Let me preface this review with the following “if you want the straight out best price to performance RX 470, this isn’t for you”. That statement, however, doesn’t mean this isn’t a good card, or a great card fro that matter, it just means you’ll pay a little more over an XFX card, for example, for the features this card adds.
But what are those features? The first is this really nice cooler – the fan blades are large and angular, stay quiet, very quiet in fact, at high RPM’s and look pretty nice in my opinion. Whilst the card lacks a backplate which would be purely aesthetic dude to it’s feather like weight, there is a metal strip which runs across the top of the PCB to add rigidity and support – how necessary this is I’m not sure, but a nice addition to have. The continuity between the design on this card, and also the design on ASUS’s higher end cards also gives a really premium feel, I love it when companies bring higher end features down to more affordable price-points. There is also 2 included software packages – one controls the ‘Aura’ RGB LED on the card, with the ability to pulse, cycle between colours, stay on a single colour, strobe and also the option to sync to music (any sound your PC outputs). The second program, ASUS GPU Tweak has the features you’d come to expect of MSI’s Afterburner, with the ASUS look, and a better user interface.
Is Paying a premium worth it?
The core thing that has to be remembered here is that inside the card it is still the exact same GPU as any other RX 470.
It has the same 14nm chip – regardless of if the card is made by XFX, ASUS, PowerColor or MSI.
That really begs the question as to whether you want to pay the slight price premium this card presents over other GPUs in the 470 series?
Don’t get me wrong there is certainly a market for this card, and I, personally, am OK with paying a premium for a better user experience. Much of this card’s target market is at gamers who want to buy a GPU on a lower tier budget – and when it comes to cheaper gaming PC’s spending £10/£20 ($12.5/$25) extra on a more expensive GPU cooler could mean compromises on the CPU, which would actually result in worse performance – just something to keep in mind.
That being said when you pick this card up and plug it in it screams reliability and a premium touch. Everything just works as it should, it stays nice and quiet, features a hybrid fan mode by default and a is pretty power eficient. The 4GB frame buffer is GDDR5, and plenty for 1080P gaming. The IO on this card is also pretty good, although the IO on XFX RX 470 (my review can be found here) would be my preferred choice, even if it is a tad overkill.
If you want RGB, clean software suites and a great user experience then this card is for you, but justifying spending a bit more is where your real decision will come here.