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4870 vs 260, which is best overall if they were the same price?

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Last response: in Graphics Cards
a b U Graphics card
July 9, 2008 7:55:53 PM

As I'm looking through newegg for prospective graphics cards I noticed that the cheapest 4870 is $305 and the rest are $310. It's a very small spread. On the other hand the 260 has some selling for $330 and others for $400.

Lets say at one point in the near future the lowest prices for the two cards are equal (maybe around $300). Which card would be best?

THG shows the 4870 beating the 260 on certain games and vice versa. The benchmarks over the web are all showing one card beating the other, though it's completely game dependant. For instance in Bioshock, the 4870 is the winner while in Mass Effect the 260 wins, especially when there's AA and AF involved.

Also nowhere I've seen benchmarks comparing temperatures and noise levels with fixed fan drivers/fan controller 4870; with cards as close to each other in performance I'd consider that really important.

More about : 4870 260 price

a b U Graphics card
July 9, 2008 7:59:41 PM

I'd take the 4870, as I vastly prefer the Intel chipsets, and you can CF on Intel, but you need an Nvidia chipset for SLI.
July 9, 2008 8:04:06 PM

They are both good cards. If they were both the same price, it would be a tough decision. I was looking at other reviews, and with Dual Core's it seems that the HD 4870 doesn't perform quite as well in comparison to the GTX 260 as Tom's Quad setup did. I would buy the the HD 4870 for 55NM and GDDR5 though. Expect the 1GB model to rock.

Also, expect the HD 4870 to come down in price more if you choose to CF it, the GTX 260 chips are very expensive to create, and likely will not come down in price much anytime soon. Even the 8800GTX was still selling for $350 at the egg before they stopped selling it, the GTS 640's were also around $200, much more then they should have been for their performance. The G80 chips weren't as cheap to make as the G92 core.
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July 9, 2008 8:05:59 PM

well according to toms, it would have to be the 4870 because it is roughly 6% faster in all the tests they ran
so if the gtx 260 was ~$18-$20 less[as of today's prices], than it would be a tough decision
and it doesn't make it any easier that the 4800's are gonna get support for ageia physx... so i would take the ati 4870
July 9, 2008 8:07:02 PM

July 9, 2008 8:10:31 PM

4870 DX10.1
a b U Graphics card
July 9, 2008 8:15:04 PM

Like for instance, here's a contradiction to "4870 wins at performance"

I dunno if they just have a rouge test or what.

That's a really good point about crossfire and intel chipsets.
a b U Graphics card
July 9, 2008 8:17:07 PM

By contrast also here's a chart of the 260 getting owned by the 4870 in pretty much everything including AA AF

Also, perhaps it's just a driver issue that in Mass Effect AA AF performance is poor. I hear the new beta version of catlyst fixes that.
July 9, 2008 8:33:33 PM

At same price i would take GTX260, more memory near 1 GB, more transistors, and maybe at actually benchmarks it win but i think those GTX200 chips have good potencial.
a c 514 U Graphics card
July 9, 2008 8:35:52 PM

At a similar price point, take your pick.
If you have a short case, go with the 4870; the gtx260 is longer, at 10.5".
If you already have nvidia or ati, stick with the same vendor. It can be a pain to clean out the other guy's drivers.
July 9, 2008 8:47:48 PM

4870 all the way.... once beta drivers are done with and real ones come out, expect a decent boost.
July 9, 2008 9:02:03 PM

GTX 260, ignore the ATI fanboy resurgence.
July 9, 2008 9:06:13 PM

Personally I would go for the 4870, but from what people are saying flip a coin as you could not go wrong with either one.
July 9, 2008 9:23:54 PM

HD 4870, Mass Effect performance is likely a driver issue, and as with every ATI card, they seem to steadily get better each driver release.

As said before, you can run Crossfire on Intel chipsets, which is a nice feature as the current Intel chipsets are great, even P45 for mid-range, when compared with nVidia's offerings.
July 9, 2008 11:16:57 PM

Like for instance, here's a contradiction to "4870 wins at performance"

I dunno if they just have a rouge test or what.

That's a really good point about crossfire and intel chipsets.

I happily own gtx260 SLI and I would take the following into consideration when referring to that article, if you will.

The article is indeed accurate and realistic, however you have to understand that AMD can still gain a decent performance mark by improving drivers. The scaling of the 4870 CF is not very good at all at this point; i'd actually go so far to say that the biggest downside of the 4870 is the CF performance. The card just doesn't scale that well except in a select few games.

What the 4870 does have going for it, is that it is a very solid single gpu; it performs within 10-13% of the gtx280 for a fraction of the cost. Likewise, a 4870 will marginally outperform a single gtx260 for similar prices now that Nvidia has dropped their gpu prices.

But where the results get very skewed is in the Crossfire performance. The gtx260 SLI will generally trade blows or beat the AMD 4870CF; I really think 4870CF is very underpowered as a dual gpu setup comparing it to its single gpu performance.

If you want a great scaling dual GPU AMD setup at a good price point my solid recommendation is AMD 4850 Crossfire, the scaling is much better in these cards than the 4870CF - and at a much cheaper price point.

If you are willing to WAIT for AMD's 4870x2 dual GPU card though, you will be very well off as it has some technology which should allow it to beat out 4870 Crossfire by all rights. I would strongly recommend waiting for the 4870x2 to be launched and for the jury to be out on it before you buy any video array - as the 4870x2 could be a true monster.
July 10, 2008 3:03:35 AM

themyrmidon said:
GTX 260, ignore the ATI fanboy resurgence.

Realize, sir, that you are a fanboy yourself. Take a gander at TH's 4870 and 4850 benchmarks :) .
a b U Graphics card
July 10, 2008 4:28:44 AM

themyrmidon said:
GTX 260, ignore the ATI fanboy resurgence.

If both are pretty much equal, stating a mild preference for one does not make anyone a fanboy, especially if it is for some other reason (like the chipset). That being said, they actually are not quite equal - tests show the 4870 pulling slightly ahead in most tests. Are they pretty close? Yes, but they are not equal.
July 10, 2008 8:12:21 AM

The 4870 already seems to show holding enough of an edge that one can say with confidence that it's superior to the GTX 260, by a small margin... Remember, people are comparing it to how narrow a margin it falls behind the vastly more expensive GTX 280.

Tom's Hardware, often accused of being biased in favor of nVidia, made themselves clear when hey named their review article: Radeon HD 4870: Better Than GTX 260! Note that they even threw in an exclamation point as well.

Likewise, in comes the matter of drivers as well; the GT200, in all honesty, has been shown to be, once you boil it down, just a G92 with a bunch of copy-pasting to make it bigger. RV770, on the other hand, has had a lot of its units heavily overhauled since RV670, particularly in regards toward AA/AF performance. Additionally, one must remember that AMD's smaller stream processors are more dependent upon driver tweaks in order to achieve the best load distribution, and hence, peak performance; nVidia's stream processors are generally more flexible and hence drivers won't affect their performance much.
July 10, 2008 8:17:57 AM

HD4870, ignore the Nvidia fanboy butthurt.
a b U Graphics card
July 10, 2008 8:49:55 AM

4870. Its shown as the better card in review after review. Dont let the "great" pricing of the G260 fool you. The price came down because the 4870 outdoes it. And I think theyre still charging too much for it
July 10, 2008 10:05:53 AM

4870 +1

4870 can be overclocked massively.

<-- Not ATI fanboy