Radeon HD 4870 X2 preview
Posted by Hilbert Hagedoorn on: 07/20/2008 01:00 PM [ 0 comment(s) ]
Alright then, time to wrap up this preview. As stated, there where some limitations enforced on this preview, mainly related to the number of benchmarks we can present. In our full review we'll obviously include the entire test-suite. But let me start by saying, all other benchmarks we took, were showing very similar performance. So for me it's simple, if this product launches at a 449-499 USD price level, AMD will have a unadulterated hit in the high-end segment.
Well, this was an interesting test for sure. The one thing each time I stumble into when I do something Crossfire/SLI/X2 related is ask myself the question: should you really be comparing a single GPU based product against a dual GPU based product? Is that even a fair thing to do ? The answer I'm afraid is two-fold. I strongly feel that I have more confidence in a single-GPU based graphics card mainly due to the fact you'll have much less worries to think about. See with Dual-GPU gaming you'll always run into slight irritations; the fact that sometimes a game is not yet supported or working at all in Crossfire. Also there's other stuff to consider, power consumption is doubled up but also .. your graphics solution will all of the sudden will create 2x more heat.
So that's a bit of a culprit there. Looking at it from the other side, if we take a GeForce GTX 280 (as presented in the preview) and compare that directly to bang for buck gaming performance, then the single-GPU solution is being annihilated. So this is a bit like comparing oranges and apples, both nice fruits .. yet very different. See, I tend to believe in the single-GPU based products, but just can't ignore what we tested today, the R700, is an extremely powerful graphics solution that will offer much better gaming performance.
Once the R700 arrived I spent a complete day with it just to test and see how many problems we'd run into. Fact is, I had close to none. A lot of games that where not shown in this preview due to an enforced limitation, ran all really well. I mean, two weeks ago we published a Crossfire review and stumbled into some issues with for example Frontlines: Fuel of War, with the X2 it worked flawlessly. So yeah, the overall experience was just splendid, with one exception, Crysis. But after checking with some colleagues .. I noticed that pretty much everyone is having the same difficulties with that title, Crossfire is a very hard thing to achieve on Crysis. And that has to be my word of advice to you guys .. for Crossfire to be able to kick in, AMD must update it's driver, and you'll need to install them on a very regular basis. I've had a lot of critique in the past on Crossfire, valid criticism as only the popular games editors mostly used had good Crossfire support. With the new 48x0 X2 cards we think the tide definitely has turned. But this will only work if AMD will keep it's attention and dedication to it's drivers, for current, past and future games. We'll be monitoring that very closely and keep you guys updated on it.
So with that being said, I'm ending this preview for now ... My experiences with the card have been really good, the performance is flabbergasting. If priced right, this is the new king in the high-end arena of graphics cards. I'm impressed, really impressed. And that's a hard thing for a company to achieve.
We look very forward testing the final retail products with final drivers.
Thanks go out to Antal and Jon from AMD for submitting this sample to undergo a preview.
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