Radeon HD 4870 X2 and Crossfire review

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3 - R700 Technology continued | PowerColor

R700 Technology continued

So then, back to reality. Both the 4850 and 4870 products utilize the same chip, make no mistake. But there are two products launched today, so let's look into the reference specification of each product.

Radeon HD 4850 X2The Radeon HD 4850 X2 will be the cheaper part of the two, but make no mistake. The two GPUs combined give this product an amazing amount of punch. The differences are subtle. First off, the product is the cheaper part because it uses slower memory, GDDR3. The reference model still comes with a 2x 1GB framebuffer. but I do expect to see board-partners release a 2x 512MB version for an even better price. The product will be clocked at a core and shader domain frequency of 625 MHz. The memory will be clocked at 2 GHz effectively.

Mind you that when you think about it, this is a cost effective board, yet will kick out a hefty 2 TFLOPS of raw performance. With it's GDDR3 memory and slightly conservative clock speeds you can expect a maximum TDP (peak power consumption) of 230 Watt. And that is just not bad.

At the introduction the pricing of this product will be roughly 399 USD / 275 EUR.

Radeon HD 4870 X2
The big Kahuna, the mighty one, the card with the biggest balls. The Radeon HD 4870 X2 will by far be the fastest consumer graphics card anno summer 2008 and it is mighty impressive. The combination of the two RV770 processors used and the excellent bandwidth the GDDR5 memory provides for these graphics processors to do it's workload in, is breathtaking.

Once the Radeon HD 4850/4870/RV770 was released, NVIDIA was like 'WTF?'. This product was the reason for NVIDIA to immediately drop it's prices on three of their products. The 9800 GTX, and GTX 260 & 280. This fact alone should tell you how competitive the Radeon HD 4870 really is. And now AMD put two of them on one board. So you'll now get to play around with 2.4 TFLOPS of RAW computing power.

You will notice that AMD's board partners will have higher clock frequencies on this product compared to the 4850 X2, boosting out some more performance. Yet more importantly, this is the product is equipped with with GDDR5 memory. And GDDR5 seems to rock for sure.

There are some distinct advantages to be found for GDDR5 memory. It's has much higher frequency based memory versus tight timings. GDDR5 memory will leverage overall peak bandwidth to 3.6 Gbps / 3600 MHz effectively. And that's just fanatical fast (GDDR3 on 4850 = 2.0 Gbps). And heck, it's just the beginning. I will not be surprised to see GDDR5 running at 4,5 maybe even 6 GHz in the upcoming 12 months.

The memory bandwidth is massively important to the RV770, but next to that there is a significant higher clock frequency (opposed to the 4850 X2) for the core/shader domain, 750 MHz will be the default clock frequency and memory wise again... the frequency is 3600 MHz. The TDP for this product is set at 286 Watt, which indeed is quite a lot.

Pricing then, obviously the more expensive memory and higher yielded processors will take it's toll at the pricing and unfortunately it passed the upper 499 USD plafond. The product will have an introduction price set at 549 USD or roughly 349 EUR.

PowerColor Radeon HD 4870 X2
Today we have the opportunity to review an actual retail sample of the Radeon HD 4870 X2 as well. Now before we begin, this sample arrived roughly 16 hours prior to the launch of this article. Yet I promised to include a little excerpt on the TUL/PowerColor product so here we go.

The PowerColor Radeon HD 4870 X2 will run at a stock 750 clock frequency and comes with 2048MB GDDR5 memory (framebuffer). You guessed it already, the product is of course completely reference based, so yes that memory is clocked at 3600 MHz as well. Again, you can expect roughly a 286 Watt peak watt power consumption. At a 549 USD introduction price, it's not the cheapest card on the market today, but a mighty fine one. I do expect the prices to drop under 499,- roughly 4 weeks after launch. Typically this happens when there is enough volume availability of the product.

Last thing I need to mention, included in the box are:

Bundled we see the following:

  • Radeon HD 4870 X2 - 2 GB (2x 1GB per GPU) frame buffer
  • Manual
  • Driver CD + Cyberlink PowerDVD
  • Crossfire connector
  • CRT-DVI dongle
  • DVI-HDMI dongle
  • 3-way RCA analog component cable
  • SVIDEO / Composite dongle
  • 6-pin to 8-pin power converter (1x)

I really like the fact that PowerColor includes a 6-pin to 8-pin power by the way. No every PSU out there has the new 8-pin connector. Software bundle wise I have no clue just yet if anything else will be included. This was a bit of a rush job and all bundled specs have not yet been confirmed. In fact even our driver CD was manually burnt :) Nice looking card for sure, seems to be built with great detail.

If anything else will be included in the box like a game or something, I'll update this page once that info comes in.

** update - it seems that the card comes with a full free version of the game Race Driver: GRID. Great title.

ATI Radeon HD 4870 X2

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