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1GB HD 3870 vs 512MB HD 4870 vs 2GB HD 4870

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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October 8, 2008 3:40:28 PM

Here's the situation...my new desktop got shipped back to the factory due to mega problems. Tech support called and said they need to downgrade my computer in one aspect but will upgrade my video cards to compensate for the downgrade. The problem is i'm not sure if the supposed upgrade is actually an upgrade. Here is a list of the video cards in question.

These are my orginial cards.....

DUAL 1GB ATI Radeon HD 3870 X2-Quad GPU Technology

These are the cards they say are an upgrade....

DUAL 512MB GDDR5 ATI Radeon HD 4870 with Crossfire Technology

These are the cards i think would be an actual upgrade...

DUAL 2GB GDDR5 ATI Radeon HD 4870 X2 with Crossfire and Quad GPU Technology

I'm not that tech savvy, but need to know the facts before making a decision on what to do. Any feedback is appreciated and thanks. :) 
a c 143 U Graphics card
October 8, 2008 3:52:22 PM

The HD 4870 is better than the HD 3870X2, no worries.
=on&prod[2119]=on]http://www.tomshardware.com/charts/gaming-graphics-charts-q3-2008/compare,742.html?prod[2114]=on&prod[2119]=on

The HD 4870X2 is even better, but I suspect they'll want you to pay an extra $200 or so to upgrade to that one.

Edit: the URL thing above didn't work, probably because the URL contains square brackets. Paste the part between [ url ] and [ /url ] into a browser to see the comparison list.
January 3, 2009 7:56:59 PM

i have a 3870 512mb
will the 4850 1gb crossfire with the 3870?
Related resources
a c 143 U Graphics card
January 3, 2009 8:07:28 PM

I don't think so. Let me try to find that compatibility list...
a c 143 U Graphics card
January 3, 2009 8:11:59 PM

BTW, even if works, it would waste half of that 1GB on the HD 4850 :( 
a c 143 U Graphics card
January 3, 2009 8:17:52 PM

Found the list:
http://game.amd.com/us-en/content/images/crossfirex/CF_combo_chart_Nov08.jpg

Sorry, bad news. You can only combine the HD 3870 with a HD 3870 X2 or another HD 3870.

Actually, there's an older chart here too:
http://ati.amd.com/technology/crossfire/charts.html
and this one says you can also combine HD 3870 with HD 3850, but it's not recommended. I've seen benchmarks for that and it makes no sense, you'd end up with the same speed as two HD 3850 cards.

January 3, 2009 9:16:15 PM

aw man...
well idk
i done orderd it! lol
i guess ill use the 4850 and just use the 3870 in my other pc
a c 143 U Graphics card
January 3, 2009 10:04:28 PM

Don't be sorry, you'll see a nice improvement.

If you have two PCs find somebody to play on the other PC. Some games are way more fun in multiplayer mode.
January 3, 2009 10:06:10 PM

lol yea i know...im still gonna try CFing it an just see if it works lol
but umm yea u got msn u can add me at atix1800xl@hotmail.com
a b U Graphics card
January 4, 2009 12:01:42 AM

It definitely won't work - don't even bother trying. They're a completely different architecture.
January 4, 2009 12:41:50 AM

A dual-GPU setup is going to always work better than a quad-GPU setup; a single 4870 is superior to a single 3870X2, and a pair of 4870s would be far better than a pair of 3870X2s. Note that the memory given for the 3870X2s is the total between the two GPUs, and only the memory-per-GPU matters, so no, it would not be a memory downgrade, since you'd be staying at 512MB per GPU.
January 4, 2009 9:44:37 AM

Better have HD4870X2 than two HD4870 in CrossFire... 2 HD4870 consumes lot power than HD4870X2
January 4, 2009 10:48:37 AM

I see.. in idle state its low and at load it consumes more........ why waste a PCIe slot... later u could get another HD4870X2 in that...





a c 143 U Graphics card
January 5, 2009 2:32:40 AM

I'd prefer a HD 4870 X2 to two HD 4870 1GB too. That's a good idea especially if you're going with a P45 motherboard. However, at current Newegg prices ($530 vs 2*$220) the two-card version is better bang for the buck.

