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High-End Graphics Card Roundup

Palit Revolution 700 Deluxe (Radeon HD 4870 X2, 2 x 1,024 MB)

To see all pictures, please click on the photo of the test card below to access our photo gallery.

If you want to see the smartest dual-GPU cooler we've seen for ATI cards, look no further than Palit's take on the Radeon HD 4870 X2. One disadvantage we did pick up on right away is its extra-wide housing, which covers three expansion slots. The trade-off is that you get two 80 mm fans and a pair of heatsinks with all-copper heatpipes.

The justification for this design comes from the fairly-mediocre cooling on ATI's reference Radeon HD 4870 X2s. The standard fan configuration means that the RV770 graphics chips run hot, even in 2D mode, since ATI decided to let temperatures run higher rather than increase cooling noise levels. For many buyers, this didn't work out very well because insufficient cooling causes too much heat to accumulate, thereby heating up other components.

MSI took notice and built its own variant on the Radeon HD 4870 X2 with a modified fan layout. This changed the card's attributes from slow, quiet, and hot to fast, loud, and cool. While MSI did get temperatures under control, noise levels went through the roof due to constant and heavy fan noise.

The following test measurements are not directly comparable with our new test system or with our current benchmark suite. That's why we show them here in their own standalone table. All values are generated using overclocked retail cards from Palit and MSI, both employing the RV770 GPUs. Overclocking doesn't give either vendor much of an advantage. What MSI gains from boosting GPU clock rates, Palit gets by doing likewise for graphics memory.

The temperatures are nearly identical, but the noise levels are extremely different. In 2D mode, MSI uses high fan speeds with the reference fans to attain temperatures of 49 degrees Celsius. The Palit card climbs to 59 degrees Celsius, but with comfortable noise levels of 37.7 dB(A). Under a heavy 3D load, a three-slot housing with dual fans can really do its job, increasing noise levels to an audible (but not overwhelming) 43.8 dB(A), as temperatures climb only to 72 degrees Celsius. MSI's reference-cooled card can't keep pace. Although the fan spins even faster, it generates a noisy 60.4 dB(A) sound level, while temperatures hover around 79 degrees Celsius. Clearly, Palit's design shines most bright. The company's air-cooled design is solid, surpassed only by water cooling, we'd suspect.

Manufacturer and ChipsetGraphics RAMGPU ClockMemoryClock
Palit Revolution 700 Deluxe (Radeon HD 4870 X2)2 x 1,024 MB GDDR5750 MHz4 x 950 MHz
MSI R4870X2 T2D2G (Radeon HD 4870 X2)2 x 1,024 MB GDDR5780 MHz4 x 900 MHz
Temperature2D Temp.3D Temp.Evaluation
Palit Revolution 700 Deluxe (Radeon HD 4870 X2)59 degrees Celsius72 degrees Celsius3D better
MSI R4870X2 T2D2G (Radeon HD 4870 X2)49 degrees Celsius79 degrees Celsius2D better
Noise levels2D dB(A)3D dB(A)Evaluation
Palit Revolution 700 Deluxe (Radeon HD 4870 X2)37.7 dB(A)43.8 dB(A)Cool and quiet
MSI R4870X2 T2D2G (Radeon HD 4870 X2)51.2 dB(A)60.4 dB(A)Cool but loud

The RV770 graphics chip supports DirectX 10.1 and the card includes two power connectors (both six- and eight-pin PCIe plugs are necessary). Performance on the  Palit and MSI cards is similar, and each of them places first in some benchmarks and second in others, depending on the specific settings and resolution used. Overall, the Palit falls just slightly behind the MSI card, which pulls ahead thanks to its higher GPU clock rate versus the Palit's higher memory clock speed.

