AMD RX470 - ASUS Strix and Sapphire Nitro Review
Published: 4th August 2016 | Source: AMD | Price: |
Which of the two cards you prefer depends largely upon what you place highest on your list of needs for your affordable GPU.
The ASUS Strix perhaps is the cheaper looking of the two cards. Without a backplate and the main shroud isn't quite as nice as the other Strix models we've seen to the extent it almost doesnt look like its even from this generation of cards at all, this is obviously built to a price. That isn't to say it's bad by any stretch of imagination, rather that the previous ASUS Strix stuff has set the bar so high that the differences are more noticeable than they might be on any other card. The Sapphire Nitro by comparison looks a million bucks. The backplate beautifully blends into the shroud and we're particularly fond of the almost retro rectangular looks. Aesthetics wise the Sapphire is clearly the superior product unless you're Daredevil or a corporate puppet.
Once you get past the fact that they're both RX 470 GPUs there are two clearly different ideologies behind the direction that the companies have gone in. One gets the best performance out of the GPU at the heart of the card, one pretty much sacrifices and almost strangles the poor 470 in the search of low temperatures almost blindly ignoring how the Polaris core functions.
At only 60°C and with a total system draw below 300W the ASUS Strix is squarely aimed at those of you who value efficiency and cool operation above raw performance. It's not slow as such, just trying to do a different thing. If you're a light gamer who wants your system to be as easy on your ears as it is on your electricity bill then the ASUS RX 470 Strix is the product for you. It's not that far behind a RX 480 in performance either, but the sad thing is it actually had so much more to give. The OC mode on this card is in layman's terms a bit pointless. Because its just not getting enough power to let it function at its full ability. 1270MHZ? You could make that 1150MHz and it would make ANY difference to the scores at all because Polaris is ALL about power, and by aiming the card to function at 60C (power and temps are linked) the Asus just isn't getting enough of it. We have spoken to them and they say they wanted cooler cards this time around so that if someone that has a case with poor ventilation or lives in a hot country the card wont throttle and there is some solid reasoning behind this. I have a big issue though, the OC mode should work properly and as it stands with this in my eyes it doesn't. If you're worried about poor airflow and people playing Crysis in the Sahara desert then why not add a "cool" mode to the silent, gamer and OC options already available in the GPUTweak software. Its almost like they dont fully understand the fact that giving the card a 60c power target is actually strangling the 470 core, if this was an Nvidia card it wouldnt matter as much but the way the new AMD stuff works its very different. I mean come on look at the graphs, would you buy a card that performs AND looks worse and that is why we have decided not to give the Asus Strix RX470 any award.
The Sapphire Nitro has gone down the other route. With a larger power input and tuned for all out performance it whipped the Strix in nearly every single benchmark. In fact it was often quite a way ahead, not just a tenth of a frame here or there but far enough to put plenty of other cards between the two. If you are a gamer on a budget there is no doubt that the Sapphire Nitro is the RX 470 to go for of the two. That isn't to say that it's loud or overly hot, because it definitely isn't. It just isn't as quiet or as cool as the Strix. It hasn't sacrificed everything for performance, but it's aimed squarely at the hardcore gamer and so it wins our OC3D Performance Award.
Sapphire RX 470 Nitro