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2x 4870 crossfire or 4870x2

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July 16, 2008 1:21:57 PM

guys, i am building a system and have a few options

1; buy 2 4870's and run them in crossfire

2; hold off on the system for 3 or 4 weeks and get a 4870x2

3; buy a single 4870 to run for a month, sell it off whilst it still has similar value and purchase the 4870x2,
this option i can buy my system, set it up, and do a straight swap.

i need honest opinions guys, which would u chose? does anyone know the exact date of the 4870x2?

More about : 4870 crossfire 4870x2

July 16, 2008 2:00:25 PM

I would say get the 4870 CF. If the pricing is anything like the 3800 series then 4870 CF should be considerably cheaper then then the 4870X2.

If that difference in price is not a concern, then I would get a 4870X2 and look to add a second down the road.
July 16, 2008 2:00:36 PM

I am in the same situation as yourself. personally, I plan on waiting until September. Ati is expected to cut prices again soon since Nvidia is playing ball and cutting it's prices faster then expected. With Nvidia dropping the price of the GTX280 to 500 and below and the GTX260 to 300ish, expect that the 4870x2 will be around 500(hopefully lower) and they should drop the 4870 below 295$.

In most benchies I have seen so far, the x2 is beating the CF 4870's and if a single x2 is cheaper then 2 4870's and performs better, I'll most likely go with that and possibly add a single 4870 down the road when they are super cheap for tri Xfire.

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July 16, 2008 2:04:32 PM

@ Lavacon: ATI is cutting prices again!? Do you have any links confirming this?
July 16, 2008 2:06:28 PM

4870x2 are great for people with SLI boards that don't want to upgrade everything.
July 16, 2008 2:12:06 PM

hmm money isn't an issue at the moment, im thinking maybe i will go the 2 x 4870's, im sure if at some stage i decide to swap cards i will get a decent amount of money back for them and i wont have to pay a whole heap for the x2. its a pain in the ass the 4870x2 is not out
July 16, 2008 2:14:25 PM

I'd say option 4: get a 4870 now and then buy a 4870X2 later and TriCF them together.
July 16, 2008 2:15:43 PM

There haven't been any official benchmarks (at least that I have seen) on the 4870X2, so I am basing this off of the 3800 series. The difference in performance of 3870 CF and 3870X2 was negligible, and I am assuming a similar scenario for the 4800 series.

If you do go CF, make sure you have an X38 or X48 motherboard. Also you will need one beast of a power supply for those cards.
July 16, 2008 2:19:25 PM

I say wait for 4870x2. Here's why.

1 - Prices will surely drop on just about everything once it's here.
2 - It's one PCI-E slot being used and if you have a 2nd, it'll be free for another x2 or a single 4870 if you want.
3 - In most benchmarks we've seen so far it meets or beats 4870 CF, and that was just an engineering sample on beta drivers. So basically, the x2 can only improve.
4 - I believe the projected price of the 4870x2 was $550 or close to that. Right now two 4870s would run you $600 - $620. You'd save about $50, maybe more if DAAMIT decides to release the x2 for less.
5 - Once the x2 hits shelves we'll get a 2nd round of benchmarking and get an even better idea of what it can do and how well it scales in CF with other things. More info = more power to you.



njalterio said:
There haven't been any official benchmarks (at least that I have seen) on the 4870X2, so I am basing this off of the 3800 series. The difference in performance of 3870 CF and 3870X2 was negligible, and I am assuming a similar scenario for the 4800 series.

If you do go CF, make sure you have an X38 or X48 motherboard. Also you will need one beast of a power supply for those cards.


Where've you been? Anandtech, HardOCP, Driverheaven and a few others did 4870x2 previews that were released on Monday.
a c 143 U Graphics card
July 16, 2008 2:22:58 PM

jonyb222 said:
I'd say option 4: get a 4870 now and then buy a 4870X2 later and TriCF them together.


