Nvidia GeForce GTX 470 review

26 Mar 2010

Ludicrous power draw wipes out the small advantage gained in gaming tests, and the price needs to drop

Price when reviewed 
299
4

Just beneath the flagship GTX 480 sits what Nvidia hopes will be its new upper-mainstream challenger, the GTX 470 - but it's not going to come cheap. Whether it can justify the price will depend largely on what you intend to do with it.

The GeForce GTX 470 has 448 stream processors, along with a 607MHz core clock and 1.25GB of GDDR5 memory with a 320-bit memory interface. It's similar in size and performance to ATI's Radeon HD 5850.

As with the GTX 480, the new Fermi card does have the slight edge over its nearest ATI rival in games. In Crysis at 1,920 x 1,200 and Very High settings, the GTX 470 averaged 33fps to the HD 5850's 32fps; higher settings saw similar margins. World in Conflict had the Nvidia card consistently ahead by just under 20%, and in Stalker: Call of Pripyat that margin was around 5%. Other games had ATI's card ahead by a whisker, and if we average all the results, Nvidia's edge looks to be between 5% and 10%.

Nvidia vs ATI graph

(Sample framerates at 1,920 x 1,200 at Very High settings.)

Like the GTX 480, power consumption is a real concern. Nvidia quotes a TDP of 215W, and with it installed in our test rig the whole system idled at 131W and peaked at a massive 380W. By comparison, with the HD 5850 installed in the same rig we measured 122W when idle but a much lower 231W at full load - that's an unbelievable 60% less than with the Fermi card installed.

As we cover in the full Fermi review, GPGPU applications are also a focus. Using CyberLink PowerDirector 8 we rendered out a 1080p AVCHD file with a single accelerated filter effect applied to it, and found the GTX 470 was 35% faster with acceleration than without. The ATI card was boosted by a similar percentage using ATI Stream; given Nvidia's hype over the technology it isn't the result we were hoping for.

But it's gaming performance that most readers will want from a GeForce card, and although the GTX 470 does best its ATI rival by a small amount on average, its £299 inc VAT expected price puts it a good £70 above the HD 5850. It'll take a significant price drop before we'd consider opting for such a noisy, power-hungry card over the existing competition.

Nvidia GeForce GTX 470

Details

Price ex VAT £255
Price inc VAT £299
Performance 6
Features & Design 4
Value for Money 3
Overall rating 4

Core Specifications

Graphics card interface PCI Express
Cooling type Active
Graphics chipset Nvidia GeForce GTX 470
Core GPU frequency 607MHz
RAM capacity 1,280MB
Memory type GDDR5

Standards and compatibility

DirectX version support 11.0

Connectors

DVI-I outputs 2
HDMI outputs 1
Graphics card power connectors 2 x 6-pin

Benchmarks

3D performance (crysis) high settings 61fps