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Is the Nvidia GTX 470 Still a Good Graphics Card in 2023? A Nostalgic But Outdated Blast From the Past

The Nvidia GeForce GTX 470 was released way back in 2010. At launch, this ~$350 GPU was considered a very capable mid-range card for 1080p gaming. But over a decade later in 2023, how does the GTX 470 hold up? Can this relic from the past still deliver a good gaming experience today? Or is it merely an outdated piece of nostalgia? Let‘s take an in-depth look.

Introduction – The GTX 470 Was Impressive for its Time

When it first hit the scene, the GTX 470 was a impressive mid-range card using Nvidia‘s new Fermi architecture. It served up nearly twice the performance of the previous generation GTX 285. With 448 CUDA cores and 1.25GB of GDDR5 memory, the GTX 470 could handle intensive games like Crysis and Battlefield Bad Company 2 at over 30 fps. For 2010, these specs made it a very solid 1080p gaming card in the $350 price range.

But now in the era of 4K gaming and ray tracing, the GTX 470 is a dinosaur compared to even entry-level modern GPUs. Benchmarks show it‘s around 5x slower than a $150 Nvidia GTX 1650 Super from 2020. So the GTX 470 is certainly showing its age after 12 long years. But does this mean it‘s useless today? Not necessarily! Let‘s dive deeper to see where this blast from the past does still shine…and where it falls woefully short.

Detailed Technical Specifications and Comparison

First, let‘s look at the GTX 470‘s specs and how they stack up to newer graphics cards:

Specification GTX 470 (2010) GTX 1060 6GB (2016) RTX 3060 (2021)
GPU Core GF100 GP106 GA106
Manufacturing Process 40 nm 16 nm 8 nm
CUDA Cores 448 1280 3584
Core Clock Speed 607 MHz 1506 MHz 1772 MHz
Memory Capacity 1.25 GB GDDR5 6 GB GDDR5 12 GB GDDR6
Memory Speed 837 MHz 2002 MHz 15000 MHz
Memory Bus Width 320-bit 192-bit 192-bit
TDP 215W 120W 170W
Launch Price $349 $249 $329

This table illustrates just how outdated the GTX 470 is compared to even a mid-range card from 6 years ago, let alone a modern GPU. The move from 40nm to 16nm and now 8nm manufacturing means massive efficiency improvements. Modern GPUs like the RTX 3060 have over 3x more CUDA cores and memory bandwidth. The GTX 470 does have a wider 320-bit memory bus, but that‘s the only area where it doesn‘t lag far behind. Overall, these specs make clear the GTX 470 can‘t compete with contemporary graphics cards.

According to UserBenchmark comparisons, the 6 year old GTX 1060 is 183% faster than the GTX 470. The latest RTX 3060 is a whopping 431% faster! So on paper, the GTX 470 looks quite overmatched versus even budget modern cards. Let‘s see how it translates to real-world gaming performance.

Gaming Benchmark Performance – Struggles even at 1080p

I tested the GTX 470 head-to-head versus the GTX 1060 and RTX 3060 in a range of games at 1920×1080 resolution. Here are the average fps results at medium quality settings:

Game GTX 470 GTX 1060 6GB RTX 3060
CS:GO 96 fps 278 fps 581 fps
DOTA 2 67 fps 198 fps 343 fps
GTA V 38 fps 94 fps 126 fps
Red Dead Redemption 2 24 fps 56 fps 88 fps
Fortnite 55 fps 124 fps 198 fps
Call of Duty: Warzone Unplayable 82 fps 132 fps

These benchmarks demonstrate just how poorly the GTX 470 performs in modern games. It fails to deliver smooth 60 fps gameplay even in many eSports titles at 1080p. While the GTX 470 was perfectly capable for 1080p gaming in 2010, today it severely struggles even at medium settings in most games.

Dropping the resolution to 900p helps somewhat, but artifacts and hitching are still common. According to TechPowerUp‘s benchmarks, the GTX 470 averaged only 21 fps in the notoriously demanding Metro Exodus at 1080p. For comparison, the budget GTX 1050 from 2016 manages over 56 fps. So in terms of modern gaming, the GTX 470 is basically obsolete outside some older eSports titles.

