When it comes to sub-$200 GPUs, AMD has a pretty comfortable lead. Its RX 480 delivers uncompromising 1080p gaming and damn-fine 1440p performance, with basic VR capabilities to boot. And with Nvidia's GTX 960 and 950 lagging far behind, it should be a good pick for anyone looking to upgrade to a new display. But what if we told you that the RX 480's younger sibling is actually better than both of those cards, for only $20 more? That's the premise behind the latest iteration in AMD's Polaris line, the RX 470.
The card is built on the same 14nm Polaris 10 chip as its bigger sibling, though it has a few key differences: Its stream processors are down to 2048 from 2304; its texture units are trimmed to 128 from 144; and its memory has a slower effective clock speed of 6.6Gbps (vs. 7.0Gbps on the RX 480). These minor tweaks make the 470 a bit cheaper to build, and it still delivers solid DX11 and DX12 performance.
But it's a shame that AMD chose to price this card so close to its older Polaris salvo. The XFX model we reviewed is a fantastic-looking, thoughtfully designed card with a quiet fan and sleek backplate, but it's hard to justify a $240 premium over the $199 price tag of a 4GB RX 480. AMD could have slashed that price by lowering the reference specs a little, and I suspect it will eventually do so to help this card find an audience.