Today is all about the Radeon HD 4870 X2, the same card we previewed last month but AMD is quietly announcing a few other products alongside it. The 4870 X2, internally referred to as R700, is a pair of RV770 GPUs on a single card - effectively a single-card, Radeon HD 4870 CrossFire (hence the X2 moniker). Like previous X2 cards, the 4870 X2 appears to the user and the driver as a single card and all of the CrossFire magic happens behind the scenes.

  ATI Radeon HD 4870 X2 ATI Radeon HD 4870 ATI Radeon HD 4850
Stream Processors 800 x 2 800 800
Texture Units 40 x 2 40 40
ROPs 16 x 2 16 16
Core Clock 750MHz 750MHz 625MHz
Memory Clock 900MHz (3600MHz data rate) GDDR5 900MHz (3600MHz data rate) GDDR5 993MHz (1986MHz data rate) GDDR3
Memory Bus Width 256-bit x 2 256-bit 256-bit
Frame Buffer 1GB x 2 512MB 512MB
Transistor Count 956M x 2 956M 956M
Manufacturing Process TSMC 55nm TSMC 55nm TSMC 55nm
Price Point $549 $299 $199

 

The benefit of single-card CrossFire is of course that you can use this single card on any platform, not just ones that explicitly support CF. Since CrossFire is supported on both Intel chipsets and AMD chipsets, it's a bit more flexible than SLI and the need for single-card CF isn't nearly as great as the need for single-card SLI.

Unlike most single-card multi-GPU solutions, the 4870 X2 is literally two Radeon HD 4870s on a single card. The clock speeds, both core and memory, are identical and this thing should perform like a pair of 4870s (which is pretty quick if you have forgotten). The only difference here is that while the standard Radeon HD 4870 ships with 512MB of GDDR5 memory, each RV770 on a X2 gets a full 1GB of GDDR5 for a total of 2GB per card.

...which leads us nicely into some of AMD's other products that will be coming out in the next month or so. There will be 1GB versions of both the Radeon HD 4870 and Radeon HD 4850.

Then at $399 we'll see a Radeon HD 4850 X2, which as you can probably guess is a pair of Radeon HD 4850 GPUs on a single card, but with 2GB of GDDR3 and not GDDR5 like the 4870 X2. As interesting as all of these cards are, we only have the 4870 X2 for you today, the rest will have to wait for another time. But it is worth noting that if you are interested in buying a Radeon HD 4870/4850 and keeping it for a while, you may want to wait for the 1GB versions as they should give you a bit more longevity.

Enough with being distracted by AMD's product lineup, let's talk about the competition.

Let's Talk Pricing
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  • ajbird - Friday, September 12, 2008 - link

    I am not sure I agree with this

    "Along with such a title comes a general requirement: if you're dropping over $500 on a graphics card on a somewhat regular basis, you had better have a good monitor - one of many 30" displays comes to mind. Without a monitor that can handle 2560x1600, especially with 2x 4870 X2 cards in CrossFire, all that hard earned money spent on graphics hardware is just wasted."

    I have just built a new rig and will not be building anything else for a long time to come. I want something that will play new games now at 1680x1050 with all the eye candy switched on and will still be able to play games in 3 years time at a decent level of IQ. I paid £330 for this card and think it was worth every penny.

    I have always splashed out on top end cards (i build a new pc about overy 3-4 years) and have aways been happy with their life span.
    Reply
  • 4g63 - Monday, August 18, 2008 - link

    Cars and cards are two completely different things. I think that the guy [author] was just humoring you with the comment about energy costs. Why is this even an issue. If you want to burn a few hundred extra watts on your gaming rig there is no logical reason not to. If you want to help this place with energy support nuke power. Nuke power is clean, safe, plentiful and reliable. Oil prices have soared because of skeptics who have bought into a unsubstantiated construct of social panic. One guy was basically drawing conclusions between the amount of kilowatt hours on his power meter [due to the use of a gaming rig!] to a conglomeration of natural phenomena. Come on. Think for Yourself and Research the Truth if you are going to preach about how we should give up our right to play games as fast and as clearly as we possibly can! God Bless Capitalism. Reply
  • Zak - Thursday, August 21, 2008 - link

    I'd like to see 9800GX2 scores too for comparison. I have been quite disappointed with it: sudden performance dropoff above 1680x1050 due to low bandwidth and only 512MB of memory, I guess, and extremely hot. I'm thinking about getting this new AMD/ATI card as the GeForce 200 series is a joke.

