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Radeon HD 4870 X2 Specifications and Ports

Radeon HD 4870 X2: Four Cards Compared

Up until recently, dual-chip cards have suffered several disadvantages. An important one was that the GPU and memory speeds had to be lowered to compensate for the thermal and electrical demands of doubling up on one card’s attributes. Naturally, performance would drop as a result, making two single cards in CrossFire mode faster. Driver optimizations also usually took longer; the HD 3870 X2 had a long lead time before we could actually see optimized results.

The biggest advantage of double-chip cards, though, is that you only need one PCIe slot, giving you more options to choose from when it comes to picking a favorite motherboard.

70 mm Fan

AMD has made several improvements with its Radeon HD 4870 X2, making the current X2 card more attractive than its predecessors. It supports PowerPlay for lower power consumption, which is still missing for the single-chip HD 4870 with Catalyst 8.10 (it consumes 20 watts more per graphics chip in 2D mode). The X2 also boasts the single card’s full clock rate of 750 MHz and memory running at 900 MHz (or GDDR5 clock speed 3600 MHz), full 2x1024 MB graphics memory, and a fan that isn’t louder than two single cards. However, the noise level can vary if the fan profile is changed (like with the MSI OC edition).

Video ports and 2x DVI

AMD’s Radeon 4870 supports DirectX 10.1 with Shader 4.1, and can provide 8 channel audio to the HDMI port. There is no need for internal wiring; you only need a DVI HDMI adapter, which was shipped with all of the test cards. There are two DVI ports and one component video output, too.

6 and 8 pin power plugs

Power comes from 6-pin and 8-pin plugs. The test system with its overclocked quad-core CPU consumes 480 watts from the socket. For the power supply, this means a load of 408 watts and 34 amps at 12 V. In 2D mode, the clock speed is lowered to 507 MHz GPU and 500 MHz memory, causing the power consumption to drop down to 202 watts (as long as you don’t get stuck with 240 watts after Vista restart because of the driver error). By contrast, the single-chip Radeon HD 4870 does not lower the clock speed with Catalyst 8.10, consuming 280 watts when two cards are combined in CrossFire mode.

Crossfire for one card

To drive the dual-chip card properly, you really need a good, fast CPU. There is a 21.2% difference in overall performance between the standard CPU X6800 Extreme Edition at 2.93 GHz and an overclocked quad-core CPU QX6850 at 3.67 GHz. Of course, you can also combine two Radeon HD 4870 X2 via CrossFire (4CF), combining the cooperative efforts of four graphics chips. But the gain in overall performance is rather low here because the CPU limits the capabilities of this arrangement. For more information on how the various platforms scale with increased graphics horsepower, check out Core i7: 4-Way CrossFire, 3-way SLI, Paradise?

 The board is 10.5” (27 cm) long; both power connectors are on the side. The Radeon HD 4870 X2, with cooler, is two slots high.

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  • -4 Hide
    Anonymous , November 19, 2008 7:40 AM
    Not only do we have four super-fast Radeon HD 4870 X2s to test, but also a list of 31 other graphics configurations including CrossFire and SLI setups. If you're in the market for AMD's fastest card available, you'll want to see this.

    Radeon HD 4870 X2: Four Cards Compared : Read more
  • 6 Hide
    neiroatopelcc , November 19, 2008 9:37 AM
    "Because of accessories and price, Sapphire is our best-buy recommendation."
    One slight warning about sapphire though. If you have problems, don't expect their support team to help you before you've solved the problem yourself!

    I made a ticket regarding some issues with my 4870 on august 7th, and received a reply on the 26th of september! That's 46 days to address an error they simply stated would go away with a bios upgrade from their homepage!

    As for the article, I actually liked the detailed driver errors they encountered. Not that I liked the errors themselves, but I liked them being explained. Usually you just read 'after spending some hours resolving driver errors ....' without getting any wiser.
  • 2 Hide
    ilovebarny , November 19, 2008 12:37 PM
    Why didnt they use the GTX260 Core 216? its like way better than the regular GTX260. And i just read yesterday that Nvidia was only going to make GTX260 Core 216 now.
  • 0 Hide
    ilovebarny , November 19, 2008 12:39 PM
    And i wish they had SLI'ed the 9800GTX+.
  • -9 Hide
    Chizops , November 19, 2008 1:01 PM
    Why didn't they try using core i7 (extreme maybe)
  • -7 Hide
    enforcer22 , November 19, 2008 1:11 PM
    Pei-chenWow, AMD cards consume power like a Detroit SUV. I like Nvidia GTX 2xx series’ Toyota Prius like efficiency at idle.