Benchmarks and Test Cards1920x1200, 0AA, 0AF1920x1200, 4AA, 8AF1920x1200, 8AA, 16AF
Fallout 3Very High QualityVery High QualityVery High Quality
Palit Revolution 700 Deluxe (Radeon 4870 X2 2 x 1,024 MB)65.3 FPS65.0 FPS64.5 FPS
MSI R4870X2 T2D2G (Radeon 4870 X2 2 x 1,024 MB)65.6 FPS64.8 FPS64.6 FPS
Far Cry 2Very High QualityVery High QualityVery High Quality
Palit Revolution 700 Deluxe (Radeon 4870 X2 2 x 1,024 MB)52.6 FPS52.3 FPS46.0 FPS
MSI R4870X2 T2D2G (Radeon 4870 X2 2 x 1,024 MB)53.1 FPS52.6 FPS47.3 FPS
Left 4 DeadVery High QualityVery High QualityVery High Quality
Palit Revolution 700 Deluxe (4870 X2 2 x 1,024 MB)69.5 FPS68.4 FPS68.5 FPS
MSI R4870X2 T2D2G (4870 X2 2 x 1,024 MB)70.4 FPS69.8 FPS71.6 FPS
Mass EffectUltra QualityGame AF, Ultra QualityGame AF, Ultra Quality
Palit Revolution 700 Deluxe (4870 X2 2 x 1,024 MB)91.3 FPS73.5 FPS71.3 FPS
MSI R4870X2 T2D2G (4870 X2 2 x 1,024 MB)89.1 FPS75.1 FPS71.4 FPS
Cumulative ResultsFPS
Palit Revolution 700 Deluxe (4870 X2 2 x1024 MB)815.8 FPS
MSI R4870X2 T2D2G (4870 X2 2 x 1,024 MB)822.6 FPS

You don't get much in the Palit Revolution 700 Deluxe's bundle. There's a driver CD, a flexible CrossFire connector, a six- to eight-pin power adapter, and an HDMI adapter. The card's I/O bracket is more interesting. There you'll find one each of the following connectors: VGA, dual-link DVI, HDMI, and DisplayPort.

  • Only one ATi card? What happened to all those OC'd 4890s?
    Reply
  • And those HAWX benchmarks look ridiculous. ATi should wipe floor with nvidia with that. Of course you didn't put dx10.1 support on. Bastard...
    Reply
  • cangelini
    quarzOnly one ATi card? What happened to all those OC'd 4890s?
    These are the same boards that were included in the recent charts update, and are largely contingent on what vendors submit for evaluation. We have a review upcoming comparing Sapphire's new 1 GHz Radeon HD 4890 versus the stock 4890. It'll be up in the next couple of weeks, though.
    Reply
  • ohim
    Am i the only one that find this article akward since looking at the tests done on Ati cards on The Last Remnant game makes me wonder what went wrong ... i mean it`s UT3 engine ... why so low performance ?
    Reply
  • curnel_D
    Ugh, please tell me that The Last Remnant hasnt been added to the benchmark suite.

    And I'm not exactly sure why the writer decided to bench on Endwar instead of World In Conflict. Why is that exactly?

    And despite Quarz2's apparent fanboism, I think HAWX would have been better benched under 10.1 for the ATI cards, and used the highest stable settings instead of dropping off to DX9.
    Reply
  • anamaniac
    The EVGA 295 is the stuff gods game with.

    I would love that card. I would have to replace my whole system to work it properly however.
    I want $1500 now... i7 920 (why get better? They all seem to be godly overclockers) and EVGA 295.

    How about a test suit of the EVGA GTX 295 in crossfire for a quad-gpu configuration? I know there's driver issues, but it would be fun to see what it could do regardless. Along with seeing how far Toms can OC the EVGA GTX 295.
    Actually... Toms just needs to do a new system building recommendation roundup. I find them useful personally, and would have used it myself had my cash source had not lost his job...
    Reply
  • Weird test:
    1) Where are the overclocking results?
    2) Bad choice for benchmarks: Too many old DX9 based graphic engines (FEAR 2, Fallout 3, Left4Dead with >100FPS) or Endwar which is limited to 30FPS. Where is Crysis?
    3) 1900x1200 as highest resolution for high-end cards?
    Reply
  • EQPlayer
    Seems that the cumulative benchmark graphs are going to be a bit skewed if The Last Remnant results are included in there... it's fairly obvious something odd is going on looking at the numbers for that game.
    Reply
  • armistitiu
    Worst article in a long time. Why compare how old games perform on NVIDIA's high end graphic cards? Don't get me wrong i like them but where's all the Atomic stuff from Saphire, Asus and XFX had some good stuff from ATI too. So what.. you just took the reference cards from ATI and tested them? :| That is just wrong.
    Reply
  • pulasky
    WOW what a piece of s********** is this """"""review"""""" Noobidia pay good in this days.
    Reply