    Z.
    Reply
  • X1REME - Friday, August 15, 2008 - link

    I used to look 2 this site 2 C what is good 2 buy & what not 2 buy. last time I purchased the ASUS P5B Deluxe/WiFi-AP AiLifestyle Series - motherboard recommended by this site. I have looked at many reviews but have not come across one 2 this date, which recommends somfin from AMD, I don't know why, maybe they just have not made anything good enough or maybe every1 expects more from AMD (and that's a good thing). so if som1 can show me personally a review that favours AMD outright as with Intel and nVidia all the time would be a start. Reply
  • StormEffect - Friday, August 15, 2008 - link

    Through the past couple of years I've become more and more of an AMD/ATI fanboy, even though I've tried to stop. Yet I bought a Macbook Pro (By Apple, with Intel and Nvidia parts). All of my desktops are primarily Intel and Nvidia.

    But somehow the underdog status has me totally charmed, and this new 4000 series has added to the affection I have for AMD/ATI. I even recently built a new desktop with a 780G chipset and an 8750 tricore Phenom (no GPU except the integrated HD3200, which rocks).

    I REALLY <3 AMD/ATI right now. So I am QUITE surprised that everyone here seems so adamant that there is some serious bias in this article. It states the facts, this card is as fast as it gets, but it isn't perfect. So what's wrong with that? When you are at the top you deserve to be looked at critically.

    Is everyone just oversensitive at this point? I believe in being nice to others, but does the writer of this review have to drool over this card to validate it? I LOVE AMD/ATI. If there is bias here I'd be freaking out and getting out the picket signs, but I have reread it and I STILL don't see where you are all coming from.

    When they reviewed the GTX280 they used words with possibly unkind connotations to describe the massive core, does that make them Nvidia haters too?

    I don't see it, will someone point it out to me?
    Reply
  • Mr Roboto - Saturday, August 16, 2008 - link

    I generally agree with what you're saying except the stopgap garbage 9800GX2 card was not looked at nearly as critical when it was reviewed and the card was at it's EOL after only 3 months from the release date. Also Nvidia did not add anything new to that card when compared to the 7950GX2 from 3 years ago. Why does the already obsolete 9800GX2 get a pass?

    It's right on the money to state "Hey lets get it going from a hardware level with these single slot dual GPU cards" instead of relying on software profiles that waste money by having to have a dedicated team of programmers working on it to get any significant improvement in performance. Not just the time and money aspect but like Anand said it's not going to last and was supposed to be a temporary thing that has now been the only way either side has shown any progress. But Nvidia is doing the same thing. The bias is noticeable but I have gotten used to it in the last few years since ATI has been out of the game. Nvidia's aggressive "marketing" if you want to call it that, has corrupted nearly all of the major online hardware publications point of views IMO. AMD is definitely the underdog but with a different sort of negative twist.
    Reply
  • far327 - Friday, August 15, 2008 - link

    http://phoenix.craigslist.org/evl/sys/790600009.ht...">http://phoenix.craigslist.org/evl/sys/790600009.ht...

    Don't miss out on a steal.
    Reply
  • far327 - Friday, August 15, 2008 - link

    I'm sorry boys & girls, but this is where my maturity and passion for gaming collide... It is just getting to damned excessive to be able to play a PC game at an HD resolution. I think my PC gaming days are done until Nvidia & AMD decide to work on better cooling methods and lower power consumption. Doesn't anyone here realize the world is in the middle of an energy crisis that is causing food and energy prices to soar??? Video cards today are like muscle cards from the 70's. I am running a E8400 with two 8800 GT Akimbo 1024mb in Sli off a 550watt PSU. I refuse to invest into a market that is more or less careless towards the environment. Waiting on green solutions!!! Reply
  • Ezareth - Friday, August 15, 2008 - link

    That is fine with us. The rest of us who can think for ourselves will continue to advance while you revert back to the stone age. "Green" is a marketing ploy, much like "Organic" food, and Global Warming etc. If we need more electricity you and your kind need to give up your opposition to nuclear power. We have enough uranium in the US to power all of our electricity needs for the next few centuries.

    Not everyone buys into that but computers and graphics cards will continue to consume more and more electricity until some technology breakthrough comes through that doesn't involve the use of transistors(like IBM spintronics research).

    If you are so concerned about being "green" go live in the woods somewhere, and let the rest of us enjoy our advanced lifestyles.
    Reply
  • far327 - Friday, August 15, 2008 - link

    It must be nice to completely ignore reality. I suppose you think $5.00 per gallon of gas is just fine too? Nuclear power can't fix that bro. Nor can nuclear power fix that flood that hit the Mississippi or California's massive wild fires, or Katrina. The recent surge in China's economy has allowed 1.8 billion people to drive automobiles. Think that might have a slight effect on our atmosphere? The population of the USA increases by 400,000 yearly. Think of all the consumption done by each person every single day! And our population continues to increase. The difference between you and I is that when you look at outside, you see a tree. When I look outside I see a forest. The world is bigger than your computer screen. Reply

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