Tom's Holiday Buyer's Guide 2008, Part 4

Diamond Radeon HD 4870 X2 Overclocked Edition
By: Chris Angelini

You likely already know AMD’s Radeon HD 4870 X2 as the fastest single card available on the market. It boasts two RV770 graphics processors, each attached to 1 GB of GDDR5 memory, totaling 2 GB onboard. It’s a monster of a combination with massive performance matched only by the card’s dimensions. Its form factor takes up two slots worth of expansion and is nearly 11” long, so you’ll need a large-enough case. Oh, and there’s also the card’s power requirements. AMD recommends at least a 550 W PSU with one 6- and one 8-pin auxiliary power connector.

This is high-end hardware, though. You’ll forget all about what the card looks like or cost once you’re playing Crysis: Warhead on that 30” Dell 3008WFP from the first edition of our Buyer’s Guide at 2560x1600. And so, we’d be remiss in passing the Radeon HD 4870 X2 by for our Holiday Buyer’s Guide—doubly so since Diamond’s take on the card is actually a souped-up version of AMD’s own reference specifications. Cutting right to the chase, a standard Radeon HD 4870 X2 sports two RV770s running at 750 MHz and 2 GB of GDDR5 memory chugging along at an equivalent 3.6 GHz data rate (900 MHz*4). Diamond ups the core clocks to 790 MHz and the memory clocks to 3.9 GHz effective (975 MHz*4) with its XOC edition board.

Granted, the subsequent boost in performance is going to be small (it’s well within the bounds of Catalyst Control Center’s Overdrive function, available on competing X2s) and you’ll certainly need a fast system in order to enjoy it. But the best part of the story is that the card can be found right around the MSRP of a vanilla 4870 X2. We’re seeing the board at about $569, plus up to $60 worth of rebates. So, at the end of the day, a factory-overclocked X2 will set you back just over $500. Moreover, if you can resist the urge to apply even more aggressive clocks, Diamond’s Radeon HD 4870 X2 also sports a year’s worth of warranty protection. In sum: fastest card on the market made faster by Diamond, a price tag that is competitive with or beats other X2s, and warranty coverage, should something go wrong with your supercharged board.

Diamond sticks to bundle basics in an effort to help keep its already high-end price as low as possible. There’s an S-video cable, a component output, a DVI-to-VGA adapter, a DVI-to-HDMI adapter, and the CrossFire bridge connector you could use to attach a second Radeon HD 4870 X2 for four-way CrossFireX.