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Asus Radeon HD 4870 X2 Top (EAH4870X2 TOP/HTDI/2G/A)

Radeon HD 4870 X2: Four Cards Compared
By

GPU 900 MHz is possibleClock rate Catalyst 8.10

The TOP model is shipped with higher-than-reference clock frequencies. The standard for the GPU is 750 MHz and Asus increases this to 790 MHz. The graphics memory speed is only slightly increased, from the standard of 900 MHz to 915 MHz (DDR5 frequency 3660 MHz).

 The 2D noise level is 37 dB(A), while in 3D mode it increases to 48.8 to 50.0 dB(A).

For this comparison, we don’t do additional overclocking because the overall gain turns out to be rather low. But if you want to take the card to its limits, you can get quite a bit more out of the TOP model. The test card can easily do a GPU frequency of 822 MHz, which is the best value in the test group. A nice addition is the extension of Overdrive . Asus increases the usual limit in the driver from 800 MHz to 900 MHz. This option functions independently of any particular software version, because it is available in the Catalyst 8.10 from AMD’s homepage.

 The packaging only shows the GPU clock speed.

The graphics memory has similar overclocking potential. The reference speed is 900 MHz and Asus sets the TOP model to 915 MHz. But our test card can easily do a stable 990 MHz—again the best value in the test group. As long as you install only Catalyst 8.10, the fan profile works without a problem, with the fan adjusting its speed according to the clock speed. With the additional overclocking, it spun at 3,400 RPM to maintain 85°C. When you use the preset Asus settings (790 and 915 MHz), the temperature can rise to 89 or 92 degrees, which is due to the lower fan speed of 3,000 RPM.

Fan speed with 8.10 + Smart Doctor

If you install the Catalyst 8.10 with the Asus Smart Doctor that comes included, the fan profiles get screwed up. In 2D mode the fan speed rises from 27% (standard) to 65%, and the noise level rises from a quiet 37.0 dB(A) to a loud 46.2 dB(A). These values sound alright, but you can see the issue when looking at the high temperatures in 3D mode. The fan doesn’t turn on reliably until the temperature reaches 96°C. It’s an inconsistent issue at best, though, as one of the five tests did see the fan turn on at a correct time.

 Accessories for Asus

Asus didn’t put in games or additional software. Instead, the company gives you two power adapters, and the 8-pin adapter is rather rare. You get HDMI through using the DVI adapter, and it comes with a bridge for Crossfire. Finally, you get a leather bag for CDs and DVDs as a special extra.

Naturally, despite all of our praise for this board’s overclocking headroom, bear in mind that Asus is only going to cover your card with a warranty if it wasn’t fried in the line of duty. Overclocking can be risky, especially at the temperatures we’re talking about here. You pay for Asus’ additional clock speed, plus the luxury of factory coverage. Taking the card past that point is at your own risk.

Asus Radeon HD 4870 X2 Top
As a TOP model, the card comes overclocked, but it can take significantly more tweaking before showing instability—it has the largest overclocking potential in the test group with a maximum of 822 MHz (GPU) and 990 MHz (memory). As long as you run the card with only Catalyst 8.10, the fan profiles work well; problems occur only when you install the Asus Smart Doctor.
  • Advantages
  • Disadvantages
    • Best overclocking potential
    • Outstanding fan profiles with Catalyst 8.10
    • Adapter for 8 pin power supply
    • Smart Doctor + Catalyst 8.10 causes errors

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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. http://www.fudzilla.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=10497&Itemid=1
  • 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.
    http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=3341&p=13
    http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=3341&p=14
    http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=3341&p=15
    http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=3341&p=16
    http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=3341&p=17
    http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=3341&p=18
    http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=3341&p=19
  • 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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