Summing up this test session, I want to note that Catalyst 8.7, the first official driver for the RV770-based graphics card series, did not allow the new cards to show their full potential. Particularly, the performance of my card is low in 3DMark Vantage and Unigine Tropics Demo, in Devil May Cry 4, S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky and Grand Theft Auto IV. Catalyst 8.10 and 8.11 are faster than version 8.7 and equal between each other. And the last driver of the last year, Catalyst 8.12, indeed increases the card’s performance in such games as Grand Theft Auto IV, Lost Planet: Colonies, Far Cry 2, Unreal Tournament 3 (when FSAA is enabled) and World in Conflict. Unfortunately, like in the previous versions, the new version does not have the ATI Avivo Video Converter working properly (according to monitoring tools, the GPU load was less than 10% during encoding whereas the CPU load was over 80%). That’s not a big problem considering the quality of the video content delivered by that codec, though.
A few words must be said about the HIS Radeon HD 4870 IceQ 4+ Turbo 1GB card I tested the drivers with. On the downside, this card has a faulty BIOS which makes its cooler too noisy. Then, the programmers neglected the option of lowering the card’s frequencies in 2D mode. As a result, the card consumes more power and has higher temperatures than it would have otherwise. The accessories are scanty, too. I guess a modern game or the exclusive screwdriver from HIS would come in handy here. But if you don’t care about free bonuses and think yourself capable of perfecting the card’s BIOS (perhaps using my edited version), the HIS Radeon HD 4870 IceQ 4+ Turbo will be an appealing product with a stylish shining cooler. Overclockability varies from sample to sample, but I want to note the superb overclockability of my sample’s memory and the low overclocking potential of its core.