XFX Radeon RX 470 RS 4GB Hard Swap Triple X, A Closer Look
XFX never scrimps on quality hardware or cooling solutions and the XFX Radeon RX 470 RS 4GB Hard Swap Triple X is no exception. XFX went one step above and redesigned the cooling solution with an industry-leading Unibody VRM Heatsink that is a one piece heatsink that includes all copper construction.
Since we are running on about the heatsink, here’s a shot of the Unibody solution with all copper heatpipes and copper GPU sink. Notice that in the left top of the image is a thermal pad for the VRM’s and the oversized heatpipes. We see a lot of GPUs here at Bjorn3D, and we really prefer the all copper design without the chrome plating. The chrome looks good, but all copper is hard to beat and the chrome just adds another layer to the cooling solution and it’s just for looks not efficiency.
Now the most unique feature of the XFX Radeon RX 470 RS 4GB Hard Swap Triple X: the swappable fans. XFX came up with an elegant solution to the swappable fan problem. The clips on the side of the detached fans merely need a gentle squeeze and they come right out; to replace them just reverse the process and you have colored fans. The biggest advantage would come if a fan ever needed replaced you can easily replace a faulty or worn out fan without having to dive down to the hardware level and remove the cowling.
Here we’ve snapped out the existing fans and replaced them with the red fans and the swap took under a minute. If you should happen to get one fan not quite seated, then one fan will fire up and you can shut down and reinstall the second fan with no problem, as we tested this feature out in our lab.
We wanted an unedited photo of the colored fans so we turned off the flash and set the camera for night photos in a low light condition to give you the true color. As you can see, the swap matches the ASUS ROG Maximus VIII motherboard and we stuck in some Corsair memory with red LEDs to match the color. Note that we used the Corsair kit for pictures only, and our testing was done with the Kingston Fury kit listed in the system specs. Often reviewers leave the last upgrade in place as they test new hardware and it skews the results. We leave the exact same system to test each video card exactly like it is for the entire generation of video cards, ensuring consistent results across the board.
We swapped out for blue fans and we did it while the video card was still on the open testbed; it’s just that easy. The colors are brilliant and really make an eye popping difference! Notice that the swappable fans have stopped spinning. During periods of light use the fans will stop spinning and we found during most use outside of video games the fans barely spun or stopped completely. Both AMD and NVIDIA have adopted the 0 dBA fan design recently and it’s a welcome feature in our labs.
Here’s the brilliant white color of the fans we installed, as XFX was kind enough to send us all three colors for testing.
Neatly packaged inside the box you will find a half clam shell with your colored fans safely nested inside. We got three sets of fans in a slightly damaged outer box and all three sets were in perfect condition. The set of two fans will set you back $19.99, which is a more than reasonable price for two replacement fans, let alone LED colored replacements.
Even though the XFX Radeon RX 470 RS 4GB Hard Swap Triple X isn’t a full length card, XFX went ahead and put on an anti-sag metal backplate which just shows their dedication to excellence. The card comes in at a case-friendly 9.45″ long and should fit in all mid tower and above cases. If you have a small footprint chassis you may want to check clearances.
XFX has you covered on video connectors with one DVI, one HDMI and three DisplayPort, so unless you’re hoarding an old 15-pin DSUB connector monitor you will be good to go.
Coming at the card from the top down it has a single 6-pin PCIe connector that you should find on most modern power supplies.
If you’re stuck with an older but capable power supply, you can make do with the included 4-pin Molex to 6-pin PCIe adapter until you get a more modern power supply. Also included in the somewhat sparse bundle is the driver disk, but we recommend downloading the latest driver from XFX or AMD, as in most cases by the time you open your video card the drivers are outdated. If you did the default install off the disk AMD’s CCC software will auto update the drivers and let you know when they are updated, so no worries there.
Looking from the top down we see the usual heatpipe arrangement, but XFX threw a curve here and if you don’t read the specs page carefully you will miss the new improvements.
XFX’s latest take on heatpipes includes an upgraded design and a grooved inner heatpipe with a hollow pipe running down the center. The center pipe has Sintered layer Microdonts and the outer sheath has a Microgrooved surface to increase the heat dispersion surface.
XFX doesn’t stop there and has hardware controlled True Clock technology where the actual clockspeed is hardware controlled and not controlled by software which can mistake heavy loads on the system and misread the true graphics card speed. With hardware controlling the core speed you get XFX True Clock Technology and a smother faster operating GPU. Add the zero noise auto sensing fans that spin down during low graphics loads, and you have quite the bundle of tech under the hood of the XFX Radeon RX 470 RS 4GB Hard Swap Triple X.