Card layout and Features
Well as you can see right away, this isn’t a reference card. That’s because the RX 470 launch only has AIB cards like the XFX RX 470 RS Black Edition that I’m taking a look at today. XFX has continued to change up their look completely every single generation and this isn’t any different. The flat black tuxedo look from the 300 series cards is gone and now the Double Dissipation cooler has a little more shape and style. For starters, the card is about a half inch taller than a normal card, but this isn’t to bad compared to the HUGE cards we have been starting to see, like the MSI 1070 that I took a look at. The slightly taller design did allow for a little extra height on the two cooling fans. This is your standard aftermarket cooler, two fans blowing down onto a wide heatsink with heatpipes. The fan shroud uses both flat black and gloss black to add a little definition, but overall the shroud is still actually really clean. The top edge of the card does have a white XFX logo on the one section of the fan shroud that does stick down. Beyond that, there aren’t any extra colors, any lighting, or fins and doodads. Being black it should fit right in just about any build as well.
The cooler design blows cool air down onto the heatsink, this means that XFX has to keep a lot of the sides open for the air to have someplace to go. This is drastically different than the blower style reference cards that push air right to left and out the back of your PC. It also means you need to make sure your case can handle any heat the card is going to generate. The bottom view of the RS Black Edition shows that there are three heatpipes that make contact with the GPU, two go to the right and the third goes to the left. The heatsink doesn’t have much of a gap between itself and the PCB but I did notice that on the bottom and top there is still a lot of space not being used under the fan shroud. In fact, directly under the fans there are open areas, almost an inch on the top! The end of the cooler is the weirdest. While this card is about the same length as a reference design, the PCB stops and the cooler extends on past. This means the heatsink ends up sticking out.
The RS Black Edition also has a full-length backplate on the back side of the card. Backplates help a lot with the overall strength to help prevent sagging and they also add a little for styling. It also protects the PCB a little more when you are handling the card. They do sometimes hurt cooling performance, though. To help with that XFX has drilled holes in part of the backplate. They also have the XFX logo, an arrow, and a few small lines printed onto the backplate in gloss black to add a little style without going over the top.
For power XFX stuck with the single 6-pin power connection that the reference RX 470 uses. This is the same as the RX 480 but with a lower TDP so there shouldn’t be any power issues with this being an overclocked card. They did flip the power connection around to have the clip on the PCB side. The PCB is notched as well for room. This layout helps keep room for the heatsink and that heat pipe while still having room to unclip the connection. Next to the power connection XFX also slipped in a tiny BIOS switch as well.
On the PCI slot side, the RX 470 RS Black Edition has the normal display connection. You get three DisplayPorts, one HDMI, and one DVI. This seems to be the sweet spot that covers the older monitors while having enough DisplayPorts for new FreeSync monitors. For ventilation, XFX includes their logo in the vent. It takes up a little space, but with the cooling being open air it’s not really hurting overall air flow.
XFX has gone with a completely new fan design with their RX 400 series cards and with this being the first look at one I was excited to dig into them. The fans are what they call Hard Swap fans. You can unlatch and remove the fan without using any screws and pop the fan out. This design allows for easier cleaning but it also has benefits in the RMA process. Now if you have a fan making noise XFX can send you a replacement fan without you ever having to ship your card back to them. This shortens the RMA times considerably for a lot of people and should save both XFX and the users money. XFX also mentioned that they will be releasing new LED fan options in the future as well. So while this card didn’t have any lighting on it, they are saying there will be an option later to customize your card to your lighting setup.
While AMD isn’t releasing a reference RX 470, I did want to show off how the RX 470 RS Black Edition looks next to the reference RX 480. The XFX card is a hair longer and has more height on it as well. The XFX PCB is also longer than the reference PCB, this was most likely just to move the power connection down further so their cooler would fit.