This one sounds great. I'm just not sure if the drivers will be good enough for it as soon as the 4870X2 is out.
You'd also need a serious PSU.

July 16, 2008 2:24:19 PM

im looking at the gigabyte GAx48 DQ6 aswell as a zalman 850w no noise psu.
if i decided to get the two 4870's and i decide to swap one for a 4870x2, should the swap be fairly easy? will this motherboard be suitable for a standard 4870 and a x2?
a c 143 U Graphics card
July 16, 2008 2:24:57 PM

njalterio said:
I would say get the 4870 CF. If the pricing is anything like the 3800 series then 4870 CF should be considerably cheaper then then the 4870X2.

If that difference in price is not a concern, then I would get a 4870X2 and look to add a second down the road.


And get a 1000W PSU...
July 16, 2008 2:27:55 PM

X48 boards have shown the best Xfire scaling so far, followed by P45, then X38 boards. And I don't know much specifically about the DQ6, but it's Gigabyte, so it sounds pretty good.
July 16, 2008 2:31:56 PM

do u guys know anything about this psu, i have struggled to find information about it, particularly on this site. are zalman a reputable brand? hmm im leaning towards option 4, its not like there are any games out right now a single 4870 wont run, and it isnt a long wait before i can get my hands on a 4870x2 also
July 16, 2008 2:44:10 PM

thanks aevm, im in aus so newegg isnt really an option, but il look into the antec. what about cooling, if i end up running the tricf system, it could run pretty hot, should i run a few extra case fans and such?
a c 143 U Graphics card
July 16, 2008 2:46:31 PM

lawrie34 said:
im looking at the gigabyte GAx48 DQ6 aswell as a zalman 850w no noise psu.
if i decided to get the two 4870's and i decide to swap one for a 4870x2, should the swap be fairly easy? will this motherboard be suitable for a standard 4870 and a x2?


The GA-X48-DS4 is $60 less than the GA-X48-DQ6. The only interesting differences are 8 SATA ports in the DQ6 instead of 6 in the DS4, and a few more cables with the DQ6.

To swap a 4870 for a 4870x2 - 5 minutes work. But, you'd pay $300 for the second HD 4870 now, and two months from now a new one will cost $250 or $270 at newegg. You'd be lucky to get $200 for your used HD 4870 at that time.

a c 143 U Graphics card
July 16, 2008 2:49:19 PM

lawrie34 said:
thanks aevm, im in aus so newegg isnt really an option, but il look into the antec. what about cooling, if i end up running the tricf system, it could run pretty hot, should i run a few extra case fans and such?



Never mind then. I'd prefer the Antec to the Zalman at those prices, but that's a Newegg sale. Normally the Antec costs more. Prices in Australia might be different. Do you have a URL where you're shopping?

Yeah, you want very good cooling with that setup. Something like RC-690 or NZXT Tempest or some full-tower with at least 3 fans.
July 16, 2008 2:52:24 PM

so really the best option is to buy a single 4870 and just wait for the x2 to triCF? so the ds4 is running a pretty similar product with a few less features? im only going to be running one optical drive and probably one sata hdd so maybe that is a good option.
July 16, 2008 2:53:50 PM

njalterio said:
@ Lavacon: ATI is cutting prices again!? Do you have any links confirming this?


http://www.tomshardware.com/news/nvidia-geforce-gtx-amd...

There are many other web sites with articles talking about the price war. I am shooting for a september upgrade and there is no doubt in my mind that the prices will be below what they are now. This is ATI's game, they will respond to Nvidia price cuts. I'll bet my 8800GTS 640 on it :) 
July 16, 2008 2:57:46 PM

You'll want a 1000W PSU at least if you think you may be using two 4870x2's down the road, so keep that in mind. The Antect Quattro 1000W is the best deal up in Canada right now for around $190.

I'm not sure which OEM makes the Zalman PSUs.. For two 4870's, I'd get minimum the PC Power and Cooling 750W, Corsair 750W, or Antec's 850W.

