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Poor 4870 performance

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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May 15, 2009 4:02:37 AM

I have been running 2 Sapphire 4870 1GB cards since February and have so far been disappointed. It benchmarks real well in 3D Mark Vantage but thats about it.

I have been playing Lord of the Rings Online with the graphics set to Ultra High and AA set to 8x. I can get upto 120FPS but will dip down to 15 -20 sometimes creating some awful jerking. I have tried this with only one card in the system and also in a crossfire setup. I even tried putting one of my 4870s in my cousins computer to see if it was my setup and I had the same results. My cousin was running a 9800GTX that would get up to 90FPS but rarely dropped below 60FPS in the exact same area. Now he has a GTX 270 and rarely drops below 90FPS in any area.

Crysis has been running horrible on her too, on medium settings I will get 25 - 30fps but its real jerky and some lighting effects look broken.

I have read alot about the 4870 and mostly I feel like mine should be running much better then they are.

Any tips that I could try to make this run better would be great.


My System
Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit was running Vista Ultimate 64bit both have same performance in my scenarios.
Antec 900 Case
Q6600 2.4GHZ have also tried 3Ghz and is mainly the same performance.
GA-EP45-UD3P
2X2GB G.Skill PC2-8500
2X Sapphire 4870 1GB
640GB WD Cavier Black
OCZ StealthXStream OCZ600SXS 600W
ATI Catalyst 9.4

More about : poor 4870 performance

May 15, 2009 6:45:56 AM

big help would be to have a good overclock for your cpu. 3ghz is good. 3.5 is better if you can get it. are you ocing your 4870. i have a 4870x2 its dodgy as well but still has good fps. (when i over clock.
also whats your gpu driver?? i am running ati 9.3 drivers at the moment as they work the best with me. wait till tomorow and 9.5 will be out. might fix some problems. also, 8x AA??? thats a little too crazy. try 2x and if you must 4x. 4x and 8x have no real difference between them.

opps just noticed you said 9.4...
May 15, 2009 12:39:21 PM

Yeah, leave your CPU at At least 3GHz. By the way I have 1 hd4870 1gb Vipor-X runing in Crossfire with HIS hd4870 1GB and I am running all games at 8xAA and 16xAniso, except Crysis on which I have AA turned off.

Games I play Left4Dead, Fallout 3, Far Cry 2 (this one is running at 4xAA), Grid, Burnout, COD 4

my specs:

Phenom II x4 940 BE @ 3.515GHz
Windows Vista 64bit Business
RAM: G.Skill 4GB 2x2 @ 1066
HD 1 320GB and 1 640 GB WD 16MB Cache SATA

Edit: Also I game at 1080p : 1920x1080 resolution
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May 15, 2009 1:42:02 PM

Here is the thing my cousin has the exact same processor he is running on an ASRock P43 chipset board and he only has PC2-6400. As I stated before, I placed one of my cards in his rig and it had the same massive dips in fps where his did not.

I did not spend $500 on 2 cards to start cranking stuff down, especially when I have seen it run better with just one 9800GTX. So are you telling me ATI cards need more bandwith then a 9800GTX?

In LOTRO 1x and 8x only make about a 2 - 5 fps difference in my performance. I usually run my cpu at 3Ghz by changing my fsb to 1066 anything past that and it seems to get unstable. It will run at 3ghz for a few weeks and sometimes it will default back to 2.4 after a reboot.

I game at 1680X1050, I have noticed in GPU-Z that my cards do not go over 50% in crossfire and if I physically remove one of the cards I can get it to get up to 62% usage. Is that pretty normal?
May 15, 2009 2:09:45 PM

If your system is unstable dont overclock your CPU.
Your cards should perform fine the way they are.

I am not sure why you are not getting any game performance increase.
You have a good setup....
Dont know try maybe Windows Vista 64 bit instead of Windows 7...
Windows 7 ATI drivers are still very new, and might be experiencing some issues...

I am using CAT 9.4 drivers for Vista 64bit and dont have issues with my cards. They run great in Crossfire.

BTW, I will install Cat 9.5 today when ATI updates it's drivers site and see if there are any performance differences.

May 15, 2009 2:25:03 PM

I was using Vista 64 I upgraded to Windows 7 about a week ago, I have ran the 9.4 drivers for about 3 weeks before I upgraded to Windows 7.

It seems like alot of the games I play just dont seem to play nice with ATI. I played Warhammer Online for a little while but they did something to there game that made me go from 60FPS on high settings to 20 -25FPS on the lowest settings.

I had an 8800GT before I bought the 4870s and I see only a fraction of improvement on Crysis, FarCry looks pretty good too but like any other game I can get High FPS but the sudden dips in frames just makes it feel jerky.

