Posted:2008-09-15 By computer news Number of View:230774
HD 4870 X2 VS GTX 280 FULL REVIEW
By :computer news
xtreview is your : Video card - cpu - memory - Hard drive - power supply unit source
Hi-End class graphic card for companies is a matter of prestige. In spite of the comparatively low demand for rapid video cards, whose cost in the last two or three years is practically always higher than 600-700 US dollars, they are a unique orientator for the majority of users. And if a graphic processors from ATi or NVIDIA occupy this throne, then the company is considered as leader , which increase its video card sales in all price segments .
On 12 August, 2008, AMD announced the two-chip video card class hi-End : radeon HD 4870 X2 with the recommanded price 549 US dollars and with the explicit claims on the absolute leadership. Later (in the end of this month) AMD will also release the junior card : radeon HD 4850 X2 with the recommanded price 400 US dollars. Today we will check the performance Of the radeon HD 4870 X2, released by HIS company .
1. Radeon HD 4870 X2 2x1GB
The style of formulation and the box dimensions were the HIS radeon HD 4870 X2 is supplied is pretty similar to the one used in radeon HD 4850 and HD 4870 (from the same producer).
On the face box side it is possible to reveal information about the video card model , its interface, volume and type of the installed video memory. However, the back side include the card specifications , description of system requirements, and also information about the special features (graphic technologies) . This HIS video card is produced in China.
Now here is the video card and its accessories :
adapter with S -Video
one adapter with DVI to HDTV;
one adapter 15 pin DVI/D -Sub;
adapter- fan-out dVI-to-HDMI;
flexible connecting bridge for CrossFire;
CD with drivers
user instruction ;
coupon to download the games series half-Life 2.
The video card dimensions are 269 X 109 X 37 mm. Note the weight of this video card (more than one and half kilograms). Perhaps, this is the heaviest graphic accelerator in the history.
Practically the entire face side of HIS radeon HD 4870 X2 is covered with the cooling system:
Certainly, before us the reference design and PCB.
HIS radeon HD 4870 X2 is equipped with PCI-Express x16 interface version 2.0, two ports DVI- I (dual-link) with high resolutions support , and also S -Video output :
In the upper video card part it is possible to reveal two port for the connection of additional power – six and 8 pin, interface for CrossFireX:
The power video card part appears as follows:
The Requirements of radeon HD 4870 X2 are high, since the peak required power of this video card can reach 260 watts. For system with two video cards radeon HD 4870 X2 a power units with not less than 750~800 watts is necessary.
Let us look to the Radeon HD 4870 X2 without cooling system:
Here we can see the two graphic processors and the switchboard chip :
Both GPU are located in the same side , and the memory microcircuits are installed in the two sides .
On Radeon HD 4870 X2 are installed two RV770 graphic processors , identical on functionality ( the same GPU as on the usual radeon HD 4870) :
Both GPU are released in Taiwan on 27th week 2008 . The area of each crystals is 256 sq. mm., and the number of transistors is approximately 956 mln. each graphic processors inlude 800 stream processors, 40 textural blocks and 16 Rops blocks . The GPU frequencies in 3d- regime are 750 MHz. Which is interesting, according to the monitoring data , obtained with the aid of GPU- Z utility and last rivaTuner version , in the 2d- regime the GPU frequency is reduced to 500 MHz but only for one graphic processor , and the second continues to function at 750 MHz.
In contrast to the Radeon HD 3870 X2, the new video card( HD4870 x2 ) is equipped with chip- switchboard PEX8647 from PLX technology company :
This microcircuit, second generations, possess the possibility of organizing direct data exchange between the two graphic processors and now with support to the doubly larger capacity. Furthermore, in Radeon HD 4870 X2 appeared the data link, named as Sideport, with the capacity of 5 GB per second.
HIS radeon HD 4870 X2 use hynix memory microcircuits :
Chips Marking - H5GQ1H24MJR-T0C, and their default access time is equal to 1.0 ns with the theoretical effective capacity for GDDR5 standard equal to 4000 MHz. But the video memory in HIS radeon HD 4870 X2 functions at 3600 MHz , which completely corresponds to the specifications Of radeon HD 4870 X2 and HD 4870.
