Multi-GPU Performance


NVIDIA's own multi-GPU solution outperformed the GeForce GTX 280 when it launched, so it is not too surprising to see the Radeon HD 4870 in CrossFire mode doing the same. If AMD can put two of these things on a single card it will have a viable competitor for the GTX 280 as well as the GX2.

Click to Enlarge 

Call of Duty 4

AMD's architecture did very well under Call of Duty 4 in the single-card tests, with a single Radeon HD 4870 performing better than a GeForce GTX 260. The scaling from one to two cards is beyond perfect in CoD4, the reason being that we test on two different platforms (Intel X48 for CrossFire, NVIDIA 790i for all single-cards), the end result is a rare case where two of AMD's $300 cards actually outperform two of NVIDIA's $650 cards. By no means is it the norm, but it is a testament to the strength of AMD's RV770 GPU.

Click to Enlarge

Enemy Territory: Quake Wars

CrossFire continues to scale poorly in Quake Wars, while NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 280 SLI completely dominates the charts here. The 4870 CF performance isn't terrible, it's actually in line with where it should be (2 x $300 cards are about as fast as 1 x $650 card).

Click to Enlarge

Oblivion Multi-GPU Performance in Assassin's Creed, Oblivion, The Witcher & Bioshock


View All Comments

  • Grantman - Friday, July 4, 2008 - link

    Thank you very much for including the 8800gt sli figures in your benchmarks. I created an account especially so I could thank Anand Lal Shimpi & Derek Wilson as I have found no other review site including 8800gt sli info. It is very interesting to see the much cheaper 8800gt sli solution beating the gtx 280 on several occasions. Reply
  • Grantman - Friday, July 4, 2008 - link

    When I mentioned "no other review site including 8800gt sli info" I naturally meant in comparison with the gtx280, gx2 4850 crossfire etc etc.

    Thanks again.
  • ohodownload - Wednesday, July 2, 2008 - link
  • DucBertus - Wednesday, July 2, 2008 - link


    Nice article. Could you please add the amount of graphics memory on the cards to the "The Test" page of the article. The amount of memory matters for the performance and (not unimportant) the price of the cards...

    Cheers, DucBertus.
  • hybrid2d4x4 - Sunday, June 29, 2008 - link

    Long-time reader here that finally decided to make an account. First off, thanks for the great review Anand and Derek, and hats off to you guys for following up to the comments on here.
    One thing that I was hoping to see mentioned in the power consumption section is if AMD has by any chance implemented their PowerXpress feature into this generation (where the discrete card can be turned off when not needed in favor of the more efficient on-board video- ie: HD3200)? I recall reading that the 780G was supposed to support this kind of functionality, but I guess it got overlooked. Have you guys heard if AMD intends to bring it back (maybe in their 780GX or other upcoming chipsets)? It'd be a shame if they didn't, seeing as how they were probably the first to bring it up and integrate it into their mobile solutions, and now even nVidia has their own version of it (Hybrid Power, as part of HybridSLI) on the desktop...
  • AcornArmy - Sunday, June 29, 2008 - link

    I honestly don't understand what Nvidia was thinking with the GTX 200 series, at least at their current prices. Several of Nvidia's own cards are better buys. Right now, you can find a 9800 GX2 at Pricewatch for almost $180 less than a GTX 280, and it'll perform as well as the 280 in almost all cases and occasionally beat the hell out of it. You can SLI two 8800 GTs for less than half the price and come close in performance.

    There really doesn't seem to be any point in even shipping the 280 or 260 at their current prices. The only people who'll buy them are those who don't do any research before they buy a video card, and if someone's that foolish they deserve to get screwed.
  • CJBTech - Sunday, June 29, 2008 - link

    Hey iamap, with the current release of HD 4870 cards, all of the manufacturers are using the reference ATI design, so they should all be pretty much identical. It boils down to individual manufacturer's warranty and support. Sapphire, VisionTek, and Powercolor have all been great for me over the years, VisionTek is offering a lifetime warranty on these cards. I've had poor experiences with HIS and Diamond, but probably wouldn't hesitate to get one of these from either of those manufactures on this particular card (or the HD 4850) because they are the same card, ATI reference. Reply
  • Paladin1211 - Saturday, June 28, 2008 - link

    Now that the large monolithic, underperforming chip is out, leaving AMD free to grab market share, I'm so excited at what to happen. As nVidia's strategy goes, they're now scaling down the chip. But pardon me, cut the GTX 280 in half and then prices it at $324.99? That sounds so crazy!

    Anyone remembers the shock treatment of AMD with codename "Thunder"? DAAMIT has just opened "a can of whoop ass" on nVidia!
  • helldrell666 - Friday, June 27, 2008 - link

    Anand tech why didnt you use and amd 790FX board to bench the radeon cards instead of using an nvidia board for both nvidia and ATI cards.It would be more accurate to bench those cards on compatible boards .
    I think those cards would have worked better on an amd board based on the radeon express 790fx chipset.
  • iamap - Friday, June 27, 2008 - link

    I'm looking to buy the 4870 from newegg when they get back in stock next week but I'm not familiar with any of the manufactures, except for Diamond, and I had problems with Diamond years ago.

    Sapphire Technology Limited

    Any advice, especially ones to avoid?

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now