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Performance Gain From CPU And Graphics Driver

Radeon HD 4870 X2: Four Cards Compared
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In the following tables, we compare some combinations and test cards directly against each other. After the chip name and the memory size of the card you’ll find the driver version. This is followed by the abbreviation for the CPU: X68 = Core 2 Duo X6800 Extreme Edition at 2.93 GHz (comparable to E6750 and E8200) or 3.47 GHz; E85 = Core 2 Duo E8500 at 3.8 GHz; QX = Core 2 Quad QX6850 at 3.67 GHz. Overclocked graphics cards are labeled with an OC.

If you’ve wondered why only the two X2 cards from HIS and Sapphire were overclocked by us, not the ones from MSI and Asus, you’ll get the answer with the following results. Overall, the overclocking results in a performance gain of no more than 1%, and for such an insignificant performance boost, you should not risk losing the warranty on your $500 card.

Performance Gain HD 4870 X2 fps Percent
Sapphire HD 4870 X2 (2x1024 MB) OC 8.10 QX@3.67 4752.1 100.0
HIS HD 4870 X2 (2x1024 MB) 8.10 QX@3.67 4783.4 100.7
MSI HD 4870 X2 (2x1024 MB) OC 8.10 QX@3.67 4814.5 101.3
Asus HD 4870 X2 (2x1024 MB) Top OC 8.10 QX@3.67 4823.8 101.5
HIS HD 4870 X2 (2x1024 MB) OC 8.10 QX@3.67 4828.8 101.6
Radeon HD 4870 X2 4CF (4x1024 MB) 8.10 QX@3.67 5033.3 105.9

The next table shows the single-chip cards, tested with both the standard CPU speeds and the overclocked quad core CPU. The X6800 Extreme Edition at 2.93 GHz corresponds to an E6750 or E8200. When replaced by an overclocked quad-core QX6850, you’ll get a frame rate 9% to 16% higher.

Performance gain, single-chip cards fps percent
GeForce GTX 280 (1024 MB) 177.39 X68@2.93 3765.6 100.0
GeForce GTX 280 (1024 MB) 180.42 QX@3.67 4367.3 116.0
GeForce GTX 260 (896 MB) 177.39 X68@2.93 3464.8 100.0
GeForce GTX 260 (896 MB) 180.42 QX@3.67 3967.0 114.5
GeForce 9800 GTX+ (512 MB) 180.42 X68@2.93 3246.6 100.0
GeForce 9800 GTX+ (512 MB) 180.42 QX@3.67 3578.6 110.2
Radeon HD 4870 (512 MB) 8.6 X68@2.93 3355.7 100.0
Radeon HD 4870 (512 MB) 8.10 QX@3.67 3779.7 112.6
Radeon HD 4850 (512 MB) 8.6 X68@2.93 2965.6 100.0
Radeon HD 4850 (512 MB) 8.10 QX@3.67 3240.2 109.3

Here SLI and CrossFire combinations are improved with more CPU power—the gain in frame rate is significantly higher, ranging from 31% to 38%. When using dual-chip combinations, you can not only increase the relative performance gains of the faster CPU, you can even double performance.

Performance Gain SLI and CrossFire fps Percent
GeForce GTX 280 SLI (1024 MB) 177.39 X68@2.93 3522.0 100.0
GeForce GTX 280 SLI (1024 MB) 180.42 QX@3.67 4632.0 131.5
GeForce GTX 260 SLI (896 MB) 177.39 X68@2.93 3481.1 100.0
GeForce GTX 260 SLI (896 MB) 180.42 QX@3.67 4569.0 131.3
GeForce 9800 GX2 (2x512 MB) 175.16 X68@2.93 3351.4 100.0
GeForce 9800 GX2 (2x512 MB) 180.42 QX@3.67 4616.1 137.7
Radeon HD 4870 CF (512 MB) 8.6 X68@2.93 3482.9 100.0
Radeon HD 4870 CF (512 MB) 8.10 QX@3.67 4825.7 138.6
Radeon HD 4850 CF (512 MB) 8.6 X68@2.93 3241.4 100.0
Radeon HD 4850 CF (512 MB) 8.10 QX@3.67 4433.0 136.8

Gain from single-card to CrossFire fps percent
Radeon HD 4870 (512 MB) 8.6 X68@2.93 3355.7 100.0
Radeon HD 4870 CF (512 MB) 8.6 X68@2.93 3482.9 103.8
Radeon HD 4870 (512 MB) 8.10 QX@3.67 3779.7 100.0
Radeon HD 4870 CF (512 MB) 8.10 QX@3.67 4825.7 127.7

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