I think the most important thing to know in order to give you the best answer is at what resolution do you plan on playing at??

At 1680x1050 (22" Widescreen), you'll probably be fine with two 4870's. Having two 4870x2's at that resolution will be overkill for a looong time, you'll probably be upgrading/building again before then :)  But then again... one 4870x2 now, and another during a Boxing Week sale isn't a bad idea by any means.... decisions, decisions!
July 16, 2008 2:58:17 PM

Don't buy anything yet. Wait for combo deals:) 
July 16, 2008 3:05:19 PM

I have two 4870's in CF. I plan to get two 4870X2 in CF when available. But as it stands now, my two 4870's even on Cat 8.7 Beta drivers run Crysis at HIGH (all) 4X AA @ 1920 x 1080 average 50 fps according to r_displayinfo = 1 -- normally 50 - 60 fps (Vsync on). Worse case I saw was a dip to 38 fps in a wide open area during a nasty fire fight. No stutters, no pauses, nothing. This is the 64bit Crysis client on Vista x64 DX10 4GB DDR3 RAM.

It appears these 4870's love DX10 and the 64bit beta drivers are solid. Can't wait to see what two 4870X2's can do in Crysis -- hmmm...VERY HIGH and AA to 8X ... heck, I haven't even started overclocking these cards yet.

After checking GURU3D fps numbers for a Tri SLI GTX 280 setup performance in Crysis -- I'm NOT impressed at all (about the same performance as my two 4870's) ... so what is nVidia up to other than dropping their GTX 200 series prices? Surely nVidia isn't gonna let their new flagship GPU be 2nd fiddle?

Must admit ATI's 4870X2 approach to scalability has probably left nVidia scrambling.

I'm hoping that nVidia come up with a card that is close enough on the performance front with the 4870X2 so that prices are kept in check in either camp.

July 16, 2008 3:08:39 PM

Quote:
I think the most important thing to know in order to give you the best answer is at what resolution do you plan on playing at??


I am currently running two dell 20" lcd's which i have had for a while, i mean i paid close to 800 aud for one and 600 for the other so they were pretty schmick at the time. I will most likely sell them off for what little i can get and run a single 24", so reasonably high.

to be honest i dont religiously upgrade, so if i buy a 4870 now and a x2 to run in tricf (when one comes out), i most likely wont splurge for the second x2 unless untill they become dirt cheap, and by that time they will most likely be well and truly superseded anyways. do you really think i will need to run more than a 750/850 w psu for these two cards?
July 16, 2008 3:17:34 PM

Well, from the previews of the x2 it looks like total system draw ends up between 400w and 500w. For 4870's, it seems to be 300w to 400w for total system, depending on the system specs obviously.

For a 4870x2 + 4870, a REALLY good 750w (PC Power & Cooling) may do the trick because it has a ridiculously good 12v rail, or the Antec 850w should also do it.

You just don't want the PSU to be constantly running at over 80% of its capacity while you're gaming - that's going to get really hot and shorten it's life and will become less efficient.
a b U Graphics card
July 16, 2008 3:22:01 PM

Preformance wise, two cards will almost always preform better than an equivalent x2 model. That being saiid, the 4870 x2 will probably be cheapter than 2x 4870's, so it's really a matter of preference.
July 16, 2008 3:25:25 PM

make sure you have room in your case aswell, the 4870x2 boards look really long, the original 4870 is relitivly short for a graphics board nowadays.
July 16, 2008 3:31:52 PM

will a 4870x2 and a standard 4870 be very compatible? will they run well together?
July 16, 2008 3:39:03 PM

People have been talking about CFing a 4870x2 and a 4870, first off currently you can only get 512MB versions of the 4870's so when you crossfire with the 2GB total 1GB effective 4870x2 board you will be loosing half your memory since CF will default to the lowest common memory between the two cards. That will probably not effect lower res gaming but will impact 1900+ res gaming with AA and such.

