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ATI RADEON HD 4870 X2 (R700) 2x1024MB Preview

A serious threat to NVIDIA.

July 15, 2008



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Performance tests

Testbed configuration

  • Intel Core2 Extreme QX9650 (3000 MHz) CPU
  • Zotac 790i Ultra motherboard on NVIDIA nForce 790i Ultra
  • 2GB DDR3 SDRAM Corsair 2000MHz (CAS (tCL)=5, RAS to CAS delay (tRCD)=5, Row Precharge (tRP)=5, tRAS=15)
  • WD Caviar SE WD1600JD 160GB SATA hard drive
  • Tagan TG900-BZ 900W PSU
  • Windows Vista 32-bit SP1, DirectX 10.1
  • Dell 3007WFP 30-inch monitor
  • ATI CATALYST 8.6; NVIDIA Forceware 175.16 (9xxx series) and 177.34 (GTX 2xx)
  • VSync disabled

Benchmarks

  • 3DMark Vantage 1.00 (FutureMark) - DirectX 10.0, Shaders 4.0, multitexturing, 'Extreme' settings.
  • World In Conflict 1.007 (Massive Entertainment/Sierra) - DirectX 10.0, Shaders 4.0, 'Very High' settings with adjusted AA and AF; run the game, invoke graphics settings and click the test button.

Note that performance charts are located on a dedicated page, because they don't fit a reasonable resolution.

World In Conflict

Performance charts: World In Conflict




3DMark Vantage

Performance charts: 3DMark Vantage



Preliminary conclusions

Though it is obvious that theoretically HD 4870 X2 can be twice as powerful as HD 4870, in real life it outperforms the latter by a factor of x1.5 - x1.8, sometimes less.

Looking at charts and those nice performance values, remember that all dual-GPU cards, be it AMD or NVIDIA, have a serious drawback: GPU load balancing by software. Their performance in games fully depends on drivers. There are many games, in which these superpowerful monsters perform bad, because of one GPU being overloaded and the other being almost free. This causes performance jumps from 5 to 60 fps and can be rather annoying.

But for now we can state that AMD has managed to create the fastest graphics card in the world (in terms of average fps). Just remember that a couple of benchmarks is not everything there is. Graphics cards are optimized in the first place for most popular games and especially 3DMark. If you remember, there were similar issues with HD 3870 X2.

Still, preliminary tests indicate that RADEON HD 4870 X2 has significantly fewer issues related to performance jumps. The reason can be the new PEX bridge as well as improved drivers. Anyway, we'll be delving deeper into this and everything will become clear by the time of announcement.

It's a pity that AMD stopped producing high-end single-GPU solutions comparable to similar products from NVIDIA. Now it only makes mid-end single-GPU cards, pairing them for the high-end segment.

Drawing a preliminary bottom line, we can state that R700 is actually very fast and, despite potential drawbacks, it seriously threatens top solutions from NVIDIA. So, let's wait for its response. And remember that i's are not dotted yet, stay tuned for further tests.


PSU provided by TAGAN,
Monitor provided by NVIDIA.

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