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Radeon HD 4870 X2 And GeForce 9800 GX2 Compared

Radeon HD 4870 X2: Four Cards Compared
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In the last direct comparison, the high-end dual-chip models from AMD and Nvidia meet to do battle. The duel is somewhat unfair because the GeForce 9800 GX2 is no longer more than upper-middle class. A (non-existent) GTX 260 GX2 or GTX 280 GX2 would be the right competitor. But there is no need for the 9800 GX2 to hide. With the overclocked quad-core CPU as a base, the Nvidia card demonstrates extremely good performance, and AMD’s dual-chip response really has to fight.

You might not want to believe it, but it’s true—the weaker graphics chip of the GeForce 9800 GX2 seems to stress the CPU less, which pushes the frame rate up tremendously.

Assassins Creed in fps 1280
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HD 4870 X2 8.10 QX@3.67 65.4 66.9 67.5 51.3 52.2 52.8 356.1
9800 GX2 180.42 QX@3.67 91.3 92.3 86.7 77.0 72.4 65.8 485.5
Performance difference in percent -28.4 -27.5 -22.1 -33.4 -27.9 -19.8 -26.7

Incidentally, AMD has improved significantly in this area. Without Catalyst 8.10, the results would be up to 70% lower. AMD optimized the driver right on time.

Call of Duty 4 in fps 1280
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HD 4870 X2 8.10 QX@3.67 276.2 265.4 226.5 239.3 199.9 177.1 1384.4
9800 GX2 180.42 QX@3.67 214.0 189.4 158.1 179.5 155.8 131.9 1028.7
Performance difference in percent 29.1 40.1 43.3 33.3 28.3 34.3 34.6

With anti-aliasing, Nvidia runs out of memory and the dual-chip Radeon HD 4870 X2 pulls away.

Crysis High in fps 1280
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HD 4870 X2 8.10 QX@3.67 34.2 31.1 31.2 31.8 29.1 29.1 186.5
9800 GX2 180.42 QX@3.67 49.5 45.7 41.6 41.6 24.9 6.6 209.9
Performance difference in percent -30.9 -31.9 -25.0 -23.6 16.9 340.9 -11.1

This doesn’t look any different in very high quality mode. Nvidia has a clear advantage in Crysis without anti-aliasing. When activating anti-aliasing, the GeForce 9800 GX2 collapses even earlier due to its 2 x 512 MB of video memory. The Radeon HD 4870 X2 has 2 x 1 GB and takes an easy lead.

Crysis Very High in fps 1280
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HD 4870 X2 8.10 QX@3.67 29.4 26.3 25.7 27.4 24.4 23.8 157.0
9800 GX2 180.42 QX@3.67 42.3 33.8 27.8 28.6 15.0 1.0 148.5
Performance difference in percent -30.5 -22.2 -7.6 -4.2 62.7 2280.0 5.7

Quake Wars has always run slightly better on Nvidia graphics chips. The game relies on CPU power. Fast dual-chip cards are a handicap, it seems.

ET: Quake Wars in fps 1280
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HD 4870 X2 8.10 QX@3.67 90.1 87.6 89.1 86.4 86.3 86.1 525.6
9800 GX2 180.42 QX@3.67 99.6 101.9 90.2 103.0 100.1 97.6 592.4
Performance difference in percent -9.5 -14.0 -1.2 -16.1 -13.8 -11.8 -11.3

With Half Life 2 the results change. AMD graphics chips have always had a slight advantage here.

Half Life 2 Episode 2 in fps 1280
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HD 4870 X2 8.10 QX@3.67 130.3 123.5 119.9 128.6 123.4 122.4 748.1
9800 GX2 180.42 QX@3.67 123.6 117.6 117.2 123.7 119.1 118.2 719.4
Performance difference in percent 5.4 5.0 2.3 4.0 3.6 3.6 4.0

In Mass Effect you can see the true performance. The dual-chip HD 4870 X2 speeds up significantly at higher resolutions.

Mass Effect in fps 1280
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HD 4870 X2 8.10 QX@3.67 131.2 129.7 125.0 116.2 87.6 70.6 114.1 85.7 69.0 929.1
9800 GX2 180.42 QX@3.67 131.1 128.5 109.9 111.4 85.4 59.2 102.9 79.0 56.8 864.2
Performance difference in percent 0.1 0.9 13.7 4.3 2.6 19.3 10.9 8.5 21.5 7.5

Nvidia cards have had a 30% advantage from the very beginning. AMD has not been able so far to catch up in Microsoft Flight Simulator X.

MS FlightX SP2 in fps 1280
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HD 4870 X2 8.10 QX@3.67 29.1 29.7 29.4 29.8 29.8 29.3 177.1
9800 GX2 180.42 QX@3.67 40.6 41.5 40.5 41.6 42.9 41.0 248.1
Performance difference in percent -28.3 -28.4 -27.4 -28.4 -30.5 -28.5 -28.6

Without anti-aliasing the 9800 GX2 wins by far, but with anti-aliasing it’s all about pure graphics power and the Radeon HD 4870 X2 simply has more.

World in Conflict in fps 1280
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HD 4870 X2 8.10 QX@3.67 53.5 56.1 54.5 50.0 52.9 52.5 319.5
9800 GX2 180.42 QX@3.67 70.8 69.4 58.8 49.1 40.1 31.2 319.4
Performance difference in percent -24.4 -19.2 -7.3 1.8 31.9 68.3 0.0

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