Performance wise I would think it would not scale as good as two matched performance cards.
July 16, 2008 3:44:19 PM

omicron_15...You have a good point there...........Im waiting for the same reason...............as I want a nice new 24 incher .........and the balls to run it properly.
July 16, 2008 3:56:27 PM

^^ good thinking, though a 1gig 4870 should work with a 4870x2 right?
July 16, 2008 5:51:44 PM

Lavacon said:
http://www.tomshardware.com/news/nvidia-geforce-gtx-amd...

There are many other web sites with articles talking about the price war. I am shooting for a september upgrade and there is no doubt in my mind that the prices will be below what they are now. This is ATI's game, they will respond to Nvidia price cuts. I'll bet my 8800GTS 640 on it :) 


Thanks for the link!
July 16, 2008 5:53:41 PM

mathiasschnell said:

Where've you been? Anandtech, HardOCP, Driverheaven and a few others did 4870x2 previews that were released on Monday.


I only have time to check Tom's regularly so unless it's here I probably don't know about it (computer wise).
Thank you for reminding me there are nerdier people than myself out there. :-)
July 16, 2008 6:23:02 PM

4870x2 is faster by 15% and cheaper by 30% than two 4870 CF mode
a c 143 U Graphics card
July 16, 2008 7:21:56 PM

I don't know about 15% faster. It's 10% faster in Age of Conan at 2560x1600, and about the same in Crysis at 1920x1200, according to Anandtech.
http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=3354&p=4
http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=3354&p=5

Anyway, impressive performance for a card that works even in a $100 MB. Even if it costs exactly as much as two HD 4870 and does the same fps, it's still better IMO because it doesn't need an expensive x48 MB.

Are you sure it will be 30% cheaper than two HD 4870? I haven't seen any pricing info yet.
July 16, 2008 9:18:16 PM

I'm trying to make the same decision right now as the OP. The difference is that I already have an x48 motherboard, and I'm not planning to go 4870x2 crossfire. (I don't need that kind of power for any game I'm playing right now, and also don't need to upgrade my 750watt psu.)

But, I still feel like I would be losing out if I didn't go with a cheaper option with the same performance. (So far, the projected prices for the 2gb 4870x2 is 549 - not 100% confirmed). Even though the 4870x2 doesn't seem to have any tangible benefits until 2560x1600, it might be easier to sell down the road.

Any thoughts?

Edit: Forgot to say I'm planning to run in 1920x1200 reso.
July 16, 2008 9:32:34 PM

okay, so i think im going to buy a 4850 to tied myself over until the x2 and some benchmarks are released, then i have the option of the 4870x2 and by that time the 4870 standard will have most likely dropped in price. i dont mind taking a loss on the purchase and sale of the 4850, because it will enable me to purchase the rest of my setup and get the system running tidy before the new card comes out.

so the system i am looking at is as follows;

1x xfx 4850 (replaced with a 4870x2 late august)
1x intel quad core Q9300 2.5ghz
1x zalman 850w low noise psu
4x 2gb 800mhz ddr2
1x gigabyte ga48x DQ6 motherboard
1x Samsung Sata 500 gig hdd

case is still a little unsure at the moment, i was just going to run a mid sized case, but after reading this thread it isn't really suitable if i wish to crossfire two high end cards at some stage. I will also be running vista home premium 64bit.

what do you guys think? i have had some feedback on the psu in this and another forum and the general consensus is that antec are the ****, im getting a decent deal on this one though...
July 16, 2008 10:51:43 PM

Just one sugestion be carefull about whitch memory you pick for your board as with 8GB boards are sometime realy picky, it took me test 3 brands and ended with corsair dominator. Other 2 was working fine only till 4GB.

And maybe go for better quality PSU, for example 625w enermax modu82+ and it should be enough for your configuration if you are not planning do CF with 2 4870x2.
July 16, 2008 11:24:04 PM

i might be planning to do the x2 crossfire a little later on, so i probably want the extra juice, il have a look at other brands though. did the ram simply not register or what?
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