So as we just learned, the single-GPu flagship product from AMD is the radeon HD 4870 series cards. You will notice that AMD's board partners will have higher clock frequencies on this product boosting out some more performance. The core/shader domain is clocked at 750 MHz (default reference clock).
This product has been armed with GDDR5 memory and that certainly makes a difference. Typically accumulated GDDR5 has much higher frequency based memory versus tight timings. This memory will get the product an overall peak bandwidth of 3.6 Gbps. And that's just fast (GDDR3 on 4850 = 2.0 Gbps). Though the real clock frequency is 900 MHz, the outcome in effective bandwidth is the sustained data rate x4. See, the memory frequency is double that of double data rate. This will give the 4870 an astounding 115.2GB/s at 3600 MHz, while still being on the 256-bit memory bus.
Faster clocks and memory obviously will also result into a slightly higher peak wattage power consumption and therefore it's consuming roughly 50 Watts more than the 4850; at 160watt, yet also it does create more heat.
The Palit Radeon HD 4870 Sonic Dual Edition is something else though. The card has a dual bios design, and you can switch between the two BIOSes with the help of a little micro-switch. In normal mode (standard) the card will have a reference core frequency of 750 MHz and GDDR5 memory at 3.8 GHz.
Sonic standard Memory / Core Clock: 3800MHz (950 x 4) / 750 MHz
Once you select the second BIOS, the card will get slightly higher clock-frequencies at 4GHz (4x 1 GHz) memory and 775 MHz on the core frequency. It's overclocking done easy. Yet we fail to see why the user would switch back to normal mode after selecting the turbo mode. We bet that everybody will leave the turbo mode, the default setting.
Secondly you just have to notice the dual fan cooling system on Palit Radeon HD 4870 Sonic Dual Edition.
Obviously included for better thermals, as the Radeon 4800 series do get really hot. The left side PWM fan will adjust its fan speed dependent on GPU temperature, which allows the cooling system to work more effectively; the right side fan will stay in low RPM mode to provide sufficient airflow to cool the power area. This cooling block has a full cooper base and three heat pipes for better thermal efficiency.
Due to the cooler this product is based on a dual-slot design. Unfortunately the cooler does not exhaust hot air outside the PC.
Features wise we see the same stuff. The new UVD 2.0 engine supporting dual-stream decoding (Blu-ray 2.0 standard), 7.1 Channel lossless sound pass-through over HDMI, DirectX 10.1 and backwards compatibility. Last but not least, the card actually comes with a Display port connector. Great to see, now we just need monitors that have them :)
Bundled we see the following:
Radeon HD 4870
Molex to 6-pin power converter (1x)
As you can see, the bundle is very scarce. Though you do get an optimized product and well, everything you need to get going. One bog no-no. Only one Molex to 6-pin power converter is included. And you'll have two 6-pin connectors on the card. As a manufacturer you should include two of these. So make sure your power supply has at the very least one native 6-pin power connector for PCIe graphics cards.
Palit Radeon HD 4870 Sonic Dual Edition review Every now and then there is a manufacturer out there that tries to do something special with a product. What's different then you likely ask for this Palit graphics card ? Well, the 1st thing you'll notice is a turbo switch, which allows you to select a second BIOS in an overclocked product state, we actually spot a display-port connector and next to that .. the USS enterprise actually was mounted on-top of the GPU as this product my friends, has one big cooler mounted on top of it.