This is what GPU- Z utility shows on the first and second graphic processor :
Reference radeon HD 4870 X2 cooler consists on two halves.
Here is the radiators of graphic processors : thick copper base ~5 mm, and thin copper edges with ~25 mm height:
Both radiators are cooled by one fan released in China , the production of NTK technologies inc company :
The fan model CF1275-B30H-C005, consumes up to 12 watts of electric power. The rotation speed is regulated automatically depending on the graphic chip temperature in the range from ~1150 to ~2900 rp/min (according to the monitoring data ).
Let us verify the temperature conditions of video card. The heat up procedure consisted on firefly forest benchmark ( 3DMark 2006 ) at 1920 X 1200 resolution with 4xAAand 16xAF.
Room temperature during the testing was equal to 22 degree Celsiuss. Monitoring the frequency and video card temperature was accomplished with the aid of RivaTuner v2.10
Let us look to the temperature conditions Of radeon HD 4870 X2 :
The monitoring graphs gives the temperature of the hottest GPU . The second processor, in located nearer the fan, and it heat up to only 67 degree Celsiuss. .91 C is consdresd as normal for high end dual chip video card in our days . But here the video card power elements heat up to 110 degree Celsiuss!!!!!!! .
In sprite of the high temperature we checked the overclocking capability of this dual chip video card . We used the utility AMD GPU clock tool version 0.9.8. Without loss in stability the card could stably function at 820/3800 MHz frequencies :
Which is interesting, the temperature of hottest core grew only by 1 degree Celsius :
Other Video cards :
In today\'s review we used the graphic processor from NVIDIA : GeForce GTX 280 1 Gb; one Radeon HD 4870 512 Mb and also the video card GeForce 8800 GTX :-) .
XFX GeForce GTX 280 1 Gb
The video card box is designed in the typical XFX style :
Here is the card accessories :
Note the card come with the game : assassins creed, The rest is completely typical for video card of this class. Note this is a completely reference GTX 280 card:
SLI- regime port, audio out, and also connection for additional power:
DVI- I (dual-link) and S -Video output:
Note this card is factory overclocked : Thus, the graphic processor functions at 670 frequencies and the memory @ 1250 MHz or +11.7/+ 12.5% over the default frequencies 602/1296 MHz:
Without loss in stability it was possible to overclock this card to the frequencies 702/1512/2754 MHz:
In this case its temperature conditions proved to be sufficiently modest for Hi-End of video card:
Note the fan speed during the test did not exceed ~1800 rp/min (using rivaTuner 2.10 the fan speed value for GTX 260/280 must be multiplied by two), conseqonsly the noise level proved to be sufficiently low . But if we boost the fan speed to the maximum, then noise becomes more explicit, but the graphic processor and the video card temperatures as a whole are substantially reduced:
HIS radeon HD 4870 512 Mb
The Second video card is theorcly the half of the radeon HD 4870 x2 :
For this tests we had immediately two video card with come with the completly standard for HD 4870 frequencies:
Here is the temperature result of the graphic processor using the default cooling and setting:
85 degree Celsiuss in the load peak, this, certainly lower than the hottest GPU two-chip card from ATi, but also about 7 degrees higher than the GeForce GTX 280, whose fan is moreover quieter. Now let us increase the fan rotation speed (to 2500 RPM) and tests again:
In this case it is possible to observe a considerable temperature drop (approximately up to 14 degree Celsiuss), and if we increase the fan rotation speed to the maximum ~4800 rp/min, then the graphic processor temperature is reduced completely to 57 degree Celsiuss:
In this case the cooler became champion in the loudest fan competitions :-) .
