HIS Radeon HD 4870 X2 2048MB review
Posted by Hilbert Hagedoorn on: 10/29/2008 02:00 PM [ 0 comment(s) ]
We reviewed a good number of the X2 cards already, and after each benchmark session I am impressed. It really is extraordinary how much pixels this card can poop out with each second that passes. Really impressive.
I do stand by my original opinion though that it is inevitable you will run into some troubles with an X2. The biggest problem right now is that ATI uses game profiles in their drivers to apply optimal settings for multi-gpu configurations. Which is perfectly fine. The downside however is simple, they do now allow users to create their own profiles. And if a certain profile is not in the driver, then the X2 will kick back to rendering with one GPU only. So with new games that are not yet profiles in the driver, you'll miss out on half the performance and that sucks, until the new driver is released that is.
We've discussed this with ATI a couple of times already, and the good news is .. user-profiles will be included in future ATI drivers. Unfortunately I have no idea when that will actually happen. The second negative for the X2 is definitely heat. Each GPU reaches roughly 85 Degrees C (185 degrees F) pretty easily. By itself not a an issue, but you now have two GPUs dumping that heat and as you'll learn, that's a lot of heat for the card to dispose outside that PC.
Fortunately, these two nags are also the only nags the product has. The positives outweigh them easily ! The GPUs are responsible for an incredible amount of horsepower. The AIBs combine that with a massive 1GB per GPU framebuffer which makes the product way more future proof and then there's the gaming experience. Good gawd man .. it's just beautiful to observe what kind of horsepower you have under the hood.
It's a bit like a muscle car, a tad heavy and obnoxious .. but has pure power harbors in that engine, and when you put that pedal to the metal you just know what you invested in.
A good example is STALKER Clear Sky. 2560x1600 in DX10 enhanced full dynamic light mode produces an average frame rate of 40 FPS. Now I dare you to enable these settings as well and try it out, only then you'll understand the brute force approach this card has.
HIS has an outstanding product in their hands which I hope for them, will sell well. Fair enough, it is a run of the mill reference product. But the bundle makes up for a lot. I soon hope to see the X2 products drop under 499 after which the true value will kick in. Each time we test an X2 we are impressed, and this time it was no different. Very much recommended, if it suits your budget of course.
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