Test 7: Power use
We test power under load by plugging the entire system into a Watts Up meter, running the intensive Division benchmark at 4K resolution, and noting the peak power draw. Idle power is measured after sitting on the Windows desktop for three minutes with no extra programs or processes running.
The Radeon RX 470’s lower clock speeds and TDP pay off here. Polaris becomes much more power hungry the more you push it. While the RX 470 tends to offer just 7 to 11 percent less performance than the RX 480, it uses nearly 40 watts less power overall at peak draw—a 14.5 percent reduction.
It’s still not as efficient as the Pascal GPU inside Nvidia’s GTX 1060, but it’s a major leap forward for Radeon cards. With the Radeon R300-series, we could only hit this level of performance with cards that pushed our system power usage in excess of 400W.
Test 8: Heat
We test heat during the same intensive Division benchmark, by running SpeedFan in the background and noting the maximum GPU temperature once the run is over.
The tested cards represent a mix of reference and custom coolers, making this somewhat of an apple-to-oranges comparison. Nevertheless, it’s nice to see how the custom-cooled XFX Radeon RX 470 and Sapphire Nitro+ RX 480 stand up to the reference RX 480 and GTX 1060.
The XFX Radeon RX 470 tops out at 75 degrees Celsius, staying relatively quiet all the while. That’s a big improvement over the RX 480’s reference blower, and comparable to cooling solutions slapped onto other graphics cards in this price range.
Next page: Bottom line
XFX Radeon RX 470
XFX's gorgeous, thoughtful customizations are great, and the Radeon RX 470's performance devastates its predecessors, but it's priced too close to the RX 480.