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The Radeon RX 470: giving budget 1920x1080 gaming a boost
To nobody's surprise, the Radeon RX 470 fills in the gap between the RX 460 and the 4GB RX 480. Here's how it stacks up against a number of past graphics cards with similar specs:

  Base
clock
(MHz)
Boost
clock
(MHz)
ROP
pixels/
clock
Texels
filtered/
clock
(int8/
fp16)
SP
TFLOPs
Stream
pro-
cessors
Memory
path
(bits)
Memory
transfer
rate
(Gbps)
Memory
bandwidth
(GB/s)
Peak
power
draw
R9 280X --- 1000 32 128/64 4.1 2048 384 6 288 250W
RX 470 926 1206 32 128/64 4.9 2048 256 6.6 211 120W
RX 480 1120 1266 32 144/72 5.8 2304 256 7 224 150W
R9 290 --- 947 64 160/80 4.8 2560 512 5 320 290W?
GTX 950 1024 1188 24 48/48 1.8 768 128 6.6 106 90W
GTX 960 1126 1178 32 64/64 2.4 1024 128 7.01 112 120W
GTX 970 1050 1178 56 104/104 3.9 2048 256 7.0 224 145W

To make the RX 470, AMD took the Polaris 10 GPU from the RX 480, turned off a few of its stream processors and texture units, and downclocked its GPU a bit, all while leaving its ROP count alone. The company then slapped 4GB of GDDR5 clocked at 6.6GT/s on board. The cuts made this way don't seem to hurt the RX 470 much in our theoretical numbers, and they also let the card hit a 120W board power spec.

To give you a broad idea of where the RX 470 will land, AMD says the card can deliver more than 60 FPS in a range of popular titles like The Witcher 3, Rise of the Tomb Raider, Crysis 3, and Far Cry 4. Looking over the company's endnotes suggests that many of those games were running at High or Ultra presets. If real-world performance matches those numbers, the RX 470 could be quite a compelling card for low-midrange gaming PCs.

AMD's more specific set of performance numbers heavily favor games with implementations of next-generation APIs, where Radeons have so far enjoyed an advantage—Doom with its Vulkan renderer, and Total War: Warhammer and Hitman with DirectX 12. Still, in the two DX11 games on display, the RX 470 seems plenty up to the task of delivering a good gaming experience at 1920x1080 with a fair dose of eye candy on. Still, readers should take these internal numbers with the usual dump truck of salt.

Most everything else about the RX 470 seems pretty similar to the reference RX 480, right down to the reference cooler design. The card has three DisplayPort 1.3 outs and a single HDMI 2.0 out, and it'll require a six-pin power connector.

Since we're already playing the guessing game with pricing, we don't feel bad saying that we expect the RX 470 reference card to ring in at about $160. The GTX 950 stalked that territory until just recently, and it seems probable that AMD wants to deliver a boost in performance at that price point, similar to what it's done with the RX 480 at $200. Once again, however, this is just our gut estimate.

We're still waiting on AMD's official word for pricing, and we can expect to be smug or eat our crow pretty soon on this point. AMD is targeting an August 4 release for the RX 470, and the RX 460 will follow on August 8. We should get full information on each card then. Regardless of their actual prices, this duo of Polaris cards makes an exciting summer for PC gamers that much hotter.

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