Zotac GeForce GTX 470 review

Is Nvidia's GTX 470 an AMD Radeon HD 5870 beater?

Zotac GeForce GTX 470
Can Nvidia claim the graphics performance crown?

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Zotac geforce gtx 470

Well, the results are actually pretty damned good for the green side of the graphics divide. Almost across the board the GTX 470 comes out on top of the HD 5870, its only bum note being the comparatively poor showing in Metro 2033.

As one of the games heavily using tessellation in its character models the fact that it is behind the HD 5870 is somewhat strange. This strangeness is compounded by the relative results in the thoroughly tessellation-heavy Heaven 2.0 benchmark.

In the testing process the HD 5870 garners 28fps in our Metro 2033 benchmark while the GTX 470, powered by a GPU built from the ground up to be tessellation-friendly, only managed a slightly poorer 26fps.

When you consider that's at the full HD resolution of 1920x1080, with all the bells and whistles turned on (bar the Nvidia-centric PhysX niceties), that's still not a bad showing.

The AMD Radeon HD 5870 is practically half the speed of Nvidia's GTX 470 though when it comes to the Unigine Heaven benchmark, a benchmark that has been recently updated to version 2.0 to include a specific 'extreme' mode for its tessellation pathways.

The AMD card is in single figures at 9fps compared with the Nvidia card's 17fps. AMD's brilliant HD 5970 only manages to garner a result of 20fps, which goes to show just how powerful even the cut-down GF100 in the GTX 470 is when it comes to the DX11 poster-child of tessellation.

In general DX10 gaming too the GTX 470 shows a definite lead over the AMD shaped competition. In Just Cause 2 the GTX 470 is a full 25 per cent faster at the eye-popping 2560x1600, 30" panel resolution. There's clear water in the DX10 stallwart of Far Cry 2 as well.

So, it's done its job then; the GTX 470 is measurably better than AMD's HD 5870. The issue remains though that both these cards are over £300, and that most definitely is not where the sweet spot is for graphics cards these days.

A quick scan over the benchmarks shows that only the very latest of releases need anywhere near this much graphical grunt, and only then when absolutely everything is turned on.

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