Let's take a look now at the effects the Radeon RX 470 has on our system power draw. Our "under load" tests aren't conducted in an absolute peak power draw scenario. Instead, we run Crysis 3 on each card to show us power draw with a typical gaming workload.
Here's another spot where the RX 470 isn't much different from the RX 480. AMD specifies a board power of 120W for this card, but even without more precise testing equipment, we can see that the overclocked XFX RX 470 is drawing about as much power as the reference RX 480 8GB board. No matter how you slice it, the RX 470 lets our system draw less power than it does with an R9 380X installed, and it delivers much greater performance while doing it. Not bad. Meanwhile, our factory-boosted GeForce GTX 970 consumes the most power of the lot.
At idle, all of these cards save the Radeon RX 480 can shut off their fans at idle, making the roughly 32 dBA produced by the rest of my test system the lower limit to quietness in this test. Crank up Crysis 3 on the RX 470, though, and it becomes the loudest card among those we tested. Even the Radeon RX 480 reference card is quieter. The XFX card isn't unpleasant-sounding, at least. Its twin fans mostly sound like moving air instead of an unpleasant tonal or growly noise.
The XFX cooler keeps the RX 470 the coolest of the Radeon cards we have on hand to test, so at least its aggressive fan profile has a good payoff. We did discover an interesting behavior with this card despite its cool-running nature. Even with its 1256-MHz boost clock specification, this RX 470 seemed more content to hang out in the 1200-MHz zone after being loaded with Crysis 3 for a while, rather than boosting up to or near its on-paper maximum. We expected higher clock speeds given this card's cool-running nature.
Strangely, the RX 480 reference card seemed plenty able to run at or near its specified 1266-MHz maximum in our informal testing. We're guessing AMD's reference board engineers were willing to let the Polaris 10 GPU run hotter in exchange for the boostier behavior, given its 80° C load temperature. Perhaps some tuning in Radeon WattMan (née OverDrive) could let us extract more performance from XFX's custom RX 470. We'll have to look into this matter further.
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