The conclusion can be quite simple. Of course HIS has another classic in their hands with this ICE4+ Turbo model. Though not perfect, we liked it very much. Next to all the customizations from the PCB to the cooling, it also has a little extra bite against the GeForce GTX 260 Core 216 cards as it was overclocked slightly.
What I'm not used to from HIS is a noisy product. To date, all of their products have been silent. And the IceQ4+ cooler therefore caught me off guard a little. Once that GPU gets hot, the RPM rises to ~2500, and exactly at that threshold it really starts to move around a lot of air, making it just as noisy as the reference cooler. The positive here however is that it cools better than the reference cooler. So that was the one thing that did strike me as odd, nothing major or extreme though.
That aside, we have an eradicator card here. The 4870 ICE4+ Turbo chews up, as you guys have seen, gaming frame rates easily. Thanks to it's design, you can also tweak a little more out of it and yet again gain roughly 10% extra performance.
The good thing is, HIS isn't offering the product at a much higher price. Expect to drop a tenner or two more and that's it. So from that point of view, that's good value. The big choice obviously for you will be whether or not to go for a 512 or 1024 MB model. Well, prices just dropped and the regular 512 MB 4870 is now available at 229 USD/EUR. This 1024 MB model would probably cost you something like 249 USD/EUR.
In this high-end segment I'd say yeah, drop the extra dough and go for the 1024 MB of video memory. Especially the newer DX10 titles seem to love the extra frame buffer to work in. Though you will not see substantial performance differences at lower resolutions, at higher resolutions you will. Also think of it as an investment for the future, as graphics card evolution has proven time after time... games are getting more and more hungry for video memory. I'm however not in control of your budget and certainly a 512 MB card below 1920x1200 will get you 95% of the performance just as well.
The Radeon HD 4870 1024MB IceQ4+ Turbo is next to being a mouth full of words, worth every penny and there's no doubt in my mind you'll absolutely adore playing your games with it as it'll guarantee you high framerates, high resolutions and high image quality at a very fair price. It's an absolutely lovely product.
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