I will be anxious to try the 9.5 drivers today.
May 15, 2009 3:06:24 PM

yeap its a windows 7 driver bug. They are just vista64 drivers a lil moded.
Got win update notificatio that new driver released TODAY for download but nothing happened. 9.5 should release soon. I got some very annoying Win7 bugs with the 9.4 drivers under win 7 including some bad performance. Hope ati dosnt screw it up with the 9.5 for win7 .
May 15, 2009 8:07:01 PM

I have hooked it up to my 42" lcd tv running 1920X1080 through HDCP and the fps is the same as when I run 1680X1050
May 15, 2009 8:31:23 PM

So that is good news. You should not see that big of a hit at higher resolution since you are running crossfire
May 15, 2009 9:46:19 PM

I have been reading some guides and I am going to try to achieve 3.2Ghz or 3.4Ghz depending on temps and stability tongiht. When I am playing the game G15 LCD shows cpu usage at about 20 - 25% with Core 0 and 1 at about 50% each and the Core 3 and 4 rarely ever get used. Call of Duty WaW seems to spread the load across all 4 though.
May 15, 2009 10:23:17 PM

In the Catalyst Control Center, do you have Catalyst AI turned on? If not, you'll not notice any performance difference from CrossfireX.

Also, look in device manager and see what it says about what driver version you are running. Although I DL'ed the proper driver package for Win7 64-bit, it installed old drivers from several months ago. I installed the correct driver manually through device manager and my performance on my 4830 jumped significantly.
May 15, 2009 10:26:16 PM

I beleive I have CCC is set to default.
May 15, 2009 10:43:37 PM

What are you 3DMark Vantage scores? I seem to be having the same issues... I was running Windows 7 x64, but switched back to Vista Ult. x64 today, and my scores went up very little... That's probably just because it's a clean install with absolutely no other processes running... I just went into CCC and set AI to advanced and am fixing to run 3DMark again... I'll post back in a few...

Abit AB9 QuadGT mobo
(2) 2GB Crucial Ballistix Tracer PC6400
(2) 2GB Samsung PC6400
Intel E8500 Wolfsdale @ stock 3GHz
Thermaltake 850W PSU
(2) Radeon HD4870 cards


What would good scores be in 3DMark Vantage? I'm not really even sure what to compare them to...
May 15, 2009 11:04:43 PM

Everything went up about 50 points with AI set to advanced -
I'm at:

P10261
GPU - 13072
CPU - 6237


May 16, 2009 12:41:16 AM

I put my CPU back to 3Ghz which is what I run it at 98% of the time and ran 3DMark and this is my score:

P12839
GPU - 13821
CPU - 10582
May 16, 2009 3:31:07 AM

Wow... you really owned me on CPU... I didn't realize there was that big of a difference between the two processors... guess I'll have to start on the OC process now... but we did just about match up on the cards, so now I know mines doing what it should... thanks for posting that...
May 16, 2009 4:57:57 AM

I still dip real bad in games on the frames so I hope the new driver fixes it, whenever that comes out.
May 16, 2009 1:58:16 PM

Have you ever tried your friend's graphics card in your computer? And a full reinstall often helps things (especially if your drivers are a mess). Also, that jerking at certain times sounds more like hard drive reading to me. Maybe reinstall the game (and Windows, if you can) and give it a good defrag.
May 16, 2009 2:53:17 PM

Even with the CPU at 2.4 GHz, he should really have no problems running the games he is running.

This is definitely a driver issue or software issue, and not a cpu-bottleneck issue.

btw, your PSU might not be enough if you're trying to run 2x4870s on a 600watt
May 17, 2009 2:31:50 AM

I have an APC battery backup and when under load I rarely exceed 350Watts and thats including my 22" monitor.

From everything I have read just one of my cards should perform much better then a 9800GTX. My cousin has a very similar machine and even running his at 2.4 GHZ with PC2-6400 Ram he still out performs me. We both have all the settings the exact same. Even when I placed one of my cards in his computer it did the exact smae thing it does on mine. It will get upto 90-120 FPS but when you go to turn it will kind of jerk and drop to like 20FPS briefly and then go back up to 90-120. His car would only get upto 90 but rarely dipped below 60.
May 17, 2009 2:33:37 AM

I am trying to convince him to let me borrow his 9800GTX so I can try it on my system. He has a GTX275 now that pushes upwards around 160 and will dip down to 90 in intense areas with everything maxed and 8Xaa 16AF.
May 19, 2009 12:45:08 AM

Well I downloaded Catalyst 9.5 and my average FPS dropped by 20.
June 3, 2009 4:40:50 PM

dpickard: Heh, so that's not good is it?

I just bought a single Radeon 4870 512Mb and I have experienced some troubles. Before I explain any, I would like to know: Would I get a performance increase by upgrading to Vista? I currently use XP professional 32bit, so naturally can't use Direct X 10.

I mainly play L4D, for which this card should be plenty capable of running I think. I prefer to play in windowed mode as I do a lot of design and otherwise just find fast window switching very convenient - however, the game runs at 30 FPS in windowed mode (1680x1050), with maximum settings.

Full screen I get >60 FPS, which is much better, though I still wonder if it is as good as it should be.

Thank you so much with any help you can offer - I have been Google hunting for some information about Radeon 4870s, and this thread caught my eye.


My specs:

Windows XP 32bit professional
4 Gbs DDR3 RAM (2 x 2Gb)
MSI P965 mobo
520W power
XFX Radeon HD 4870 512Mb DDR5 - Using latest ATI Catalyst drivers (9.5)
Two DVI monitors, one 1680x1050, the other 1280x1024


Another thing is that I get some videos in my chat program going blank on the 2nd monitor, if I have a tool-tip pop-up in the same horizontal space. I'm not so fussed about this problem, though.
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