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EVGA GeForce GTX 470 Superclocked+ Review

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SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
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As with all new things, NVIDIA’s GTX 400-series has seen its fair share of ups and downs. Both the GTX 480 and GTX 470 offer extremely good performance for the markets they are aimed at but the recently-released GTX 465 proved to be a disappointment. Eager to capitalize on people’s willingness to spend a good amount of money when it comes to performance, companies are looking for new and innovative ways to offer something that pushes the limits.

When it comes to board partners, they are constantly striving to make the GTX 400-series more appealing and now that we have seen enough iterations of the reference cards to fill a tractor trailer, things are a changin’. The GTX 480 has proven to be a tough nut to crack when it comes to pre-overclocking and adding any type of custom heatsink but its lower end sibling –the GTX 470- is a much more willing participant. As such, Palit, Gigabyte, Zotac and EVGA are just a few of the companies that plan to release or have already released overclocked and custom cooled GTX 470 cards. In this particular review we will be looking at the EVGA GTX 470 Superclocked+ Edition.

The “+” in EVGA’s card doesn’t come from any massive or frankly tacky aftermarket cooler but rather it is represented by a number of small changes EVGA has done to the reference heatsink in order to improve its overall efficiency. An aluminum backplate as well as an aptly-named “high airflow bracket” have been added which supposedly results in an approximate 7 degree drop in temperatures over a reference GTX 470. EVGA has also carried on the Superclocked tradition by bestowing higher clock speeds upon this card as well. Interestingly enough, the changes to the cooling assembly only result in a $10 price premium over the standard Superclocked edition.

We have long maintained that NVIDIA’s GTX 470 offers an excellent combination of price and performance even though its overall power consumption is on the high side for a card in its price bracket. Can EVGA’s take on NVIDIA’s reference design push things to the next level or are all of the added on bits nothing more than an elaborate marketing ploy?

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SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
12,841
Location
Montreal
EVGA’s Warranty, Step-Up & More

EVGA’s Warranty, Step-Up and More


Many of us know EVGA by name since their cards are usually some of the best priced on the market. Other than that, there are several things which EVGA has done to try to differentiate their business model from that of their competition. Not only do they have an excellent support forum and an open, friendly staff but it also seems like they have a love for their products you just can’t find many other places. Passion for one’s products goes a long way in this industry but without a good backbone of customer support, it would all be for nothing. Let’s take a look at what EVGA has to offer the customer AFTER they buy the product.


Lifetime Warranty

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Every consumer wants piece of mind when it comes to buying a new computer component especially when that component costs you over $400. In order to protect your investment, EVGA offers their customers a lifetime warranty program which is in effect from the day you register the card until…well…the end of time. The only caveat is that you must register your card within 30 days of purchase or you will only be eligible for their new 1+1 warranty. So as long as you don’t get lazy or forget, consider yourself covered even if you remove the heatsink. The only thing that this warranty doesn’t cover is physical damage done to your card. For more information about the lifetime warranty you can go here: EVGA | Product Warranty

Even if you forget to register your card within the 30 days necessary to receive the lifetime warranty, EVGA still offers you a 1 year warranty.


Step-Up Program

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While some competitors like BFG used to offer trade-up programs as well, EVGA will always be known for having the first of this type of program. This allows a customer with an EVGA card to “step up” their card to a different model within 90 days of purchase. Naturally, the difference in price between the value of your old card and that of the new card will have to be paid but other than that, it is a pretty simple process which gives EVGA’s customers access to newer cards. As is usual certain conditions apply such as the cards being in stock with EVGA and the necessity to register your card but other than that it is pretty straightforward. Check out all the details here: EVGA | Step-Up Program


24 / 7 Tech Support

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Don’t you hate it when things go ass-up in the middle of the night without tech support around for the next dozen hours or so? Luckily for you EVGA purchasers, there is a dedicated tech support line which is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. As far as we could tell, this isn’t farmed out tech support to the nether regions of Pakistan either since every rep we have spoken to over the last few years has had impeccable English. Well, we say that but maybe EVGA hunted down the last dozen or so expats living in Karachi.
 

SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
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Messages
12,841
Location
Montreal
EVGA GTX 470 Superclocked+ Specs / Packaging & Accessories

EVGA GTX 470 Superclocked+ Specs


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The specifications we see here aren’t all that impressive for a pre-overclocked card but this move was understandable on EVGA’s part. While we fully expect higher clocked versions to be available soon, people who don’t want to spend a fortune on a GTX 470 will be well served by this particular card. Just don’t expect any noticeable differences in performance over a reference speed product.


Packaging and Accessories


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EVGA has kept their packaging scheme pretty much constant over the last few years and this card does with the same black box we have seen time and again. Unfortunately, there isn’t anything in the way of clock speed information for those who will end up buying this card in a brick and mortar store.

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Inside of the box we have the usual plastic blister package which suspends the card and actually protects it quite well from any external trauma.

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When it comes to accessories, the EVGA GTX 470 Superclocked+ really spares no expense even though it doesn’t include a game…per se. Until the end of June most retailers will be offering up most GTX 480 and GTX 470 cards with a coupon for a free download of Just Cause 2. Otherwise, you get a DVI to VGA adaptor, two Molex to 6-pin connectors, an EVGA case badge and sticker and finally a six foot mini HDMI to HDMI cable.
 
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SKYMTL

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A Closer Look at the EVGA GTX 470 Superclocked+

A Closer Look at the EVGA GTX 470 Superclocked+


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Upon first glance, there is absolutely nothing different about EVGA’s new Superclocked Edition. It has the same full length heatsink, fan, 9 ½” length and stickers as the reference-based card but once you flip it over, things start to look very interesting indeed.

