PROS / The term “most bang for your buck” is often attached to the GTX 470.
CONS / Not quite as powerful the GTX 480.
VERDICT / If you’re working with a budget but still want plenty of power, look no further.
Editor’s Note: This product has been removed from viewing as part of this site because it has been replaced by a new generation of graphics card. You can still read our original review below, but TopTenREVIEWS is no longer updating this product’s information.
The Nvidia GeForce GTX 470 came out the same time as its older brother in the series. For a little while it was discounted as the lesser of the two which, going by specs only, it is. However, once you consider the price differences the story changes a little. This graphics cards may not be the most powerful, but aside from GPU, memory speeds and sizes, you get everything else that the higher end card offers. That includes Fermi and DirectX. In multiple benchmark tests, the GTX 470 was able to out-perform all of the ATI competition with tessellation and AA (anti-aliasing) cranked up. Apparently, you can’t rely totally on what spec sheets tell you.
Putting price aside, the 470 still puts up an awfully good fight when compared to some of the higher end cards on the market. The single core of the GPU is clocked at 607MHz in its stock configuration. The shader clock speed is 1214MHz, which is just under the stock speed of Nvidia’s previous flagship model.
The fill rates are a little slow on both of these graphics cards. You’ll find similar texture fill rates in the previous series and better ones from most of the rest of the competition. The big hit that the GTX470 takes is in computing performance. Stock, it’s sitting at only 1089 GFLOPs which is one of the lowest out of the current leading graphics cards. Obviously, it doesn’t hinder it enough to take it out of the competition altogether, but it's still something upon which Nvidia could improve.
The 470 has a pretty nice video memory setup. All though it isn’t as impressive as the 480, it still looks good against the ATI competition. It has just over a gig of memory that is clocked at 1674MHz. This GDDR5 memory has a nice 320-bit bus width for fast processing. Its one flaw, which is only a flaw because it’s out-done by the other leading cards, is the 133.9 bandwidth measurement.
Both the GTX 400 series graphics cards come with the same ports for plugging in your monitors. They have 2 dual-channel DVI connectors and 1 mini-HDMI. DVI is the most common, but it’s nice to have that HDMI option without the need for an adaptor. These connections allow for up to 2560 x 1600 resolutions.
Like higher end GTX card, the 470 has the same supported API. DirectX 11 is one of the most talked-about features in graphics cards. With the enhanced graphical effects upon which DX 11 is based, like tessellation, the demand for graphics cards with DX 11 support has become a big deal.
Although only a few games have come out so far with the option of DX 11 settings, more are sure to come. This new DirectX API has opened the door to more realistic and life-like effects. Naturally, developers have been drawn to it because of this--for them it’s all about producing the highest quality graphics. By implementing this new technology, we’ll be taking a big step towards movie-like experiences when it comes to gaming.
Nvidia has an extensive line of technologies that are built into their graphics cards. Fermi is the latest that has been included in the GTX 400 series. Fermi was designed to work alongside DirectX 11. The key points that both things touch upon are tessellation and DirectCompute. Tessellation basically multiplies and manages the polygons, or basic shape elements, in graphics. By doing so, you increase the detail that is possible for developers to render. Unfortunately, this puts a heavy strain on hardware, so for that reason it has not been a focus until recently.
Tessellation has been used in CG (computer generated) animation for a number of years now, but it’s usually in a movie. Movies are a little easier to make good graphics for than games. With movies you only have to make them look good once, and hit the record button. With games though, users have to be able to interact and manipulate them, which means they have to be ready to animate every possible scenario that a player will experience. Not an easy task. With the hardware power that we have available now, mixed with things like Fermi and DirectX 11 that support it, these higher levels of detail are possible. In time we’re bound to see some amazing results.
As with all cards as of late from Nvidia the 470 model has 2 dual channel DVI ports and a Mini-HDMI 1.3 port for connecting your card to your computer. This is very standard and works with almost any mother board on the market today. The card itself is slightly shorter in length than the 400 or 500 series but is still quite large and will take up at least 2 slots on your motherboard.
Although the Nvidia GeForce GTX 470 is a downgraded version its older brother, it packs enough punch to satisfy the demands of any gamer. It is significantly less expensive, but is still ahead of the gaming world enough that you shouldn’t have to worry about an upgrade for quite a while. If you want to enjoy running everything on the highest graphics settings but don’t want to pay the flagship premium price, then look no further.