Size, noise and heat generation
Not as long as the GTX 480, the 470 measures 24.5 cm. You'll need to make sure you have a big enough space in the casing to house it. There's a standard heat system for this double-decker card.
Unfortunately, it doesn't stay quiet and has trouble keeping the heat of the graphics chip down. In load, we're at 93°C and 59.2 dB(A). This is extremely noisy and will be annoying for anyone stationed nearby. At idle (Internet, film playback), things are much better at 42.1 dB(A). The fan is still audible but shouldn't be too troublesome.
Power consumption obviously isn't the strong point of the GeForce 400 series. The GTX 470 is less demanding than the GTX 480 but still consumes a lot of electricity. At idle, the test card draws 114 W with 390 W in load. These are high scores in comparison to the Radeon HD 5870: 85 W and 325 W in the same conditions.
If you look at our performance index tables, you'll see that the GeForce GTX 470 falls between the Radeon HD 5850 and 5870. A pretty good performance that allows you to play the most demanding games with all graphics settings on.
In Battleforge, a DirectX 11 game, the GTX 470 gives an average of 27 frames per second (1920 x 1200 pixels, filters activated). The Radeon HD 5870 scores an average of 42 fps under the same conditions (30 fps on the 5850).
General performance average
Click on the image to see all our readings
and compare this model to other cards
In Far Cry 2, still at 1920 x 1200 with filters activated, the positions are reversed: an average of 62 fps for the GTX 470, 54 fps for the Radeon HD 5870 and 45 fps for the HD 5850. As you can see, the scores vary depending on the games tested.
To conclude, we can say that while the GeForce GTX 470 does well in terms of pure performance, we can't recommend it 100%. For those looking for fast gameplay at an accessible price tag and with various additional possibilities (see inset), it will be an excellent solution. In contrast, for those who aren't interested in stereoscopic 3D and other physics effects available for a handful of games, best to go for an ATI card with comparable performance but much lower noise and and power consumption levels.