NVIDIA GeForce GTX 470 SLI Review

Author: Michael "SKYMTL" Hoenig
Date: April 14, 2010
Product Name: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 470
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With the official launch of the GTX 400 series thankfully over and done with and stock slowly but surely trickling into the retail channels, it is time for many consumers to finally make a decision. Do they finally go for NVIDIA’s latest and greatest or put money on ATI’s current DX11 cards? Admittedly, the choice isn’t an easy one since both competitors are well positioned when it comes to price and performance. As we saw in our GTX 480 review, the framerates it is able to achieve are nothing short of remarkable but it also gobbles up copious amounts of power making it a poor choice when it comes to performance per watt. The GTX 470 on the other hand was able to pull far enough ahead of ATI’s HD 5850 that it garnered our Dam Good Value Award. With a price of about $350, the GTX 470 represents extremely good bang for your buck…but so does the HD 5850.

There is no hiding the fact that NVIDIA’s new cards are now known as some of the hottest-running and most power hungry GPUs ever produced. Running them in single card configurations results in substantially higher power consumption than their immediate competition but in our opinion, the GTX 470 is the better suited of the two cards for running in an SLI configuration. If you are looking for one of the fastest dual-card setups, the GTX 480 is naturally the way to go but heat and power supply selection will be worries that the GTX 470 somewhat alleviates. That is why we have decided to forego the geek-porn article flaunting $1000 worth of GTX 480s and instead chose a $700 dual GTX 470 combo which should be much more palatable to the vast majority of consumers. Not to mention that the GTX 480 will be in short supply for the foreseeable future so you are actually much more likely to find a pair of GTX 470 cards on store shelves anyways.

As we have seen in the past, ATI has shown some exceptional scaling when pairing up cards and NVIDIA claims the same ability. Part of the reason we are finally seeing good scaling from both camps is because modern DX11 games can actually make use of the additional resources that are made available by a second GPU. With this in mind, NVIDIA believes their GTX 470 is a perfect candidate for people looking for a high performance without spending an absolute fortune on the best of the best. Interestingly enough, the $700 price tag for two of these cards puts them in direct competition with the some HD 5970 cards (which are next to impossible to find) and slightly more than $100 more than two HD 5850s. This may seem like a bitter pill to swallow considering there have been some rare instances of HD 5970 cards going on sale for around $500 but if SLI can offer competitive scaling, then ATI may be in for one heck of a fight.

This article will be a straight-up benchmark-style review of the capabilities two GTX 470 cards bring to the table without any of the lead-in usually found in our GPU reviews. If you want to know more about the architecture, design and performance of the GTX 480 and GTX 470, please visit their dedicated reviews HERE and HERE.


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