In our past NVIDIA GeForce GTX 470 reviews we haven’t really looked at the DirectX 11 performance and capabilities of the GeForce GTX 470 series. I’m not faulting the reviewers for this, it was more the fact that there weren’t many DirectX 11 benchmarks available for us to use. Now, though, we have a much greater selection of DirectX 11 applications available. With these new applications that are available we have updated our battery of tests and it shows NVIDIA’s Fermi technology in what I feel is a whole new light. Our past reviews have shown the GeForce GTX 470 running at a performance level just behind the ATI Radeon HD 5870. Today we can look at the EVGA GeForce GTX 470 Hydro Copper FTW with a great deal more awe.
In four of our six games the EVGA GeForce GTX 470 Hydro Copper was the card to beat. The most impressive showing for the EVGA GeForce GTX 470 Hydro Copper was Metro 2033. The EVGA GeForce GTX 470 Hydro Copper FTW was able to double the performance of the HIS Radeon HD 5870 at 1280×1024 and was 62% faster at 1920×1080. In the Aliens Vs. Predator benchmark and S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat the EVGA GeForce GTX 470 was only slightly behind the HIS Radeon HD 5870. Our synthetic benchmarks show a mixed bag of results and we’d like to take a second to talk about Futuremark’s 3DMark Vantage. In this benchmark you can enable and disable PhysX on the GPU and by doing so you can change the overall score. Some people might call this cheating, so we included both results and you can see the difference with the setting turned off and on and make your on decisions. As we saw, there was nearly a 3000 point swing in the overall score of 3DMark Vantage depending on the configuration. Though, as we were able to see in our charts, it doesn’t affect the GPU score. Looking solely at the GPU score of 3DMark Vantage, the EVGA GeForce GTX 470 Hydro Copper FTW wasn’t able to match the performance of HIS Radeon HD 5870. Unigine Heaven 2.1 is a very tessellation heavy application. Without a doubt NVIDIA’s Fermi architecture is quite capable of doing a great job when it comes to tessellation. This is easily shown on the Unigine Heaven 2.1 charts as the EVGA GeForce GTX 470 Hydro Copper FTW was more than 25% faster than the HIS Radeon HD 5870 at maximum resolutions.
While the performance of the EVGA GeForce GTX 470 Hydro Copper FTW was more than enough to best the flagship single GPU HIS Radeon HD 5870, performance isn’t necessarily the key feature of the EVGA GeForce GTX 470 Hydro Copper FTW (although it is a huge part of it). Cooling is probably the coolest feature (yeah I know, that was bad). Overall temperature increase was a measly six degrees Celsius after 11 minutes of Furmark! The GeForce GTX 465’s that we tested when they first came out were pushing 90+ degrees Celsius; water cooling seems like a must have for NVIDIA’s Fermi cards.
When NVIDIA’s first Fermi cards came out, I will admit I wasn’t impressed. Though having the chance to play with one over the past week or so, I will admit that I am happy with the performance and maybe even a bit impressed. Am I going to pull the Radeon HD 5870 out of my daily rig and replace it with the EVGA GeForce GTX 470 Hydro Copper FTW? Well, I am undecided on that and only time will tell. The biggest hurdle will be convincing the wife to let me pick up some more parts to build another water cooling loop or to at least add in a second radiator in that system. I won’t say it’s not going to happen but I have my doubts that I can convince her.
If you can’t tell, I like the EVGA GeForce GTX 470 Hydro Copper FTW. Currently the EVGA GeForce GTX 470 Hydro Copper FTW can be found for a price of $459.99 with free shipping over at EVGA.com. Is the added price of the Swiftech water block pre-installed and ready to rock worth it? Personally, I feel it is. After a quick glance around the web I was able to find full coverage water blocks for $109.95 and the fastest EVGA GeForce GTX 470 without water cooling retails for $329.99 with free shipping. It is possible to save a few bucks and do it yourself, or spend the extra $20 and be ready to rock. Like many of EVGA’s graphic cards the EVGA GeForce GTX 470 Hydro Copper FTW comes with a Lifetime Limited Warranty and details on that can be found here.
Currently, the ATI Radeon 5870 is the top dog for the single GPU offerings from AMD. Later this week however, we are going to start seeing some of the new AMD Radeon HD 6800 series video cards coming out. If you are like me, and performance is king and not brand, I think things are going to start getting interesting for us. The EVGA GeForce GTX 470 Hydro Copper FTW is a great graphics card and I imagine it will do a fine job keeping up with the new AMD Radeons in the Radeon HD 6800-6900 series, though this is only speculation. All I can say is that only time will tell!
Legit Bottom Line: The EVGA GeForce GTX 470 Hydro Copper FTW is one of the fastest cards to come across my test bench, and is, without a doubt, the coolest in every sense of the word!