - the GT-1050SG power supply to make crossfire configurations possible

Samsung - for the support of a 4k monitor to test our graphics cards on higher levels! 

SAPPHIRE - For the support of the R9 390(X) which we handle in this review

Noctua - For the CPU cooler

Special thanks to AMD for making this review possible.

Synthetics

 

3DMark 2013-2015: FireStrike

"Fire Strike is a showcase DirectX 11 benchmark designed for today's high-performance gaming PCs. It is our most ambitious and technical benchmark ever, featuring real-time graphics rendered with detail and complexity far beyond what is found in other benchmarks and games today."

3DMark is arguably the most popular 3D graphics benchmark available. It measures the gaming performance of your GPU in all ways possible. Currently, there are 3 different levels of the Fire Strike Benchmark. Each with a different resolution. One HD, one QHD and a 4K benchmark for the really powerful rigs around here. First up is the 1080p test the raw combined gaming power of our rig with different GPU setups.

 

 

 

1080P Graphics Performance

 

We decided to go ahead with only running 1080P benchmarks as anything more would be pushing the GPU to limits it wasn't meant to handle. If you intend of purchasing a GPU for your 1080P panel, the RX 470 would be a pretty good buy. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In terms of performance, the RX 470 was extremely close to the RX 480. Just a few FPS behind the RX 480 makes it a noteworthy mention, especially since it can be purchased for under $200. The 4GB memory never seemed to be a hindrance at all at 1080P. These benchmarks reveal the true potential of the MSI RX 470 Gaming X. 

 

Power Consumption

 

We used a UMP meter to accurately measure and monitor the total power consumption of our test system. The average power consumption from each test is displayed in the chart. The PSU used is the Aerocool GT-1050SG which did its job well.

The power consumption and performance of the RX 470 seem to be in line with that of the RX 480. Scaling is quite the same since the two GPUs are basically based on the same architecture. 

 

Conclusion

 

The MSI RX 470 Gaming is a fantastic GPU and most of its success is attributed to MSI. To an extent, AMD has been able to market this GPU fairly well. However, the price of the RX 470 is quite close to that of the RX 480 which in fact gears one towards purchasing the RX 480 and calling it a day. Gamers would have surely been happier with a price tag of $150 or so. This particular GPU unit costs around $180/230 EURO/ RS 18,000. This pushes it into direct contest with the GTX 1060 3GB variant which is more or less head to head with the RX 480. The only reason one would purchase the RX 470 over the GTX 1060 would probably be for the extra video memory. 

 

PROS CONS
Affordable. Bulky and may not properly fit in the chassis.
Good cooling design with adequate amount of heatpipes.  

Low power consumption.

 

 

Performance = 15/20

GPU performance in price range = 8/10, Global GPU performance = 7/10

Power Consumption = 5/5

Design = 22/25

Acoustics = 9/10, Cooling = 9/10, Looks = 4/5

Value = 9/10

 

Total Score ≈ 8.5/10

 

We decided to give the MSI Radeon RX470 Gaming X 4GB a Silver award!

More Information about our awards and High resolution versions can be found here

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