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If you want to see the smartest dual-GPU cooler we've seen for ATI cards, look no further than Palit's take on the Radeon HD 4870 X2. One disadvantage we did pick up on right away is its extra-wide housing, which covers three expansion slots. The trade-off is that you get two 80 mm fans and a pair of heatsinks with all-copper heatpipes.
The justification for this design comes from the fairly-mediocre cooling on ATI's reference Radeon HD 4870 X2s. The standard fan configuration means that the RV770 graphics chips run hot, even in 2D mode, since ATI decided to let temperatures run higher rather than increase cooling noise levels. For many buyers, this didn't work out very well because insufficient cooling causes too much heat to accumulate, thereby heating up other components.
MSI took notice and built its own variant on the Radeon HD 4870 X2 with a modified fan layout. This changed the card's attributes from slow, quiet, and hot to fast, loud, and cool. While MSI did get temperatures under control, noise levels went through the roof due to constant and heavy fan noise.
The following test measurements are not directly comparable with our new test system or with our current benchmark suite. That's why we show them here in their own standalone table. All values are generated using overclocked retail cards from Palit and MSI, both employing the RV770 GPUs. Overclocking doesn't give either vendor much of an advantage. What MSI gains from boosting GPU clock rates, Palit gets by doing likewise for graphics memory.
The temperatures are nearly identical, but the noise levels are extremely different. In 2D mode, MSI uses high fan speeds with the reference fans to attain temperatures of 49 degrees Celsius. The Palit card climbs to 59 degrees Celsius, but with comfortable noise levels of 37.7 dB(A). Under a heavy 3D load, a three-slot housing with dual fans can really do its job, increasing noise levels to an audible (but not overwhelming) 43.8 dB(A), as temperatures climb only to 72 degrees Celsius. MSI's reference-cooled card can't keep pace. Although the fan spins even faster, it generates a noisy 60.4 dB(A) sound level, while temperatures hover around 79 degrees Celsius. Clearly, Palit's design shines most bright. The company's air-cooled design is solid, surpassed only by water cooling, we'd suspect.
|Manufacturer and Chipset||Graphics RAM||GPU Clock||Memory|
|Palit Revolution 700 Deluxe (Radeon HD 4870 X2)||2 x 1,024 MB GDDR5||750 MHz||4 x 950 MHz|
|MSI R4870X2 T2D2G (Radeon HD 4870 X2)||2 x 1,024 MB GDDR5||780 MHz||4 x 900 MHz|
|Temperature||2D Temp.||3D Temp.||Evaluation|
|Palit Revolution 700 Deluxe (Radeon HD 4870 X2)||59 degrees Celsius||72 degrees Celsius||3D better|
|MSI R4870X2 T2D2G (Radeon HD 4870 X2)||49 degrees Celsius||79 degrees Celsius||2D better|
|Noise levels||2D dB(A)||3D dB(A)||Evaluation|
|Palit Revolution 700 Deluxe (Radeon HD 4870 X2)||37.7 dB(A)||43.8 dB(A)||Cool and quiet|
|MSI R4870X2 T2D2G (Radeon HD 4870 X2)||51.2 dB(A)||60.4 dB(A)||Cool but loud|
The RV770 graphics chip supports DirectX 10.1 and the card includes two power connectors (both six- and eight-pin PCIe plugs are necessary). Performance on the Palit and MSI cards is similar, and each of them places first in some benchmarks and second in others, depending on the specific settings and resolution used. Overall, the Palit falls just slightly behind the MSI card, which pulls ahead thanks to its higher GPU clock rate versus the Palit's higher memory clock speed.
|Benchmarks and Test Cards||1920x1200, 0AA, 0AF||1920x1200, 4AA, 8AF||1920x1200, 8AA, 16AF|
|Fallout 3||Very High Quality||Very High Quality||Very High Quality|
|Palit Revolution 700 Deluxe (Radeon 4870 X2 2 x 1,024 MB)||65.3 FPS||65.0 FPS||64.5 FPS|
|MSI R4870X2 T2D2G (Radeon 4870 X2 2 x 1,024 MB)||65.6 FPS||64.8 FPS||64.6 FPS|
|Far Cry 2||Very High Quality||Very High Quality||Very High Quality|
|Palit Revolution 700 Deluxe (Radeon 4870 X2 2 x 1,024 MB)||52.6 FPS||52.3 FPS||46.0 FPS|
|MSI R4870X2 T2D2G (Radeon 4870 X2 2 x 1,024 MB)||53.1 FPS||52.6 FPS||47.3 FPS|
|Left 4 Dead||Very High Quality||Very High Quality||Very High Quality|
|Palit Revolution 700 Deluxe (4870 X2 2 x 1,024 MB)||69.5 FPS||68.4 FPS||68.5 FPS|
|MSI R4870X2 T2D2G (4870 X2 2 x 1,024 MB)||70.4 FPS||69.8 FPS||71.6 FPS|
|Mass Effect||Ultra Quality||Game AF, Ultra Quality||Game AF, Ultra Quality|
|Palit Revolution 700 Deluxe (4870 X2 2 x 1,024 MB)||91.3 FPS||73.5 FPS||71.3 FPS|
|MSI R4870X2 T2D2G (4870 X2 2 x 1,024 MB)||89.1 FPS||75.1 FPS||71.4 FPS|
|Palit Revolution 700 Deluxe (4870 X2 2 x1024 MB)||815.8 FPS|
|MSI R4870X2 T2D2G (4870 X2 2 x 1,024 MB)||822.6 FPS|
You don't get much in the Palit Revolution 700 Deluxe's bundle. There's a driver CD, a flexible CrossFire connector, a six- to eight-pin power adapter, and an HDMI adapter. The card's I/O bracket is more interesting. There you'll find one each of the following connectors: VGA, dual-link DVI, HDMI, and DisplayPort.
- High-End Graphics With Specialized Cooling
- Graphics Chips And Test Configuration
- BFG GTX 275 (896 MB)
- EVGA GTX 295 Hydro Copper (2x896 MB)
- MSI N280GTX OC HydroGen (1,024 MB)
- MSI N285GTX SuperPipe OC (1,024 MB)
- Palit Revolution 700 Deluxe (Radeon HD 4870 X2, 2 x 1,024 MB)
- Zotac GTX285 AMP Edition (GeForce GTX 285, 1,024 MB)
- Benchmark Results: Fallout 3
- Benchmark Results: Far Cry 2
- Benchmark Results: F.E.A.R. 2
- Benchmark Results: Left 4 Dead
- Benchmark Results: The Last Remnant
- Benchmark Results: Tom Clancy’s Endwar
- Benchmark Results: Tom Clancy’s H.A.W.X
- Benchmark Results: 3DMark06 1280x1024 Default
- Summary Of Overall Performance
- Power Consumption, Noise Levels, And Temperature Readings
- 3D Performance Sorted By Resolution And AA
- Conclusion: Fast Cards Need Water