We also tried the after market cooler Thermaltake duOrb which proved to be weak for this video card cooling :
But here using arctic cooling accelero S1 with the extremely quiet turbo- module did not allow the graphic processor temperature to rise above 71 degree Celsiuss:
Thus, on the best of two video card the graphic processor stably functioned at 845 MHz, and the second proved to be less successful, since its chip could work only at 820 MHz (using stock cooling). The video memory in the first card overclock to 3920 MHz, and is here the second it is better and reached 3980 MHz. In this case GPU- Z utility demonstrated some wrong frequencies (819235 MHZ !!! ) :-)
XFX geForce 8800 GTX 768 Mb
Finally, the last participant in our today tests , XFX geForce 8800 GTX 768 Mb . This card was selected to compare current card with past generation 3D acclerator.
XFX GeForce 8800 GTX 768 Mb has a reference design:
Frequency configuration is also standard for this video card class:
Temperature conditions with automatic speed control proved to be the following:
Sufficiently hot video card even at default frequencies. Note : when the cooling system was left the maximum the graphic processor temperature is reduced by 6 degree Celsiuss :
At such high temperatures it is not a good idea to check the video card overclocking potential . We used Arctic cooling accelero xtreme 8800, which reduced the graphic processor temperature to 65 degrees in the load peak. In this case the ambiant temperature did not exceed 50 degree Celsiuss. The card in this case was overclocked to 653/1530/2108 MHz:
3. Technical characteristics, recommanded cost, noise level and energy consumption
The technical characteristics Of radeon HD 4870 X2 are presented in the comparison with other video cards in the following table :
NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GTX
ATi radeon HD 4870
ATi radeon HD 4870 X2
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 280
2 x RV770 (TSMC)
Technical process, nm
90 (low- k)
55 (low- k)
55 (low- k)
65 (low- k)
Core Area ( sq. mm
2 x 256
Number of transistors, mln.
2 x 956
Frequency of graphic processor , MHz
575 (1350 shader)
602 (1 296 shader)
Effective memory frequency , MHz
Memory Volume , Mb
2 x 1024
Type of supported memory
Memory Bus, bits
PCI-Express x16 (v2.0)
PCI-Express x16 (v2.0)
PCI-Express x16 (v2.0)
PCI-Express x16 (v2.0)
Number of standardized processors , pieces
2 x 800
Number of textural blocks, pieces
2 x 40
Number of (ROPs) blocks , pieces
2 x 16
Support pixel shaders/vertex Shaders
Video memory bandwidh , Gb/s
2 x 115.0
maximum fill rate speed , Gpiks./s
2 x 12.0
Theoretical maximum sample
textures speed Gteks./s
2 x 30.0
power in 3d operation mode , watts
Requirements for power unit, Watts
Video card Dimensions ; reference design, mm )
269 x 99 x 38
244 X 99 X 34
269 X 99 X 37
269 X 99 X 40
2 X DVI- I (Dual-Link), TV-Out, HDTV-Out, HDCP
support SLI (3- way SLI)
cost, in dollars
Here is the result observed for the noise level test :
If we analyze the results then we can say that the noise level of reference cooling systems is the most urgent update.
Here are the energy consumption results :
The level of energy consumption from the overclocked Radeon HD 4870 X2 impresses , approximately 100 watts more that the GeForce GTX 280 and up to 260 watts higher than the radeon HD 4870 system . However, quality power unit with 550 watts, for this configuration is completely sufficient.
The processor was overclocked to 4.33 GHz with 1.55V(bios) in this test:
The memory worked at 962 MHz, with the lowered taming 5-4- 4-12 (Perfomance level = 9) with 2.10 v.
Due to issues with Windows vista x64 SP1 and some game (the radeon HD 4870 X2 did not work correctly ) , all tests were exexuted in the operating system Windows vista ultimate edition x86 SP1 . The following drivers was used :
The video card performance was checked in three resolution : 1280 x 1024, 1680 X 1050 and 1920/1900 X 1200, in the following applications, which consists on two synthetic benchmark and eight different games:
3DMark 2006(Direct 3d 9/10) : build 1.1.0, default settings and 1920 X 1200 + AF16x + aA4x;
3DMark vantage(Direct 3d 10) : v1.0.1, perfomance and extreme profiles ;
S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of chernobyl(Direct 3d 9) : game version 1.006, AF x16 and other maximum quality setting set to max ;
World in conflict(Direct 3d 10) : game version 184.108.40.206 (b89), very high, UI texture quality = compressed; Water reflection size = 512; DirectX 10 rendering is activated;
Enemy territory: Quake wars(OpenGL 2.0) : game version 1.5, the maximum setting;
Call of duty 4: Modern warfare MP(Direct 3d 9) : game version 1.7.568, full max;
Unreal tournament 3(Direct 3d 9) : game version 1.3, the maximum setting , Motion blur and Hardware physics are activated,
Crysis(Direct 3d 10) : game version 1.2.1, High
May\'s Devil Cry 4(Direct 3d 10) : game version 1.0, the maximum quality setting (Super high)
S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear sky(Direct 3d 10) : game version 1.004, improved complete illumination DX10, anisotropic filtration x16 and other maximum quality setting .
