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Review: ZOTAC GeForce GTX 470 - tested in SLI and compared to Radeon HD 5870 XF

by Tarinder Sandhu on 20 April 2010, 08:57 3.0

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

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Final thoughts and rating

Fresh from the production line, ZOTAC's GeForce GTX 470 graphics card is effectively a reference model with a few stickers on top. Bundled with a five-year warranty but scant little else to differentiate it from the crowd, the card's £310 etail price is further compensated by the fact that it's in-stock and ready to buy.

A single card's performance more or less matches a Radeon HD 5870's - a GPU that's been around for six months already - but significantly higher power-draw and a noisier fan take some of the lustre from the GTX 470's overall proposition.

For most readers, the GeForce GTX 470 1,280MB is the better of the two Fermi-derived GPUs, yet until it can match six-month-old AMD technology in all facets it will remain a hard sell.

But what happens if you're committed to the NVIDIA route and want explosive gaming power and can splash out for two GTX 470s? The answer is a commendable 75 per cent performance scaling when tested at the ultra-high resolution of 2,560x1,600.

What ZOTAC really needs is a custom-cooled GTX 470 with noise and temperature characteristics approaching that of a Radeon HD 5870, because it's not enough to be as good as the competition, it needs to be better to sway would-be Radeon purchasers to the green camp.

Bottom line: ZOTAC's GeForce GTX 470 tows the reference line and makes a decent, if not outstanding, case as a high-end GPU. Doubling the £310 outlay leads to appreciable performance gains that will only be realised with ultra-level IQ settings and sky-high resolutions.

The good

Decent performance in every benchmark
SLI scaling is very good, especially at 2,560x1,600

The not so good

For folk looking at current games, GTX 470 isn't any better than six-month-old Radeon HD 5870

HEXUS Rating

Four Star

ZOTAC GeForce GTX 470 SLI 1,280MB

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HEXUS Forums :: 30 Comments

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Still happy with my GTX260 SLI & Q6600, but would make a good new build when the new Phenoms x4 come out using asus unlocker to make x6 cores and 5850 XF.
Interesting artical, it's interesting to see that both ati and nvidia high end cards are getting decent performance gains from xf/sli.
However one thing this artical shows is why would you sli the 470? if you can afford that sort of money on graphic then go the full way and get sli 480's.
The 2x 5850 in xf vs single 480, works because the price is around the same and while the 470 and 5870 cost the sameish, the 5870 xf is a more possible simply because it's been around longer so people with a single 5870 may want an upgrade.

Also odd to see the dual gpu cards performing below that of xf, the card? or is it the case that a single dual gpu card is actually starting to saturate the pci-e 2.0 x16 bandwidth?
Still annoying to see Hexus use nvidia's own list of benchmarks almost exclusively without considering many other titles. Despite this fact though, the GTX470 still comes off pretty badly. It can barely match the HD5870CF setup in nvidia's own test suite, and in Bad Company 2 actually loses to HD5850CF, let alone HD5870CF. SLI scaling may be good, but CF scaling is far from bad, and with such weak performance to start with, SLI does not save the GTX400 architecture from its badness.
Still annoying to see Hexus use nvidia's own list of benchmarks almost exclusively without considering many other titles.
I've almost accused them of doing similar in the past, but the current suite seems slightly better balanced than some in the past, so I wouldn't be too quick to say the same this time. I'm sure Hexus would happily be able to confirm there are no conditions/recommendations on games they test nVidia cards on.
Check the GTX400 series benches. HAWX, Far Cry 2, Bad Company 2, DiRT 2 and a Crysis, be it the original or Warhead. Even in sites that never normally use any of those games, that's always the list.
HAWX because ATI messed up performance in it with the HD5 series, DiRT 2 because there was a driver problem that caused ATI cards to be slow (meant to be fixed pretty soon), Far Cry 2 because it shows off the GTX4 series' extra memory, and Crysis because it's innately heavily biased in nvidia's favour. Bad Company 2 is also biased in nvidia's favour, but less so, and it would appear drivers have since removed most of that bias.