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Radeon HD 4870 X2: Four Cards Compared

Radeon HD 4870 X2 And HD 4870 CrossFire (CF) Compared

This comparison focuses on driver optimizations. We have seen in the past that dual-chip cards performed behind a pair of single-GPU boards in tandem, even though both graphics chips sit on the same board and communicate directly with each other. One factor was the different clock speed. Because single-chip cards had better cooling, they also used to have more power when two of them were combined in CrossFire (CF) mode. The Radeon HD 4870 X2 has no disadvantages here. The clock speed of the graphics processor and memory are the same as on the single-chip card.

The results are slightly beyond the measurement tolerances, but you can’t see a clear advantage from the combination.

Assassins Creed in fps12800xAA16800xAA19200xAA12804xAA16804xAA19204xAAOverall
HD 4870 X2 8.10 QX@3.6765.466.967.551.352.252.8356.1
HD 4870 CF 8.10 QX@3.6768.366.864.851.351.151.0353.3
Performance difference in percent-4.20.14.20.02.23.50.8

Call of Duty 4 shows a slight performance decrease; the dual-chip card performs worse.

Call of Duty 4 in fps12800xAA16800xAA19200xAA12804xAA16804xAA19204xAAOverall
HD 4870 X2 8.10 QX@3.67276.2265.4226.5239.3199.9177.11384.4
HD 4870 CF 8.10 QX@3.67275.2254.5238.8248.4212.4186.51415.8
Performance difference in percent0.44.3-5.2-3.7-5.9-5.0-2.2

In Crysis, the larger graphics memory makes the difference: the 2 x 1 GB of the HD 4870 X2 wins when anti-aliasing is turned on.

Crysis High in fps12800xAA16800xAA19200xAA12804xAA16804xAA19204xAAOverall
HD 4870 X2 8.10 QX@3.6734.231.131.231.829.129.1186.5
HD 4870 CF 8.10 QX@3.6734.231.631.031.927.426.4182.5
Performance difference in percent0.0-1.60.6-0.36.210.22.2

At the highest quality setting, you can also see a clear trend in favor of the X2 card. The larger graphics memory makes even more of a difference here.

Crysis Very High in fps12800xAA16800xAA19200xAA12804xAA16804xAA19204xAAOverall
HD 4870 X2 8.10 QX@3.6729.426.325.727.424.423.8157.0
HD 4870 CF 8.10 QX@3.6729.226.425.826.523.118.8149.8
Performance difference in percent0.7-0.4-0.43.45.626.64.8

Although the differences lie within the tolerance of the measurement, we’re tempted to say that the 2% to 3% increase in performance results from the lower CPU load of the dual-chip card, because CrossFire has to manage two single-GPU boards.

ET: Quake Wars in fps12800xAA16800xAA19200xAA12804xAA16804xAA19204xAAOverall
HD 4870 X2 8.10 QX@3.6790.187.689.186.486.386.1525.6
HD 4870 CF 8.10 QX@3.6787.185.786.684.384.384.6512.6
Performance difference in percent3.42.22.92.52.41.82.5

Here again, you can see a slight difference. The X2 performs slightly better, but almost all results are within the measurement tolerance.

Half Life 2 Episode 2 in fps12800xAA16800xAA19200xAA12804xAA16804xAA19204xAAOverall
HD 4870 X2 8.10 QX@3.67130.3123.5119.9128.6123.4122.4748.1
HD 4870 CF 8.10 QX@3.67130.2119.3120.0125.4120.5118.6734.0
Performance difference in percent0.13.5-0.12.62.43.21.9

Mass Effect shows exactly the opposite of what we said about the lower CPU load. The defeat is significant and really hurts, because there are many DirectX 10 games that are based on the UT3 engine.

Mass Effect in fps12800xAA16800xAA19200xAA12804xAA16804xAA19204xAA12808xAA16808xAA19208xAAOverall
HD 4870 X2 8.10 QX@3.67131.2129.7125.0116.287.670.6114.185.769.0929.1
HD 4870 CF 8.10 QX@3.67132.3129.7128.8124.895.976.9123.293.775.1980.4
Performance difference in percent-0.80.0-3.0-6.9-8.7-8.2-7.4-8.5-8.1-5.2

Flight Simulator is very CPU-sensitive. The results are within the measurement tolerance.

MS FlightX SP2 in fps12800xAA16800xAA19200xAA12804xAA16804xAA19204xAAOverall
HD 4870 X2 8.10 QX@3.6729.129.729.429.829.829.3177.1
HD 4870 CF 8.10 QX@3.6729.929.829.730.130.530.2180.2
Performance difference in percent-2.7-0.3-1.0-1.0-2.3-3.0-1.7

Very balanced; we can’t see any advantage in a combination.

World in Conflict in fps12800xAA16800xAA19200xAA12804xAA16804xAA19204xAAOverall
HD 4870 X2 8.10 QX@3.6753.556.154.550.052.952.5319.5
HD 4870 CF 8.10 QX@3.6753.255.453.351.152.851.3317.1
Performance difference in percent0.61.32.3-2.20.22.30.8

The Radeon HD 4870 X2 can compete with the HD 4870 in CrossFire—there are no more significant performance drops as we have seen them with older dual-chip cards like the Radeon HD 3870 X2.

  • 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
    Reply
  • neiroatopelcc
    "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.
    Reply
  • Pei-chen
    Wow, AMD cards consume power like a Detroit SUV. I like Nvidia GTX 2xx series’ Toyota Prius like efficiency at idle.
    Reply
  • ilovebarny
    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
    Reply
  • ilovebarny
    And i wish they had SLI'ed the 9800GTX+.
    Reply
  • Chizops
    Why didn't they try using core i7 (extreme maybe)
    Reply
  • enforcer22
    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.
    Reply
  • bdollar
    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.
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • cleeve
    Wow, tons of info there, Tino. Nicely done!
    Reply