Since we've completely revamped a large portion of our test data for the RX 470 using the same methods we introduced with the Radeon RX 460, we can also crunch our price-to-performance data three different ways. Our value scatters now let you see each card's price-to-performance using DirectX 11 and OpenGL data only, DirectX 12 and Vulkan data only, or a "best API" chart that accounts for the best result each card deliverd using either current-gen or next-gen APIs.
Let's start off with average FPS per dollar. In our initial review, we concluded that the Radeon RX 470 delivered RX 480-class performance for similar or higher prices. It's certainly not on par with the bigger Polaris chip in our results any more, though. The RX 480 8GB card turns in especially strong showings when it's not shackled by DPC latency on our test rig, and it takes a commanding lead in our "best API" chart. That result doesn't help the value proposition of the $230 XFX Radeon RX 470 we were sent for testing, though. For just $10 more, the RX 480 8GB reference card delivers about 10 more FPS, plus twice the RAM. We initially advised system builders to step up to the RX 480 or seek out a cheaper RX 470 if possible, and our updated test data just puts an exclamation point on that advice.
Next, let's look at each card's delivered performance per dollar using our advanced 99th-percentile frame time metric. To make this measure work, we've converted the 99th-percentile frame-time numbers for each card into FPS.
Our 99th-percentile frame-numbers still tell us more or less the same story as we gleaned from them in our initial review. The XFX RX 470 RS card is quite good at smooth frame delivery, and it would be an amazing value at AMD's $180 suggested price. At $230, its value proposition is just so-so. The problem, as we've already noted, is that an extra $10 nets you a big leap in smoothness from the RX 480 8GB card, and $30 in the pocket leaves you with an RX 480 4GB card, if you can find one for that price. Neither of those steps help the XFX RX 470 RS' value proposition much.
In isolation, the XFX card we tested is a nice product, but it's not a perfect representative of the RX 470 breed. While the card boasts solid core and memory clock boosts from the factory, its fan profile favors performance over politeness, and it seems to have trouble keeping up its 1256 MHz boost clock all the time. Asus, Gigabyte, Sapphire, PowerColor, and MSI all have custom RX 470s in the works, so we'll have to see how those cards measure up in due course. We're especially curious whether any of them will hit AMD's suggested price point, and how they'll get there.
At the end of the day, the RX 470 is a great performer with an awkward price tag, at least going by the card we tested. It brings many of the same benefits we saw from the RX 480—including smoother frame delivery than its forebears—to a potentially wider audience. The problem for AMD, if it can be called that, is that it has too many good products huddled near similar price points right now. If the company can draw a brighter line between the RX 470 and the RX 480 with pricing as its pen, the lesser Polaris may yet find a home in the market. Our testing results still suggest buyers will find a better value in the Radeon RX 480, however, and that's the card we'd be after were we in the market for a Radeon today.