As always, first we will examine the test results in two synthetic benchmark.
In both synthetic benchmark , video cards were arranged exactly according to the order of their recommanded cost. Hi-End video card from the past generation GeForce 8800 GTX everywhere is inferior to the Radeon HD 4870. Note in the first 3DMark vantage test the Radeon HD 4870 X2 showed some artefacts . Most likely, problem lies in catalyst drivers.
S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of chernobyl (Direct 3d 9)
In the old game version S.T.A.L.K.E.R , the two-chip Radeon HD 4870 X2 does not leave the geForce GTX 280 any chances . At the same time the minimum FPS rate on the new ATi card is often lower than the GeForce GTX 280, although this fact does not affect the gaming process.
World in conflict (Direct 3d 10)
But here in the popular game world in conflict the perfomance is somewhat different. In the pure speed regime (without AA and AF) , the video card are limited by the central processor power (Note this is our overclocked Core 2 Duo @4.33 GHz!). As soon as the resolution is increased the difference in speed became clear . Here the Radeon HD 4870 again is faster than the good old GeForce 8800 GTX.
Enemy territory: Quake wars (OpenGL 2.0)
A very interesting results in the game enemy territory: Quake wars. Without AA and AF the GeForce GTX 280 occurs faster than the Radeon HD 4870 X2 (with exception of 1920 X 1200 resultion ). However, with filtration activated , all radically changes. The Radeon HD 4870 X2 wins, moreover by a large margin ! .
Call of duty 4: Modern warfare MP (Direct 3d 9)
Note that on the first picture @ 1280 X 1024 resultion the single Radeon HD 4870 is faster that the two-chip HD 4870 X2. This is due to the central processor : in this case the Radeon HD 4870 X2 takes away more system resources, than the single-processor Radeon HD 4870 . .
Unreal tournament 3 (Direct 3d 9)
Unreal tournament 3 actually proved to be the only today game , were GeForce GTX 280 demonstrates a advantage over the Radeon HD 4870 X2. But in the heaviest regime, the Radeon HD 4870 X2 back again the lead.
Crysis (Direct 3d 10)
In Crysis the situation changes depending on the video card load , the higher it is, the greater is the advantage Of radeon HD 4870 X2. The single chip Radeon HD 4870 is here noticeably faster than the GeForce 8800 GTX.
May\'s Devil Cry 4 Bench (Direct 3d 10)
The benchmark in May\'s Devil Cry 4 game revails the power of two chip video card over its competitors .
S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear sky (Direct 3d 10)
New game with the improved image quality and directX 10 support :
Let us look to the results:
The superiority of Radeon HD 4870 X2 above all video cards impresses. The GeForce GTX 280 is incapable to compete not only with two-processor video card, but also with the even cheaper radeon HD 4870.
The radeon HD 4870 X2 2x1 GB appears the most rapid video card currently . In essence, this the only video card, capable today to propose a comfortable frame -rate in all games without exception in high resolutions and quality regimes (1920 x 1200, AF16x, AA4x).
It is necessary also to speak also about the comfort degree in games using Radeon HD 4870 X2 2X1 GB. In many test we can see that minmium frame rate of this card is usually slower than the GeForce GTX 280 .
Further drivers improvement and bios update , after introducing more economical regime for both graphic processors simultaneously , will help the HD 4870X2 to be a pure leader .
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