I wouldn't worry about the power consumption differences.
Based on the charts you've found, the power consumption with two HD 4870 1GB cards should be 273.1 + (204.1-203.7)*2= about 274W. That's 274-249=25W more than the same system with a HD 4870 X2. Under load, the difference is about 30W.

25W or 30W is not really worth worrying about IMO even if we're talking about 24/7 operation, it means around 250 KWh/year which is about $40 where I live. Since nobody sane keeps a gaming machine open permanently, I'd say in real life we're talking about $20/year or less.
a b U Graphics card
January 5, 2009 3:06:39 AM

well im just pointing that we should be at least a little more accurate when pointing important figures out, like power consumption.
a c 143 U Graphics card
January 5, 2009 3:19:57 AM

And thank you very much for pointing it out. +1 to that :) 
January 5, 2009 4:45:55 AM

well thanks for the help anyways
i wasnt sure what would work so yea lol
the rest of my pc is
Intel Duo Core 2 3.0ghz
DDR3 1333MHZ RAM
ofcourse u know my card...
and a gaming intel board (forgot what kind)
but..yea thanks again
January 5, 2009 6:07:11 AM

i would say that 2 4870s in crossfire are better, but you payed for a system with high end cards which at the time was 2 3870x2, and i would say that today's equivalent is 2 4870x2, they are going by speed and that does make 2 4870s faster, but i would want to go by cash payed at time of purchase, whether they would be willing to except this is a different matter, you can but try
January 6, 2009 4:10:48 PM

two 4870's Cf are more faster then one 4870x2
and a little cheaper..
BUT..the 4870x2 can handle JUST A LITTLE more then two 4870's
i should get my card in today (the 4850 1gb)
a b U Graphics card
January 6, 2009 5:09:20 PM

given the choice i'd still get a 4870x2. i slot to rule them all.
January 6, 2009 5:11:50 PM

lol just imagine 4 4870xs' CF with a phenom 2 quad core with 28gb of ram..
a c 143 U Graphics card
January 6, 2009 5:40:28 PM

Nah, you'd be disappointed.

For one thing, two HD 4870 X2 cards will give you nowhere near twice as many fps as one HD 4870 X2. Maybe later, if games start paying serious attention to scalability beyond 2 GPUs.

For another, the difference between 4 GB and 8 GB of RAM is minimal in games. I'm guessing 28 GB would be just like 8 GB.
http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/2008/07/08/is-more-memory-better/5

January 6, 2009 5:42:34 PM

o ok lol well idk THAT much about copmuters but i know a good bit..
is there a thing on here to like..put your computers specs and all that and show em off? or maybe just so other people will comment on them?
January 6, 2009 8:56:04 PM

well the 4850 is a peice of ****
my 3870 is faster im selling the 4850
a c 143 U Graphics card
January 7, 2009 1:12:39 AM

You mean your HD 3870 X2, right? The HD 4850 is not a piece of ****. At today's price of about $150 it's way better bang for the buck than your HD 3870 X2 was when you bought it. It's a little better than my 8800GTX that cost $651 when I got it.

If your MB supports Crossfire and your case has decent cooling and your PSU is 550W or bigger, consider keeping the HD 4850, buying another one, and selling the 3870 X2. The HD 4850 Crossfire combo is pretty awesome.

January 7, 2009 1:18:12 AM

psst then why is the 3870 512mb faster then the 4850 1gb ?
January 7, 2009 1:46:42 AM

on gmod10
with the 3870
i can spawn sooooooo many things...like
over 160 NPS
around 200 barrels and all...
it got around 50-60fps
the 4850
on gomod 10...
with 70barrels it gows down to 20fps
a b U Graphics card
January 7, 2009 1:55:15 AM

Something's odd then, because in basically every way, the 4850 should be faster than the 3870, and nearly the match of the 3870x2 in many cases.
a c 143 U Graphics card
January 7, 2009 2:03:03 AM

Yeah, really weird. Maybe something's wrong with the drivers?
January 7, 2009 2:41:21 AM

yeah i know...i just put it in and im gonna mess around and see if i can get it working right
a b U Graphics card
January 7, 2009 3:50:07 AM

Which drivers are you using?
January 7, 2009 3:51:03 AM

the newest ones ati has.......it wont even boot up anymore..its a peice of crap dude
!