Graphics Cards Guide

ATI Radeon HD 4870 512MB DDR5 (Reference Card) review

ATI Radeon HD 4870 512MB GDDR5 - Inching for the Apex

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DAMMIT, They Are Back!

DAMMIT, They Are Back!

Grabbing the headlines this month with a flurry of product launches and announcements on all fronts, AMD looks to be back in the thick of the action. It's still early to give the verdict about some of these developments but they certainly give substance to the upbeat tune that AMD was singing to the media recently. Following our review of AMD's new 65W TDP quad-core Phenoms, we return again today to graphics with the first GDDR5 equipped graphics card, the Radeon HD 4870.

As you would have known from our article on the Radeon HD 4850, the new Radeon HD 4800 series has restored the balance to the Force, we mean graphics scene, and NVIDIA has been forced to get more competitive (and realistic) about its prices. Having a smaller die at a 55nm manufacturing process allows ATI to price its GPUs at such competitive prices, while its strategy of relying on multi-GPU configurations to combat NVIDIA's more powerful single GPUs look quite feasible, at least from the CrossFireX performance benchmarks.

Since we have already looked at the architecture of the Radeon HD 4800 series previously, we won't be covering that here and instead, go right to the card itself and the benchmarks. Of course, before that, here's what you can expect to find on the Radeon HD 4870. Essentially, it is a higher clocked 4850 that uses GDDR5 memory. This new memory format has a higher overall data transfer rate; it's about four times the memory clock so 900MHz on the Radeon HD 4870 works out to be 3600MHz effectively, giving it the most bandwidth of any single ATI card past or present. (While 3600MHz is not exactly accurate, it's a fair way of stating the 'clock speed' such that we can compare ATI and NVIDIA using the same measurement scale.)