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Instead of leaving a bare PCB on this card’s rear quarters, EVGA has installed an aluminum backplate in order to more efficiently disperse the heat built up around the core and memory. While some of you may be sneering at this approach, more than two years ago we reviewed the Thermalright HR-11 which used almost the same principles as this backplate and it did lower the GPU’s temperatures.

The reasoning behind this is quite simple: a PCB is an inefficient heat conductor so heat tends to stick around longer that it should around the core and memory in even a well-ventilated case. Adding a full-length aluminum plate into the mix allows for a quicker dispersal of heat away from the components installed onto the PCB, especially when there is sufficient airflow inside of a case.

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The installation of this backplate is seamless and doesn’t look tacked-on in any way. There are small cut-outs for some components like the SLI connectors while any electrical conductivity issues are taken care of by small clear rubber spacers which are placed at strategic intervals.

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Along with the backplate, this card’s main claim to fame is its high airflow racket. Basically, this takes advantage of every square inch of the backplate to introduce additional slots and widen the existing grille so any airflow from the fan can pass through without hindrance. There are even small slots above the output connectors and when placed next to a reference card, the differences are more than obvious.
 
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SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
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Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
12,841
Location
Montreal
Test System & Setup

Test System & Setup

Processor: Intel Core i7 920(ES) @ 4.0Ghz (Turbo Mode Enabled)
Memory: Corsair 3x2GB Dominator DDR3 1600Mhz
Motherboard: Gigabyte EX58-UD5
Cooling: CoolIT Boreas mTEC + Scythe Fan Controller (Off for Power Consuption tests)
Disk Drive: Pioneer DVD Writer
Hard Drive: Western Digital Caviar Black 640GB
Power Supply: Corsair HX1000W
Monitor: Samsung 305T 30” widescreen LCD
OS: Windows 7 Ultimate N x64 SP1


Graphics Cards:

EVGA GTX 470 Superclocked+
ASUS GTX 465 1GB (Reference)
NVIDIA GTX 470 (Reference)
Sapphire HD 5870 1GB (stock)
Sapphire HD 5850 1GB (Stock)


Drivers:

ATI 10.5 WHQL
NVIDIA 257.21 WHQL


Applications Used:

Aliens Versus Predator
Battlefield: Bad Company 2
DiRT 2
Far Cry 2
Just Cause 2
Metro 2033
Unigine: Heaven

*Notes:

- All games tested have been patched to their latest version

- The OS has had all the latest hotfixes and updates installed

- All scores you see are the averages after 3 benchmark runs

- All game-specific methodologies are explained above the graphs for each game

- All IQ settings were adjusted in-game
 
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SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
12,841
Location
Montreal
Aliens Versus Predator (DX11)

Aliens Versus Predator (DX11)


When benchmarking Aliens Versus Predator, we played through the whole game in order to find a section which represents a “worst case” scenario. We finally decided to include “The Refinery” level which includes a large open space and several visual features that really tax a GPU. For this run-through, we start from within the first tunnel, make our way over the bridge on the right (blowing up several propane tanks in the process), head back over the bridge and finally climb the tower until the first run-in with an Alien. In total, the time spent is about four minutes per run. Framerates are recorded with FRAPS.


1680 x 1050

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1920 x 1200

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2560 x 1600

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SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
12,841
Location
Montreal
BattleField: Bad Company 2 (DX11)

BattleField: Bad Company 2 (DX11)


To benchmark BF: BC2 we used a five minute stretch of gameplay starting from the second checkpoint (after the helicopter takes off) of the second single player mission up until your battle with the tank commences. Framerates are recorded with FRAPS.


1680 x 1050

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1920 x 1200

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2560 x 1600

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SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
12,841
Location
Montreal
DiRT 2 (DX11)

DiRT 2 (DX11)


Being one of the newest games on the market, DiRT 2 cuts an imposing figure in terms of image quality and effects fidelity. We find that to benchmark this game the in-game tool is by far the best option. However, due to small variances from one race to another, three benchmark runs are done instead of the normal two. It should also be mentioned that the demo version of the game was NOT used since after careful testing, the performance of the demo is not representative of the final product. DX11 was forced through the game’s config file. In addition, you will see that these scores do not line up with our older benchmarks at all. This is due to the fact that a patch was recently rolled out for the game which included performance optimizations in addition to new graphics options.

1680 x 1050

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1920 x 1200

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2560 x 1600

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SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
12,841
Location
Montreal
Far Cry 2 (DX10)

Far Cry 2 (DX10)


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Even though Far Cry 2 has its own built-in benchmarking tool with some flythroughs and “action scenes”, we decided to record our own timedemo consisting of about 5 minutes of game time. It involves everything from run-and-gun fights to fire effects. The built-in benchmarking too was then set up to replay the timedemo and record framerates


1680 x 1050

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1920 x 1200

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2560 x 1600

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SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
12,841
Location
Montreal
Just Cause 2 (DX10)

Just Cause 2 (DX10)


Just Cause 2 has quickly become known as one of the best-looking games on the market and while it doesn’t include DX11 support, it uses the full stable of DX10 features to deliver a truly awe-inspiring visual experience. For this benchmark we used the car chase scene directly following the Casino Assault level. This scene includes perfectly scripted events, some of the most GPU-strenuous effects and lasts a little less than four minutes. We chose to not use the in-game benchmarking tool due to its inaccuracy when it comes to depicting actual gameplay performance.


1680 x 1050

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1920 x 1200

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2560 x 1600

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