ATI Radeon HD 4870 X2 - R700 Preview: AMD's Fastest Single Cardby Derek Wilson on July 14, 2008 12:00 AM EST
- Posted in
Picking The Games
AMD did have some stipulations for our R700 preview, they were as follows:
1. Previews can be posted any time after 12:01 am on Monday, July 14th.
2. Previews can include benchmarks of any combination of artificial tests or games up to a maximum of four.
3. As PowerPlay has not been enabled in the BIOS on your engineering sample, please stay away from Idle Power tests at this point.
4. In the interest of leaving something for the full NDA lift in August, we'd ask you to keep this high level and not go deep on the architecture at this point.
Today is Monday, July 14th, so we met the first requirement. AMD didn't give us much detail on the architecture, so check there as well. PowerPlay hasn't been enabled but it will in the final card, fair enough, we will only test load power. The second point was the tricky one though - AMD only wanted us to test four games, although it was up to us to choose which ones.
Of course, we did take the opportunity to do some internal testing in order to find out what tests were the best to present. For the most part (yes there are exceptions) the R700 performed similarly to what we would expect from 4870 in CrossFire. Therefore, we would refer our readers to our RV770 review for a general idea of what to expect from R700 in the worst case.
AMD has said that they are still improving CrossFire support and performance for many games and this preview driver doesn't necessarily reflect the performance we will see at launch in all games. This puts us in a bit of a tight spot, as reporting numbers for the games that currently don't benefit (or don't benefit much) from R700 over 4870 could be attributed to the prerelease driver. This very fact limits our ability to fairly report on the potential downside of R700.
In light of that, to make the best of this limited preview, we feel that we both have to report on games that do benefit from CrossFire and underline the fact that there are games out there that do not benefit or that do not benefit significantly from CrossFire (or SLI or multiGPU in general). At launch, we will try to do a much better job of representing the potential downside: we are currently asking our readers and our forum members for feedback on what games they play or know of that do not benefit from multiGPU so that we can take a look at them and help fairly represent the downside of any multiGPU solution. Please help us out if you have the information or the time to do so.
Looking at games that benefit from CrossFire or that benefit differently with R700 than a multi-card solution, we decided that it wouldn't be any fun just to show what we've seen over and over in our reviews. We can't avoid Crysis, so that will be included. Oblivion has been a good standby that can still bring cards to their knees at the highest settings. But before we had even contemplated this preview we've been looking at adding a couple new games to our test suite.
We always get requests for MMOs, and Age of Conan is the new hotness. Even though the DX10 version isn't out in the wild yet, we developed a repeatable benchmark for this game and will be using it in this preview. Additionally, flying and racing games are often requested. We won't be adding flight sim in this round, but Race Driver GRID is an incredibly beautiful game that we are happy to add to our test suite.
Again, as we mentioned, R700 does perform similarly to CrossFire, so looking at past 4870 CrossFire results is a fair indication of performance.
Most of our numbers come from our recent RV770 review. For the new games we've added, we used the latest drivers available for all the cards. The beta drivers we have for R700 were used for all AMD parts in Age of Conan and Race Driver GRID.
|CPU||Intel Core 2 Extreme QX9770 @ 3.20GHz
|Motherboard||EVGA nForce 790i SLI
|Video Cards||ATI Radeon HD 4850
ATI Radeon HD 3870 X2
ATI Radeon HD 3870
EVGA GeForce 9800 GTX KO
NVIDIA GeForce 9800 GTX+
NVIDIA GeForce 9800 GTX
NVIDIA GeForce 9800 GX2
NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GTX
NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 280
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 260
|Video Drivers||Catalyst Press Driver (8.7 beta)
ForceWare 177.34 (for GT200)
ForceWare 177.39 (for 9800 GTX/9800 GTX+)
ForceWare 175.16 (everything else)
|Hard Drive||Seagate 7200.9 120GB 8MB 7200RPM|
|RAM||4 x 1GB Corsair DDR3-1333 7-7-7-20|
|Operating System||Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit SP1
|PSU||PC Power & Cooling Turbo Cool 1200W|