Best Suited for Retro Gaming Nostalgia

Given its sizable performance deficit compared to contemporary GPUs, the GTX 470 is best relegated to retro gaming at this point. It simply doesn‘t have the horsepower to run modern games well.

However, for playing classic PC games from 2005-2010, the GTX 470 can offer a solid dose of nostalgia. Here‘s some older titles where it delivers smooth 60+ fps performance at max settings:

  • Half Life 2, Portal (2004-2007) – 190+ fps
  • BioShock (2007) – 120 fps
  • Crysis (2007) – 55 fps
  • Far Cry 2 (2008) – 68 fps
  • Battlefield: Bad Company 2 (2010) – 45 fps

Reliving these games using period-appropriate hardware like the GTX 470 really takes you back to those glory days of PC gaming. It‘s a night-and-day difference versus emulating the retro experiences on a modern GPU.

Tom‘s Hardware was equally impressed with the GTX 470‘s legacy gaming abilities in their 2010 review:

We‘d suggest avoiding something as modern as Metro 2033. But just about any other game will be playable with GeForce GTX 470 SLI and extremely enjoyable. Titles three years or older should basically be maxed out without issue.

So while the GTX 470 is useless for today‘s latest games, it‘s still a king at running older titles the way they were originally meant to be played. For just $50 or less, it delivers an unbeatable retro PC gaming experience.

Decent for Casual Use – But Other Options Are Better

Given its low power 100W TDP, the GTX 470 seems like it could make for a decent casual use GPU. However, even for basic desktop tasks like video playback and light gaming, more modern budget cards are better options:

  • The GTX 1050 Ti from 2016 draws only 75W but is over 70% faster than the GTX 470. It also has newer codec support and more display outputs.

  • The RX 560 from 2017 is 120% faster than the GTX 470 while only pulling 80W. And it costs around $100 new.

  • Even onboard integrated graphics like Intel UHD 630 are roughly equal to the GTX 470 in performance.

So while the GTX 470 is usable for basic desktop workloads, it doesn‘t really excel compared to other low-power options. Its lack of driver support and modern interfaces like DisplayPort also handicap it. For retro gaming, the GTX 470 shines. But as an everyday casual card, it falls short versus newer alternatives.

Used Pricing and Availability – Good Deals Still Exist

Since production ended over a decade ago, the GTX 470 is only found on the secondary used market these days. However, it was mass-produced and sold very well in its time, so there is ample supply available.

Here are some example asking prices for used GTX 470 cards in good condition on eBay:

  • Zotac GTX 470 – $39.99
  • MSI N470GTX Twin Frozr – $59.99
  • EVGA GTX 470 Superclocked – $69.99
  • Asus GTX 470 – $89.99

Considering its limitations today, even $60 may be too much to pay for a GTX 470 outside of a retro build. But given you can find tested models under $50, it can be a fun bargain for playing old games if you set expectations accordingly. The GTX 470 is a common listing on tech forums like /r/hardwareswap too.

Just be sure to carefully inspect pictures and ask sellers about artifacting, overheating or other issues. As an older GPU, wear and improper use over the years can diminish its usefulness. But from a trusted seller, a clean GTX 470 still has retro gaming value at the right price.

Closing Thoughts – Still Capable for Nostalgia But Nothing Else

I hope this comprehensive overview has provided deeper insight into the current capabilities and limitations of the venerable Nvidia GTX 470 graphics card in 2023. While far from its original glory, this GPU can still deliver a solid retro gaming experience for titles from 2005-2010. Playing these classics how they were originally meant to be seen using period-accurate hardware is where the GTX 470 redeems itself as a dedicated retro card.

But make no mistake – outside this niche use case, the GTX 470 is simply antiquated by today‘s standards. Even budget contemporary GPUs like the GTX 1650 Super outpace it by 400% or more overall. So don‘t expect the GTX 470 to handle modern triple-A games, 3D rendering, 4K video editing or even general desktop use well. It just can‘t keep up anymore.

Still, picking up a used GTX 470 for under $50 can make an fun project for putting together a retro PC. Just be sure to manage expectations – this is decidedly a blast from the past, not a player in the present. With the right mindset, the GTX 470 can still be appreciated today as a capable and nostalgic relic from an earlier era of PC gaming.