Photos and Features
Like most other manufacturers, MSI’s design doesn’t really change very much from card to card. So the RX 470 8GB looks just like the 4GB model, the RX 480, and even the GTX 1070 Gaming X that I covered. What this means is the RX 470 8GB has the same black and red theme as the other MSI cards. They accomplish this with a large plastic fan shroud that is all red on the left and black on the right. The red section has a few groves cut into it and it has an octagon shaped cutout for the fan that it goes around. The black section also has lines, but here each line is filled with a backlit red fin. Altogether the shroud has a really aggressive styling that fits really well with the whole MSI product line.
The Twin Frozr cooler revolves around two large cooling fans that blow down over the heatsink. To pull the heat out into the heatsink MSI uses four heatpipes, two from the top and two from the bottom, to pull heat out from on top of the GPU out into the heatsink. From the bottom view, we get a good look at the heatsink design and the heatsink fits really well up against the caps on the PCB, meaning MSI doesn’t waste any potential cooling space. The open areas on the top, bottom, and end of the card do mean that a lot of the heat from the card will get vented into your case, so keep that in mind when picking a case. Unlike a reference card where the fan blows from right to left, the two large fans here blow down against the PCB and from there the airflow has to go somewhere.
While the card doesn’t have a full cover top shroud like Sapphires cards. MSI did wrap the shroud around the top a little over on the top left. In that space, they slipped in the MSI logo and a dragon. This is backlit with RGB and can be controlled using the gaming app.
For power, MSI faced the power plug up at the end of the card. The PCB is notched and the connection is upside down for a tighter fit and to avoid having to space out the heatsink for finger room. They went with an 8-pin connection as well so power shouldn’t be an issue at all.
The PCI slot end of the card has a very interesting air vent design. It doesn’t look like it would have as much airflow but given the cards design that shouldn’t be an issue. For display connections, they went with a setup similar to the Sapphire cards rather than the reference cards layout. This gets you one DVI port, two DisplayPorts, and two HDMI. The normal layout these days is three DisplayPorts and one HDMI but I think a lot of people will still need HDMI ports for a while. A lot of DisplayPort monitors still support HDMI but not the other way around so this works out well.
The back of the card shows off the all flat black PCB. That said I was surprised that MSI didn’t include a backplate. Sapphires RX 470 had one. The black PCB does still look good, I just get concerned with GPU sagging later in life on cards like this with a very large heatsink design.
Speaking of large, lets address the overall size of this card. For starters, the card is 1 1/3 inch taller than the top of the PCI slot, so you will need to be very careful on what case you pick. Some cases have issues with taller cards and this is one of the tallest designs yet. At about 11 inches long the card is longer than the reference card, but not really long enough to cause any concerns. The reason for the extremely tall card height is the two large fans that MSI went with. Normally video cards have 80 or at most 90mm fans but MSI went with 100mm fans. Larger fans normally does translate to better cooling and lower noise, but I am concerned that video cards are growing a little large in size.