We liked the RX 470 well enough, which, for our site, is certainly considerable praise; we tend to stick just with the numbers and leave most of the decision-making to the reader, but the RX 470 did receive some additional analysis. As we stated in the review, the RX 470 makes good sense as a card priced around $180, but not more than that. That's the key point: Our entire analysis was written on the assumption of a $180 video card, presently fielded only by PowerColor and its Red Devil RX 470. Exceeding the $180 mark on a 4GB 470 immediately invalidates the card, as it enter competition with AMD's own RX 480 4GB model (see: 4GB vs. 8GB VRAM benchmark). Granted, it's still far enough away from the RX 480 8GB & GTX 1060 that the 470 may exist in some isolation. For now, anyway.
But as seems to be the trend with both nVidia and AMD for this generation of graphics cards, the RX 470 has some pricing that at times seems almost silly. Take, for instance, the $220 XFX RX 470 RS Black Edition True OC card: it's $20 more than a 4GB RX 480, it's clocked to where we overclocked on our RX 470, and it will perform about 3-5% slower in AVG FPS than the RX 480 4GB reference card. And let's not start on the seemingly irrelevant $240 8GB RX 470 Nitro+, effectively an RX 480 8GB card (even in clock-rate) with four fewer CUs, fewer TMUs (from 144 to 128), and slower memory – though it does have a better cooling solution, to Sapphire's point.
AMD's RX 470 has been on our time table since May, when the pre-Computex press event informed us of a “mid-July” release. Well, it's mid-July – wait.
August 4th. It's August 4th. The RX 470 is available effective today, coinciding with embargo lift on reviews, and we've had time to thoroughly analyze the card's performance. The RX 470 is a partner card and will not be available as a reference model, though some partner cards may as well be reference models; they're using the reference RX 480 cooler, just with new colors, back-plates, or LEDs.
AMD has positioned its RX 470 in the sub-$200 market, listing its MSRP as $180. AIB partners will price their cards according to any custom coolers or pre-overclocks applied, though the floor has been set, more or less. That plants the 470 in a presently unchallenged market position: AMD's biggest current-gen competition in this price-range is its own RX 480 4GB card, the GTX 1060 being nVidia's lowest tier offering.
Before our deep-dive review on the Sapphire RX 470 Platinum, card architecture, thermal & endurance throttles, power, and FPS, let's run through the specs.
AMD's RX 480 Reference received our recommendation as a go-to for the $200-$300 market, but was immediately challenged by the release of the GTX 1060; the choice isn't so clear now, but both cards have appropriate use cases. Still, as with the Founders Edition card reviews, we recommended that our readers wait until AIB partner models of the RX 480 begin shipping, as the cooling performance will improve clock-rate stability on the Polaris 10 chip.
We finally received one of those AIB partner models. The MSI RX 480 Gaming X uses the Twin Frozr VI cooling solution – described in our Computex exclusive – and ships pre-overclocked to 1303MHz from ~1266MHz. The 8GB card's price should rest at $265, or $15 more than the reference RX 480 8GB ($250), and MSI will also be selling 4GB variants of the Gaming X. Our previous coverage of the RX 480 4GB vs. 8GB will help answer questions as to whether the lower capacity card is worth it.
We recently had a chance to speak with AMD's Robert Jameson about the Radeon Pro SSG, or “solid-state graphics,” that was announced earlier this week. This isn't a technical deep-dive by any means, but we did get some additional top-level information as to how the Radeon Pro SSG works. As a reminder, the SSG is targeted at professional production users and is not a gaming card; that said, the technology is interesting and new, and worth exploring for potential future implications.
Here's a quick run down of how this thing works.
We received a user report at 11:50AM EST on July 29 that the new AMD 16.7.3 drivers were limiting memory overclocks to 2050MHz, down from the original 2250MHz limit that we approached with our launch overclock. We spent the next several hours validating the new 16.7.3 drivers versus the previously certified 16.7.2 drivers, and reached-out to AMD via email for support.
