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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  • helldrell666 - Wednesday, August 13, 2008 - link

    Anandtech hates DAAMIT.Have you checked the review of the 4870/x2 cards at
    The cards scored much better than here.
    I mean In assassins creed it's well know that ATI cards do much better than nvidia's
    It seems that some sites like: anandtech,tweaktown"nvidiatown",guru3d,hexus... do have some good relations with NVIDIA.
    It seems that marketing these days is turning into fraud.

  • Odeen - Wednesday, August 13, 2008 - link

    With the majority of the gaming population still running 32-bit operating systems and bound by the 4GB RAM limitation, it seems that a 2GB video card (that leaves AT MOST 2GB of system RAM addressable, and, in some cases, only 1.25-1.5GB of RAM) causes more problems than it solves.

    Are there tangible benefits to having 1GB of RAM per GPU in modern gaming, or does the GPU bog down before textures require such a gargantuan amount of memory? Wouldn't it really be more sensible to make the 4870x2 a 2x512MB card, which is more compatible with 32-bit OS'es?

  • BikeDude - Wednesday, August 13, 2008 - link

    Because you can't be bothered upgrading to a 64-bit OS, the rest of the world should stop evolving?

    A 64-bit setup used to be a challenge. Most hw comes with 64-bit drivers now. The question now is: Why bother installing a 32-bit OS in new hardware? You have lots of Win16 apps around that you run on a daily basis?
  • Odeen - Thursday, August 14, 2008 - link

    Actually, no. However, a significant percentage of "enthusiast" gamers at whom this card is aimed run Windows XP (with higher performance and less memory usage than Vista), for which 64-bit support is lackluster.

    Vista 64-bit does not allow unsigned non-WHQL drivers to be installed. That means that you cannot use beta drivers, or patched drivers released to deal with the bug-of-the-week.

    Since a lot of "enthusiast" gamers update their video (and possibly sound) card drivers on a regular basis, and cannot wait until the latest drivers get Microsoft's blessing, 64-bit OS'es are not an option for them.

    I'm not saying that the world should stop evolving, but I am looking forward to a single 64-bit codebase for Windows, where the driver signing restriction can be lifted, since ALL drivers will be designed for 64-bit.
  • rhog - Wednesday, August 13, 2008 - link

    Poor Nvidia,
    DT and Anandtech have their heads in the sand if they don't see the writing on the wall for nvidia. The 4870X2 is the fastest video card out there, the 4870 is excellent in its price range and the 4850 is the same in its price range. The AMD chipsets are excellent (now that the SB750SB is out) and Intel Chipsets have always been a cut above also they really only support Crossfirenot SLI. Why would anyone buy Nvidia (this is why they lost a bunch of money last quarter,no surprise). For example, to get a 280SLI setup you have to buy an Nvidia chipset for either the AMD or Intel processors (the exception may be skulltrail ofr intel?) Neither Nvidia Chipset platform is really better than the equivalents from Intel or AMD so why would you buy them? Along with this Nvidia is currently having issues with their chips dying. Again why woudl you buy Nvidia? I feel that the writing is on the wall Nvidia needs to do something Quick to survive. What I also find Funny is that many people on this site and on others said AMD was stupid for buying ATI but in the end it seems that Nvidia is the one who will suffer the most. Give Nvidia a biased review they need all the help they can get!
  • helldrell666 - Wednesday, August 13, 2008 - link

    AMD didn't get over 40% of the X86 market share when they had the best cpus "athlon 64 /x2".
    AMD knew back then that beating INTEL "to get over 50%" of the
    x86 market share" wont happen by just having the best product.
    Now,INTEL has the better cpu/cpus and 86% of the cpu market.
    So,to fight such a beast with a huge power you have to change the battle ground.
    AMD bought ATI to get the parallel processing technology.Why?
    To get a new market where there's no INTEL.
    actually, that's not the exact reason
    Lately nvidia introduced cuda,"the parallel processing for general processing "And as we saw,The parallel procesing is much faster than the x86 processing in some taskes.
    Like in transcoding the 280gtx with a 933 Giga flops/cycle of processing power {processing power is the number of constructions or flops a gpu can handle in a single cycle} was 14 times faster than a QX 9770 clocked at 4GHz.
    NVIDIA claims that there are much more areas where the parallel processing can take over easily.
    So,We have two types of processing and each one has it's adavantages over the other.
    What i meant by changing the battle ground wasn't the gpu market.
    AMD is woking at these seconds on the first parallel+x86 processor .
    A processor that will include x86 and parallel cores working together to handle everthing much faster than a x86 processor at least in some tasks.So the x86 core will handle the tasks that they are faster at,and the parallel cores will handle tha tasks that the're faster at.
    Now,Intel claims that geometry can be handled better via the x86 processing.
    you can see it as a battle ground between INTEL and NVIDIA but,It's actually where AMD can win.
    I think that we're going to see not only x86+parallel cpus but also
    x86+parallel gpus.Easily put as much processing power of each type as it needs to make a gpu or a cpu.
    I think that AMD is going to change the micro processing industry to where it can win.
  • lee1210mk2 - Wednesday, August 13, 2008 - link

    Fastest card out - all that matters! - #1 Reply
  • Ezareth - Wednesday, August 13, 2008 - link

    I wouldn't be suprised to see the test setup done on a P45 much like Tweaktown did for their 4870X2 CF setup. Doesn't anyone realize the 2 X PCIe X8 is not the same as 2 X PCIe X16? That is the only thing that really explains the low scoring of the CF setups here. Reply
  • Crassus - Wednesday, August 13, 2008 - link

    I think this is actually a positive sign when viewed from a little further away. Remember all the hoopla about "native quad core" with AMD's Phenom? They stuck with it, and they're barely catching up with Intel (and probably lose out big in yield).

    Here Sideport apparently doesn't bring the expected benefits - so they cut it out and moved on. No complaints from me here - at the end of the day the performance counts, not how you get there. And if disabling it lowers the power requirements a bit, with the power draw Anand measured I don't think it's an unreasonable choice to disable it. And if it makes the board cheaper, again, I don't mind paying less. :D

    And if AMD/ATI choses to enable it one or two years down the road - by then we've probably moved on by one or two generations, and the gain is negligible compared to just replacing them.

    At any rate, I'm happy with my 7900 GT SLI - and I can run the whole setup with a 939 4200+ on a 350 W PSU. If power requirements continue to go up like that, I see the power grid going down if s/o hosts a LAN party in my block. We already had brownouts this summer with multiple ACs kicking in at the same time, and it looks like PC PSUs are moving into the same power draw ballpark. R&D seriously needs to look into GPU power efficiency.

    My $.02
  • drank12quartsstrohsbeer - Wednesday, August 13, 2008 - link

    My guess (before the reviews came out) was that the sideport would be used with the unified framebuffer memory. When the unified memory feature didn't work out, there was no need for it.

    I wonder if the non functioning unified memory was due to technical problems, or if it was disabled for strategic reasons... ie since this card already beats Nvidias, why use it. This way they can make it a feature of the firegl and GPGPU cards only.

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