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Radeon HD 4870: Better Than GTX 260!

The Card, The Test

Like the Radeon HD 3870, but unlike the Radeon HD 4850, the Radeon HD 4870 is a double-slot card. That should enable it to contain the heat produced by the RV770 more easily, or at least vent all of it out of the computer case. But the resemblance stops there. The HD 4870 requires not one but two six-pin PCI Express connectors, and its length has been increased slightly – to 9.5" (24.1 cm) compared to 9" (22.8 cm) for the Radeon HD 3870 and 10.5" (26.7 cm) for the GeForce GTX 260. Also, its fan is not the Arctic Cooling model made up of straight blades, but a return to the more traditional multi-fin type.

We used the Sapphire model of the card to run these tests. The box includes a 2-GB standard USB key in the brand’s colors, PowerDVD 7 OEM with six channels, Cyberlink DVD Suite 5 and the full version of 3DMark06. The USB key is a plus, but it would have been nice to throw in a game, given the segment this card is aimed at.

The TestThe setup for this round of tests was the same as for our article on the Radeon HD 4850.

Test Configuration:

  • Asus P5E3 Deluxe (Intel X38)
  • Intel Core 2 Quad QX6850 (3 GHz)
  • Crucial 2 x 1 GB DDR3 1333 MHz 7-7-7-20
  • Western Digital WD5000AAKS
  • Asus 12x DVD drive
  • Cooler Master Real Power Pro 850W
  • Windows XP, Vista, Vista SP1
  • ForceWare 177.39 beta (9800 GTX +)
  • ForceWare 177.34 beta (GTX 260 and 280)
  • ForceWare 175.16 WHQL (9800 GTX, 9800 GX2, 8800 Ultra)
  • Catalyst 8.7 beta (HD 4850, HD 4870)
  • Catalyst 8.6 WHQL (HD 3870)
  • Catalyst 8.5 WHQL (HD 3870 X2)