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PowerColor HD 4870X2 2GB GDDR5: Package and Accessories

The PowerColor HD 4870X2 2GB GDDR5 graphics card (the AX4870X2 2GBD5-H model; we’ll call it just PowerColor HD 4870 X2 hereafter) comes in a medium-sized box, even though it is a top-end solution. Well, the supplier pays less for storage and the buyer will pay less for the card. It sounds fair enough. There is nothing extraordinary about the exterior design of the box. There is a picture of yet another girl (or is it a boy?) with a sword on the face side of it. Graphics card makers are so fond of such pictures and use them so abundantly that those girls or boys just fail to attract any user attention anymore.

The package is quite informational but there is one tricky caption. The card is said to offer 2 gigabyte of graphics memory which is not actually true with regards to homogeneous multi-GPU solutions like the Radeon HD 4870 X2. 3D applications can use only half the total amount of memory or 1 gigabyte in this case. That’s not a problem since Nvidia’s flagship product GeForce GTX 280 comes with 1 gigabyte of graphics memory, too. It is a normal amount of memory for a modern graphics card that is positioned in the premium class.

The graphics card and its accessories lie in the cardboard compartments of the box. We found the following things in there:

  • DVI-I → D-Sub adapter
  • DVI-I → HDMI adapter
  • Mini-DIN → YPbPr adapter
  • Mini-DIN → Composite adapter
  • CrossFire bridge
  • Brief user’s manual
  • CD disk with drivers

The accessories are rather odd for a $549 product as well as for the year of 2008. There are two rather unnecessary adapters for analog video connections, for example. While YPbPr ensures an acceptable image quality, the Composite format is now obsolete and is hardly used by modern display devices. Instead, we’d like to have a power adapter (2x6-pin PCI Express → 1x8-pin PCI Express) because not all modern PSUs that may be used together with the Radeon HD 4870 X2 are equipped with 8-pin connectors for graphics cards. For example, the Enermax Liberty ELT620AWT power supply, a good but not new model, doesn’t have such connectors.

There is also no software for playing HD video that would match the capabilities of ATI’s UVD 2 video-processor. Such software may cost you $50 and more if purchased separately while its OEM version for graphics card makers would be cheaper and wouldn’t affect the cost of the product much. We guess a HD video player must be included with $500 graphics cards. People who shell out such a nice sum of money should be able to use every feature of the product they purchase without any additional investment.

Overall, the packaging of the PowerColor HD 4870 X2 gives us no real cause for being critical. Although without any originality in design, it is not too big and easily fits into a plastic bag. The accessories might have been better, though. We are especially disappointed at the lack of a software player that would support HD video and the hardware capabilities of ATI’s GPUs in video decoding and processing. The lack of a power adapter for an 8-pin PCI Express connector is not good, either.

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