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Conclusion

It’s time to sum up our experience with the HIS HD 4870 X2 HDMI 2GB GDDR5 graphics card. It is hard to say something new about its performance because this card is a precise copy of the reference Radeon HD 4870 X2 in everything including specifications and has all of the latter’s highs and lows. Yes, this card delivers unprecedented performance in games, especially at resolutions above 1600x1200/1680x1050 pixels. And it just has no rival at 2560x1600.

Confirming ATI’s technological superiority, this card is not free from drawbacks, however. First of all, it has a terrific level of power consumption and heat dissipation. And second, its performance, like that of any multi-GPU solution, depends on driver optimizations. The high level of high dissipation leads to a high level of noise. The cooler with a rather modest heatsink works at its limit to dissipate 260 watts of heat. The GeForce GTX 280 has somewhat worse performance at resolutions up to 1920x1200 but looks very economical in comparison. Thus, the HIS HD 4870 X2 targets those users who need the highest performance whatever the price, power consumption or noise may accompany it. From this point of view, the card is superb, especially as the second problem of multi-GPU solutions – the dependence on software optimizations – does not show up often with the new generation of ATI’s dual-chip solutions.

Just as we had expected before this test session, the Radeon HD 4870 X2 is no good for overclocking. ATI’s engineers have already squeezed everything out of it. This can be illustrated with the summary diagrams:

The increase of the GPU frequencies by 50MHz provided a certain effect which amounted to a 10% increase in performance in some tests. However, in most tests there was a performance growth of only 4-5%. We don’t think this result is worth the trouble of overclocking. Moreover, the biggest effect is observed at a resolution of 2560x1600, which is used by few gamers. At the lower resolutions there is a small or zero increase in performance.

The packaging and accessories of the HIS card are good, but the accessories might reflect the product’s elite status more. Particularly, the box does not contain a power adapter for an 8-pin PCI Express 2.0 connector and software for playing HD video. The former accessory is important because the power consumption on this channel is almost two times as high as the load capacity of the 6-pin power connector (75W). The lack of a HD video player is odd considering the pricing of the product.

So, the HIS HD 4870 X2 HDMI 2GB GDDR5 is going to suit gamers who want the highest speed possible and have a 24-inch or larger monitor. For other people this performance may prove to be redundant, especially as this device is highly uneconomical, because the card’s resources are often not utilized fully at resolutions below 1920x1200 pixels.

Highs:

  • Today’s best performance in contemporary games
  • Excellent performance in high resolutions
  • Outperforms Nvidia GeForce GTX 280 in most benchmarks
  • Wide range of supported FSAA modes
  • Best edge detect CFAA quality in the industry
  • Excellent quality of anisotropic filtering
  • 1600 ALU, 80 texture processors and 32 render back ends
  • DirectX 10.1 and Shader Model 4.1 support
  • Fully-fledged hardware HD video decoding
  • High-quality HD video post-processing with scalability
  • Built-in 8-channel audio controller with HD support
  • Sound over HDMI
  • No compatibility issues

Lows:

  • Cooling system works at the top of its potential
  • High noise in 3D mode
  • Extremely high power consumption and heat dissipation
  • Maximum performance depends on software CrossFire support
  • No 8-pin PCIe 2.0 power adapter and software HD player among bundled accessories
  • Dependence of multi-GPU configurations on software optimizations
 
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