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Performance Recap

Radeon HD 4870: Better Than GTX 260!
By , and Florian Charpentier

radeon hd 4870

radeon hd 4870

radeon hd 4870

Here are the average scores for each card and each game. Cards that can’t render a game at a given resolution or with antialiasing are given a zero, which heavily handicaps all cards with 512 MB of memory or less at 2560*1600 + antialiasing (except for the Radeon HD 4870) and the Radeon HD 3870 X2, which can’t apply antialiasing in Mass Effect. Also note that the 4850 was at a disadvantage since our sample Asus card wasn’t able to render Race Driver: GRID, which raises the average scores for the other cards (especially over the Radeon HD 4800s).

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  • 5 Hide
    Anonymous , July 3, 2008 3:24 PM
    finally ATI is getting some love
    I have the 4950 and it is great
  • 0 Hide
    sidereus , July 3, 2008 3:43 PM
    nice review..I wonder why the 4850 can not render race driver : GRID
  • 0 Hide
    mpasternak , July 3, 2008 3:51 PM
    for the pure gamer at heart, the 4870 seems to be a steal.

    however, what are the possibilities for a CUDA like processing environment or handling Physics engines? I think AMD has done a great job making a pure video card, but I believe the future will be with unified technologies of having the GPU assist in other tasks as well.

    Time will Tell
  • 5 Hide
    eltouristo , July 3, 2008 3:55 PM
    Would REALLY help alot if there were charts with these new cards and some of the last gen (what's in the desktop charts now) that way I could
    see how much I could gain by upgrading. Maybe thats an update to the desktop charts that just hasnt been dont yet? Seems like it would have already been.
  • 1 Hide
    lightfoot__ , July 3, 2008 4:00 PM
    Under load, the heat sink did its job and the temperature didn’t rise all that much – at least not as much as the little Radeon HD 4850.

    The 4850 went up 6* and the 4870 went up 10*... I think the 4870 went up more, but you (Tom's) said it went up less.
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , July 3, 2008 4:05 PM
    LOL you don't even have your drivers working properly if a 3870 and 3870x2 are matching each other in performance. Crossfire on the card isn't even working properly, check any bench of a 3870x2 vs 3870 in Call of Duty 4 (ATI preferred drivers).
  • 0 Hide
    oafed , July 3, 2008 4:06 PM
    The real key is what all the prices on these cards are when Nehalem is released.

    LOTS of enthusiasts are planning a Nehalem build toward the end of the year. I image they will be getting 4850/4870s or GTX260/GTX280s. All depending on where the prices are I imagine.
  • 1 Hide
    septagent , July 3, 2008 4:08 PM
    eltouristoWould REALLY help alot if there were charts with these new cards and some of the last gen (what's in the desktop charts now) that way I couldsee how much I could gain by upgrading. Maybe thats an update to the desktop charts that just hasnt been dont yet? Seems like it would have already been.



    I agree about the charts. I don't consider buying a 4870 vs an older card like an x1950, but it sure would be nice to see how much it has improved over time.

  • 1 Hide
    timaahhh , July 3, 2008 4:28 PM
    Thank you ATI. Though I won't be buying your card cause I just bought an 8800 GT maybe this will force nVidia to drop there prices and give me a cheap step up :D .
  • 0 Hide
    eurodj , July 3, 2008 4:32 PM
    I loved ati since the rage era, im so glad they are back in the game again, i might even consider trading in my 9800gtx sli for a 4850 crossfire down the line, maybe when i setup to ddr3. But for now best bang for the buck cards are the 9800gtx and the 4850 in my opinion
  • 0 Hide
    jimmysmitty , July 3, 2008 4:41 PM
    I want either a 48701GB or a 4870X2. I have a 2900Pro 1GB and going to 512MB would not work for me. Plus I wounder if at much higher resolutions if another 512MB would help.
  • 0 Hide
    Chazwuzzer , July 3, 2008 4:48 PM
    Gawd, I can't wait to get my mits on one of these. I should prolly get my order in now...
  • 1 Hide
    caamsa , July 3, 2008 4:58 PM
    I wonder where they tested these cards? My 4850 runs between 52C idle and usually never above 65C while under load. I just use ASUS SmartDoctor which allows you to control the fan speed. Before using smartdoctor the fan speed never changed and it did run at 80C under load.
  • -2 Hide
    martel80 , July 3, 2008 5:25 PM
    WTF is going on with those locked minimum clock speeds? I'm already pissed off by HD 3870 running at 300/1126 in XP, what a waste of power! Why don't they offer the possibility to manually (in control panel) underclock the card all the way down to 150-200/300-400 MHz is beyond me.
  • 0 Hide
    Shadow703793 , July 3, 2008 5:30 PM
    Finally AM/ATI's on the field. Glad to see the card is performing well esp. given the price. Now all ATI has to do optimize the drivers. Congrats to Toms on a good article written in a while.
  • 0 Hide
    falchard , July 3, 2008 5:33 PM
    Would be interesting if they actually tested these cards on an AMD Platform. Why do that always test AMD parts seperately?
  • -1 Hide
    Shadow703793 , July 3, 2008 5:37 PM
    martel80WTF is going on with those locked minimum clock speeds? I'm already pissed off by HD 3870 running at 300/1126 in XP, what a waste of power! Why don't they offer the possibility to manually (in control panel) underclock the card all the way down to 150-200/300-400 MHz is beyond me.

    This is because just like underclocking a CPU there is a minimum frequency and a minimum voltage that is needed. Also these are gaming class GPUs aimed at raw power(= more power use + heat)and not really to be energy efficient. Although energy efficiency (usually goes hand in hand with heat output) counts to a certain extent when OCing and higher clock speeds these negatives of lower energy efficiency can be overcome through better HSFs/smaller manufacturing process etc.
  • 2 Hide
    Shadow703793 , July 3, 2008 5:38 PM
    falchardWould be interesting if they actually tested these cards on an AMD Platform. Why do that always test AMD parts seperately?

    Because the Phenom's aren't very good!
  • 1 Hide
    JAYDEEJOHN , July 3, 2008 5:39 PM
    From what Ive heard, the 150 clock is one of the gen clocks on a few of the bios, just not implemented yet. Give it time
  • 0 Hide
    homerdog , July 3, 2008 5:54 PM
    Yes, the idle clocks aren't going nearly low enough with the current BIOSs. I've actually seen a BIOS floating around that had the right idle clocks (160/500MHz I think). Hopefully this will be corrected soon.

    On a separate note, what's up with RV770 and UE3? I hadn't realized until now that the GeForce cards really pull ahead in those tests. With any other engine it wouldn't be that big a deal, but UE3 is kind of important.
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