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Radeon HD 4870 X2: Four Cards Compared

31 Different Combinations Tested

The principle focus of this piece is a four-way comparison between four of AMD’s fastest graphics cards— its Radeon HD 4870 X2. Asus, HIS, MSI, and Sapphire all sent us their own versions of the board, with cooling solutions similar to the reference design, little to no differences in the cooling solution, and minimal clock speed variation, which as we all know, can have a tremendous impact on 3D performance. Asus, with the TOP model, and MSI with its OC edition, are overclocked by the manufacturer. In order for HIS and Sapphire to compete, they were manually overclocked and tested at their highest stable speeds.

To make sure the Radeon HD 4870 X2 cards aren’t lonely, we’ve added numbers for the fastest and most current cards from AMD and Nvidia, along with an overclocked quad-core CPU. Among the additional configurations are the Radeon HD 4850 and Radeon HD 4870 as single board and in CrossFire arrangements, Nvidia’s GeForce 9800 GTX+, the double-chip 9800 GX2, as well as the GeForce GTX 260 and GTX 280, both as a single card and as a combined unit using SLI. For comparison purposes, we provide results with different CPUs and older driver versions. And in addition, we provide the results from the newcomer, the Radeon HD 4670. In total we have 31 combinations, which should give you a very complete overview of the current chip classes and the 3D performance they are able to provide.

The article is organized into several parts. The first part talks about the product tests done on the Radeon HD 4870 X2 cards from Asus, HIS, MSI and Sapphire. We follow this with charts for the benchmarks, and the driver comparison between Catalyst versions 8.9 and 8.10. Although 8.11 is indeed now available, you shouldn’t see significant performance variation in anything other than Stalker: Clear Sky and Far Cry 2—neither of which are included in this piece.

In the third part, we give a detailed analysis of single-card HD 4870 versus Radeon HD 4870 X2, X2 versus two cards in CrossFire, X2 versus X2 CrossFire (4CF), and the double-chip Radeon HD 4870 X2 cards versus the GeForce 9800 GX2 from Nvidia. In the last part, you’ll find the overall performance results and information on price/performance ratios, noise levels, power consumption, temperatures, and frame rates sorted by resolution.

  • 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
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  • 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