The Asus GeForce GTX 470 ENGTX470 graphics card offers a good level of performance and decent value.
When a graphics card company launches two products at once, it tends to be the faster one that attracts most interest. Once again, the GeForce GTX 480 has garnered the most column inches, even though it's still too expensive for most people to consider buying. The Asus GeForce GTX 470 ENGTX470, on the other hand, comes in some £30 below the ATI Radeon HD 5870 – and around £60 above the 5850. And that pricing makes it a realistic option for gamers who are more likely to be looking in the £250-£350 range.
The Asus GeForce GTX 470 ENGTX470's design is rather more conventional than its pricier stablemate. It comes in a sealed casing with no cooling pipes protruding from the top. As with the 480, the 470 isn’t massive given its power, but you’ll still need a decent-sized PC chassis and a decent amount of room to spare within it.
It can be used with a standard six-pin connector but its power consumption is surprisingly steep, drawing 215 Watts at maximum load. This puts the Asus GeForce GTX 470 ENGTX470a long way ahead of the figures of 188 and 151 Watts generated by the Radeons 5870 and 5850 respectively. The sheer amount of power pulsing around the 470 also generates a considerable amount of noise and the 470 is a far less discreet card than, say, the 5850.
The Asus GeForce GTX 470 ENGTX470 boasts an impressive 1280MB of GDDR5 memory and, combined with a relatively wide 320bit memory interface (the 5850 and 5870 offer just 256bit), this results in a very decent memory bandwidth figure of 133.9GBps. This would be much stronger if the 470 had a higher memory clock speed – the figure of 837MHz (3348MHz effective) is considerably down on the 5870’s 1,200MHz (4,800MHz effective). The core clock speed of 607MHz is also lowly. Together with a mere 448 stream processors, the Asus notches up only 1.09Tflops yet has potentially very strong floating-point capabilities.
The Asus GeForce GTX 470 ENGTX470 certainly performs better in reality than its specifications seem to suggest. Its performance is generally midway between that of the 5870 and the 5850. In Aliens vs Predator, for instance, it’s generally 3 to 4fps behind the 5870, and anywhere between 1.5 and 5 frames ahead of the 5850.
In BattleForge, it gets to within 3fps of the 5870, but remains 5 to 6fps ahead of the 5850. In Crysis, it falls back and gets beaten by even the 5850 – although, admittedly, all three of the cards are quite close together in this test. It also hangs on ahead of the 5850 by less than a couple of frames in Stalker. The 470 seems to cope with a change to DirectX 11 as well as the 5870 and better than the 5850. Certainly this card is plenty good enough to draw out the capabilities of DirectX 11.
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