The development strategy that focuses on high-performance mainstream graphics cards priced below $200 has proved its worth, but the question of having the world’s most advanced graphics solution is still important for both giants of the graphics hardware market. Such a solution serves to advertise the technical potential of the developer company. Today, the ATI Radeon HD 4870 X2 is the fastest graphics card available, but it relies on ATI CrossFireX technology in order to show its full potential. The Nvidia GeForce GTX 280, on its part, is the fastest among single-chip single-PCB graphics cards.
As we found out in our tests, the Radeon HD 4850 CrossFire subsystem can be a worthy opponent to the GeForce GTX 280, and ATI is expected to introduce a new Radeon HD X2 card with two 4850 chips to defeat Nvidia completely.
The value of a Radeon HD 4870 CrossFire subsystem as an independent solution could have only been high before the shipments of Radeon HD 4870 X2 and Nvidia’s subsequent price-cuts because its total cost is $600. Added to that is the cost of a CrossFire-supporting mainboard. However, adding a second Radeon HD 4870 to your existing one may be an option. Therefore testing a Radeon HD 4870 CrossFire configuration should present a practical interest to some users, and we are going to perform such testing using 15 popular games and two versions of Futuremark’s 3DMark.
We will also discuss the PCB design of the Radeon HD 4870 and of its cooling system as we didn’t do that in detail in our previous reports. We’ll also talk about the power consumption, noise and thermal parameters of this graphics card.
The ATI Radeon HD 4870 CrossFire will be built out of a Club 3D HD 4870 512MB GDDR5 and a VisionTek Radeon HD 4870 card. Both are copies of the reference sample from ATI but differ in packaging and accessories.