During the ensuing tests – including some tests conducted after the below video was filmed – we discovered that the AMD 16.7.3 drivers cause blue screens as a secondary effect from hard crashes. As we state in the video, the overclock limitation on memory is not something to go “burn down the towers” over, as it seems likely a mistake, but we would strongly urge users to stay on 16.7.2 or roll-back if issues present themselves.
(Video pending upload)
AMD says the majority of its buyers prefer GPUs in the $100-$300 price-range, and as such, the company has shifted its launch away from “halo” products and toward that affordable segment. The focus for the RX 470 is on players sticking with 1080p, allowing the RX 480 to focus on the 1440p gamers.
The RX 470 uses the Polaris 10 GPU and has the same architecture as the RX 480, including compute pre-emption and asynchronous shaders, but is cut-down in stream processor count and clock-rate. The RX 470 will host 32 CUs, as opposed to the 36 CUs of the RX 480, and that puts us at 2048 stream processors. Knowing that each CU has 64 stream processors, none of this is actually new information yet – we'd already reported/calculated all this in our RX 480 review.
The past week has been major for hardware news. We've seen the announcement of the Titan X and AMD's new Radeon Pro SSG with 1TB extended framebuffer (learn about that here), but there's also been news of Intel's Kaby Lake shipping to OEMs, and of AMD's boosted earnings.
AMD's new GPU news is interesting in its own way, and so we produced a separate video for that content. The new Radeon Pro SSG ("Solid-State Graphics") is coupled with a 1TB extended framebuffer that operates via PCIe, and bypasses some of the slow-downs encountered when dealing with memory transactions that exceed normal on-card memory. As for the rest of the week's news, our hardware recap below will run through it all swiftly. The topics include: (1) Kaby Lake architecture CPUs shipping to OEMs, (2) AMD earnings recovery, (3) DDR3 price drops, (4) Titan X announcement, (5) Phanteks 1080 waterblock with LEDs.
The video transcript is located below that, if you'd prefer written content.
Sapphire, a Hong Kong technology company, has been making Radeon video cards for the better part of a decade. Leaked details about Sapphire’s RX 470 Platinum Edition and RX 460 have been reported by Videocardz.com, whose track record on reporting similar leaks has been generally reliable.
The leaked Sapphire RX 470 Platinum Edition photos show a cooler that looks almost identical to AMD’s RX 480 reference design. The RX 470 Platinum Edition has a silver-colored reference blower cooler and includes a custom backplate. One last difference is Sapphire’s name branding, which is printed in white on the side of the RX 470 Platinum instead of AMD’s red Radeon logo. You can read our thoughts on the RX 480 reference cooler in our review here.
Prominent GPU and CPU company AMD has recently released its financial results for the second quarter of 2016. In the past, AMD has struggled to stay out of the red financially, and the results today aren’t very different, but AMD has improved its posture over 1Q16.
As seen in the table below, AMD’s revenue has grown from $823 million to $1.027 billion, rivaling revenue of 1Q15. The net loss is a net loss of $40 million, up from a net loss of $109 million in 1Q16, and $180 million in 1Q15. Similarly, the operating loss for 2Q16 is $8 million, compared to Q1’s $68 million and 1Q15’s $137 million. This change is primarily due to lower operating expenses and layoffs.
Intel and AMD dominated the entire CPU market in the 90s and early 2000s, but ARM-based SOCs have taken a large chunk of their business. The ARM architecture and RISC instruction set is used in almost every phone today and can be found in Chromebooks, tablets, TVs, and servers.
ARM is a unique company as it licenses its patents to technology companies to use for a fee; in turn, ARM often receives royalties from these deals. The company actually doesn’t make any physical CPUs like Intel and AMD, so almost all of its money comes from patent deals with other companies to take its designs and create SOCs, which are then put into tablets, phones, or other products.
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