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NVIDIA GeForce GTX 470 1,280MB review. Fermi done right?

by Tarinder Sandhu on 29 March 2010, 20:28

Tags: GeForce GTX 470 1,280MB, NVIDIA (NASDAQ:NVDA)

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A look at the reference card

The physical manifestation of the cuts to the architecture is in a card that's smaller the GTX 480, now measuring in at 9.5in long. As per its bigger brother, all GTX 470s shipping on April 12 will be based on the reference design.

It uses the same offset radial fan and heatsink cooling approach as GTX 480, albeit not quite so substantial on this model.

The lower power-draw is evinced by the two six-pin power connectors on the left-hand side. Remember, the GTX 480 needs both an eight-pin and six-pin connector. We like the fact that the power plugs are on the side and not the front of the card, making them easy to hook-up in a small-ish chassis.

Similarities between GeForce 400-series cards extend to the PCB-connected frame that the plastic shroud clips into. Removing it is simply a matter of pushing in the plastic until the clips disengage.

NVIDIA sees no reason to cool the back of the card. Going from left to right, you can see that the topside has the 10 memory chips arranged in a 3-4-3 pattern. Two SLI fingers enable three-way SLI, but you will probably need a 1,200W PSU and an understanding bank manager if going down that road.

The guts of the card are shown above. The fan hammers ambient air across the five-heatpipe heatsink. It's a little less chunky than the GTX 480's and, like its sibling, it gets very warm to the touch.

As you will see later on in this review, NVIDIA sets very conservative fan-speed settings in an attempt to keep the card quiet. Should you desire an under-load temperature of <80°C in a regular chassis the fan-speed needs to be turned up to over 3,000rpm, resulting in a noisy card.

The heatpipes protrude out of the side of the card and towards the case panel. We'd suggest, if possible, getting a panel-mounted fan to blow over the GPU.

A look from the other side. You can just about see the fifth heatpipe on the very right-hand side. Take the cooler off and it's the same direct-heatpipe design as, well, you know what.

But the rear is exactly the same as the GTX 480's, so you have two dual-link DVI ports alongside a mini-HDMI. The trio will need to be used if running a three-monitor setup, obviously.

Going from the top, Sapphire Radeon HD 5870 Vapor-X; NVIDIA GeForce GTX 480; NVIDIA GeForce GTX 470, and Radeon HD 5850.


GeForce GTX 470 1,280MB can be thought of as the GTX 480 a few weeks into a diet. The card uses much of the cooling technology on the range-topping GPU but in a smaller form factor.

Let's crank out some benchmarks.