Many miners waited impatiently for the release of the Radeon RX 470 4GB. The reason is simple – its oldest brother, the RX 480, proved to be quite a good choice for Ethereum mining, achieving the 24.7 Mh/s mark with Ethereum’s Ethash algorithms. Thus, there were lots of expectations about the RX 470 as well.
Radeon RX 470 hit the shelves a couple of days ago. The card clearly surprised the most skeptical users and dissapointed the most ambitious ones. After all, looks like there are no miracles in the hardware market. The RX 470 has not revolutionized the industry, yet it cannot be considered a fail either.
In this article I’ll review the RX 470 4GB and compare it to its 8GB counterpart, as well as to the RX 480. If you have already used the RX 480 or know a lot about it, then it will be easier for you to understand the differences.
There are split opinions about the RX 470, and I did my best to find the common ground. The picture becomes clear if we put away personal preferences. It’s good to avoid getting excited or frustrated about the card and see things how they really are.
Gigahertz and Megahertz
First thing first, the RX 470 4GB memory is slightly slower than the 8GB version and way slower than the RX 480 8GB.
Radeon RX 480 8GB can be overclocked up to 2200 – 2250 MHz and several users state that this frequency is the sweet spot of the card.
The RX 470 8GB default frequency is 8 GHz (2000 MHz), which combined with the high capacity, allows the card to perform better than the RX 470 4GB in several tests. I will get back to it a bit later.
The RX 470 4GB works with 6.6 GHz (1650 MHz) by default. Luckily enough, the memory clock limit was removed in the 16.8.1 driver update. If you see comments of people complaining about the mem clock limit, you’ll probably notice that those were posted before august 8th.
The card can be overclocked up to 8.4 GHz (2100 MHz). Nevertheless, as you know, it’s all about hitting the sweet spot, rather than overclocking it until it explodes. As for now, the card performs worse at 8.4 GHz than at 7 GHz. In fact, 7GHz can be considered the best clock for now.
The RX 470 4GB consumes about 33% less power at the wall compared to the RX 480, and 40% less than the RX 470 8GB. Some users reported that a set of four RX 470 GPU consume 560 W, while the same amount of RX 480’s needs 750 W. Those tests were made using a Win10 64bit system.
Others report getting 26-26.5mh/s per RX 480 card, with a power consumption of 900 W at the wall for six GPU. One source even states 985 W power consumption with the same 26.5mh/s performance. The settings they’ve used remain unclear, though.
Obviously, power consumption is relative according to the tasks and usage. Now, while the results vary slightly, the pattern is quite obvious. Hopefully, you can get an idea about what to expect.
Performance and Hashrate
The reason of controversies in people’s opinions about the RX 470 4GB might be the pool they’re using to determine the Hashrate. There are at least four possible pools, each of which showing slightly different hashrates:
Client/proxy reporting your local rate
A “benchmark rate”
A test network hash rate.
Many reviews don’t specify which pool they’ve used, thus it might be a daunting task to gather some real numbers. Nevertheless, here are some performance stats I’m sure of:
RX 470 4GB, using the Ethereum Claymore Dual Miner (ETH) test:
20.5 Mh/s average with factory memory clock (1650 MHz)
22.1 Mh/s when overclocked to 1750 MHz.
Lower than 22.1 Mh/s when overclocked over 1750 MHz and under 2100 MHz.
RX 470 8GB, using the Ethereum Claymore Dual Miner (ETH) test:
24.0 Mh/s average with factory memory clock (2000 MHz)
25.5 Mh/s when overclocked to 2100 MHz (which seems to be the sweet spot of the card).
As we could notice, the difference in GPU-intensive algorithms ranges between 3,5 to 3,1 Mh/s, relatively (factory and overclocked). There’s no information yet about the difference when running memory-intensive processes. Common sense suggests that it might be quite more, though.
Driver Compatibility and Known Issues
As always, the main issue with new AND CPU cards are drivers. Expect the RX 470 drivers to be unstable for the next 30 days minimum.
As we mentioned, it is possible to overclock the RX 470 4GB �till it reaches the 2100 MHz mark. If AMD will make the effort to release more stable drivers, then the card might probably stand a chance against its bigger (and more expensive) counterparts. For now, though, it’s recommended to keep the card clock in the 7 GHz (1750 MHz) mark.
Also, there’s something you need to know about the newest 16.8.1 update. While it does add overclocking support, it proved to conflict with some mining algorithms. In fact, looks like 16.8.1 works relatively stable only with the classic Ethereum mining.
It’s proved that running sgminer thorough the NiceHash Miner package does not works with 16.8.1. It displays a blue screen no matter the configuration.
You can try downgrading it to 16.7.3, yet that does not works with sgminer either. It does, however, get rid of the blue screen, yet it still fails to work properly. So yeah, it might be a good idea to keep the driver up to date and wait until AMD releases a better hotfix.
Sapphire RX 470 8GB does work with sgminer and some algorithms other than the classic Ethereum mining. Nevertheless, it only does that when using the beta driver pack that comes on the CD that is included in the card package. Install the newer releases and you’ll get the same issue as with the RX 470 4GB.
Which one wins? In the end of the day, it all comes to the price and availability. In this article I haven’t talked about the price, since it greatly varies per country and store. For instance, in the US, you might need to pay an additional 5% tax; in the EU, the price of the RX 470 4GB might vary from $231 to $263, depending on the country and dealer.
The main pro of the RX 470 4GB remains its low power consumption. If wattage is an issue for you, then this card might be your best choice. Some US dwellers also reported that the RX 470 4GB is easier to find and buy than other cards.
While the RX 470 4GB isn’t as effective as its two counterparts, there’s still hope. The card was released to the market not long ago and its drivers are still raw. Knowing AMD, we might expect new hotfixes soon.