    Hmm your right. Power house vs crippled mouse.. yeah your analagy sucked im sure mine did to but all i saw from what you typed was i like weak stuff dont give me more power.
  • 5 Hide
    bdollar , November 19, 2008 1:27 PM
    seems to me if you are going to be comparing the highest end cards and even crossfire them for 4x you would have the highest resolution as one of the options. i would think people considering going x2 in crossfire would consider a 30" screen.

    don't get me wrong, i liked the article but would have liked to have seen the resolution spectrum hit the top.
  • 4 Hide
    Anonymous , November 19, 2008 1:34 PM
    It's nice to see the 9800GX2 included in the tests. I was considering the 4870x2 due to all the rave reviews but they never had the comparison like this against my current 9800GX2. I won't be getting new card anytime soon it seems. Thanks.
  • 4 Hide
    cleeve , November 19, 2008 2:13 PM
    Wow, tons of info there, Tino. Nicely done!
  • 3 Hide
    marcolau , November 19, 2008 2:37 PM
    neiroatopelcc is right , shappire support is non existent.

    I bought a 2900 xt more than a year ago , on the box in huge letters the pomise for the blax box ( games from steam ) , well where are they ?

    I am still waiting , i sent them an email but after a month no reply .

    Good way to show how u care about your customers Shapphire and even better way to lose them.

    now for 8 bucks difference i bought a Asus 4870 , i had a nice bag for cd software and games and i had them soon .

    Bye Bye Shappire
    So no more shappire , asus all the way :) 
  • 1 Hide
    dirtmountain , November 19, 2008 2:42 PM
    Well done, great information.
  • 0 Hide
    marcolau , November 19, 2008 2:47 PM
    ah i forgot to mention it , i also get a slightly overclocked card with no warranty issues :) 
  • 1 Hide
    scryer_360 , November 19, 2008 3:18 PM
    Wasn't there a comparison using Phenom, Yorkdale and Nehalem chips just a few weeks ago where dual and tri-sli GTX 280 cards were clearly superior to the 4870 X2 in single card and dual card (that is, one 4870 X2 and two 4870 X2s) configurations? What gives here where suddenly the 9800 GX2 is a powerful card again and the GTX 280 is presented as nothing but terrible?

    Eh? These charts do not make sense either, we're getting a 9800 GX2 seemingly more powerful than a GTX 280 in here.

    Was is das? Ich bin TERRIBLY CONFUSED.
  • 1 Hide
    bounty , November 19, 2008 3:59 PM
    Basically except for a few games, new cards are pointless. In the last round Nvidia made cards that still don't play crysis well, but you may have gone from 100 to 130 fps in some other game (but it doesn't matter). And AMD caught up.

    If it's CPU's that are the problem, then damnit, game developers seriously need to find some better multithreading optimizations.
  • 5 Hide
    BlakHart , November 19, 2008 4:06 PM
    my 1gb 4870 is always left out :(  lol
  • 4 Hide
    hellwig , November 19, 2008 4:16 PM
    Scryer_360Wasn't there a comparison using Phenom, Yorkdale and Nehalem chips just a few weeks ago where dual and tri-sli GTX 280 cards were clearly superior to the 4870 X2 in single card and dual card (that is, one 4870 X2 and two 4870 X2s) configurations? What gives here where suddenly the 9800 GX2 is a powerful card again and the GTX 280 is presented as nothing but terrible?Eh? These charts do not make sense either, we're getting a 9800 GX2 seemingly more powerful than a GTX 280 in here.Was is das? Ich bin TERRIBLY CONFUSED.

    My thoughts too, their Best Video Card list from November had:

    1) 4870 X2
    2) GTX 280
    3) 9800 GX2, GTX 260, 4870

    But now the 9800 GX2 is superior/equal to a 4870 X2?
  • 4 Hide
    slomo4sho , November 19, 2008 4:41 PM
    I highly appreciate the "fps per watts" chart.

    Seems the bottom line still is that everything past the 9800 GTX+ or 4850 is basically overkill for most 1680x1050 game play with the obvious exception being Crysis(this game is just coded poorly). Anything over 30 fps will hardly be noticable to the human eye so there really is no sense in buying a card that consumes 150 extra watts of power and costs $300 more so you can have 100+ fps.
  • 4 Hide
    dagger , November 19, 2008 4:42 PM
    hellwigMy thoughts too, their Best Video Card list from November had:1) 4870 X22) GTX 2803) 9800 GX2, GTX 260, 4870But now the 9800 GX2 is superior/equal to a 4870 X2?

    That's only true in some games. Different engines handle different cards differently. Remember, 9800gx2's g92 is identical to that of a 9800gtx, single 4870 outperform 9800gtx by 20-30%, cf/sli/x2 depends highly on driver optimizations, 9800gx2 already has mature drivers, which means more efficient operations, smaller gap against 4870x2 overall, and outperforming it in a few games. 4870x2 will improve over time.

    As for 9800gx2 outperforming gtx280, that has always been true. It's just few people realize it. Gtx280 cost $420, 9800gx2 $275. Nvidia's hype machine focus on current cash cow.
  • 2 Hide
    Arbie , November 19, 2008 4:44 PM
    Regarding the problems with the ASUS "SmartDoctor" Windows utility, my experience is the same as most people report: NEVER install an ASUS Windows app. They usually combine negligible functionality with a huge increase in problems. The only exception I've found is their PCProbe II which works well with their own motherboards. You can learn the easy way or the hard way on this. BTW I love my HD 4850.
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