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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  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, August 12, 2008 - link

    The games tested impact the results. As someone who has been running CrossFire HD 3870 for the past year or so (well, maybe more like 9 months?), plus someone who ran X1900/X1950 CrossFire before that, I can attest to the fact that CF support for new games is terrible. Basically, you get support in all major titles, but it's usually about two months after a game comes out. I've taken to not rushing to purchase new games, but that's okay since I'm busy of late.

    As for Assassin's Creed, the lack of performance with 4870X2 is odd and indicates perhaps a remaining driver issue for the new architecture. The game is definitely demanding of your CPU, but it should be running much faster. Maybe forcing on 4xAA (the game doesn't support 4xAA above 1680x1050) made the results worse than you would normally expect.

    Personally, I am very cautious about recommending dual-GPU configurations for gamers - they're much better for benchmarks. Or at least, I would only recommend them for gamers that don't immediately buy the latest games and want top performance. GRID required updated drivers for CF, as did Mass Effect, Assassin's Creed, and pretty much every game I recall purchasing in the last two years.
  • xsilver - Tuesday, August 12, 2008 - link

    Is anyone still waiting for ATI to get off their butts and fix/enhance their avivo encoder?

    Its incredibly fast but having the ability to encode high quality videos would be nice.
    If ATI are not willing to develop it why dont they just open up the source code so that others can develop it?
  • TheJian - Tuesday, August 12, 2008 - link

    For one, I haven't seen a 4870X2 for less than $600-650 and they don't exist now. Don't expect these to go for $550 for a while. You should print what they are being SOLD for at the time of the article.

    GTX260 pricing (check newegg) is off also. You can get one for $245 and it's an OC Edition (MSI)! They have quite a few at $269 retail. So where the heck do you get $300? Again quit printing suggested retail prices (or whatever they are) and PRINT ACTUAL PRICING! In the case of your GXT260 SLI price that would drop it $110 and they are both overclocked!

    GTX280 isn't $450. Newegg has them for $399 if you want the cheapest, and most are $410-429. Do you guys even check the pricing before putting up your stories? You do this every time.

    You state this for AMD "At the same time, AMD's literally hot GPUs have seen their prices fall; the Radeon HD 4870 is now a $270 - $280 GPU, slightly down from $299 and the Radeon HD 4850 is a $170 - $180 card. These are very slight changes in price, but at least they are in the right direction."

    But you conveniently leave out that Nvidia's cards don't run $450 (GTX280 your price) or $299 (GTX260 your price). These are FAR from reality. A suggested retail doesn't matter. What matters is WHAT I WILL PAY if I buy it today! These prices haven't changed in about a week so you've had plenty of time to faq check before printing. Also the 4870 is $250/259 if you want the cheapest at newegg. So you even got the ATI pricing wrong. Newegg has some 4870X2's listed at $559+ but they won't be that by the time their auto-price-upping machine gets done with them (still higher than the $550 you state...which won't happen for a month or more likely). They'll hit $600 next week before one even sells...LOL. You need to fix the prcing in the article to reflect REALITY.
  • Ezareth - Wednesday, August 13, 2008 - link

    I just bought a Sapphire 4870X2 from Newegg for $559 an hour ago so the pricing is correct. Obviously on launch day they are going to be sold out as people like me have been waiting for them for months now...the same was true of the 280GTXs as well. It will take a couple weeks before they become readily available and then the price will start coming down eventually to around $500.00. Reply
  • Aberforth - Tuesday, August 12, 2008 - link

    I am studying business models of different tech companies - from the core architectures to marketing, it helps me to understand how these products actually sell, basically the crux of the tech industry.

    We've seen GTX 280, which was priced at $650 when it was released, but even after months of research NV comes up with a GPU that is just too large and bloated- redesign is what they actually do. Yet, it gets a good review and market hype. When you look at some of the early 260 reviews, they actually say "it's reasonably priced".

    So these self proclaimed geeks write articles based on comparison- which is a childish thing to do. You cannot compare one design with another nor you can judge it's merits only looking at the performance factor. There cannot be one single outcome of a review, there are different types of customers with different requirements. So at the end of the review if someone favors either AMD or NV are biased. A unbiased review cannot contain suggestive material that hampers the customer's decision but instead it should contain information on how it affects customers with different requirements.
  • ZootyGray - Tuesday, August 12, 2008 - link

    Thanx for that - good post.

    I have been thinking similar thoughts; but my ability to say it as you have done, was clouded by my own reaction of disgust at this shit-on-a-stick socalled report.

    This site is seriously biased against AMD.

    I used to think it was thorough testing - but issues found here, are not reported elsewhere, and are simply not experienced by users that post to forums. I expect config issues with new releases - but this site uses any excuse.

    Anandtech BIAS is out of the bag.

    I thought I was the only one seeing this; but I am glad to see general rejection of bullshit by many others.

    Very unprofessional that we have no idea what 486-box you used to skew these results - YOUR RESULTS DON'T MATCH OTHER SITES - and they aren't shuffling dx9 and dx10 to fudge it all.

    If you have to change the game midstream,
    u r cheating.

  • GmTrix - Tuesday, August 12, 2008 - link

    I'm surprised that the 9800 GX2 wasn't included in the benchmarks...
    Seeing that the 4870 X2 is ATI's most powerful single card solution and as this article states the 9800 GX2 is still Nvidias's most powerful single card solution. Not to mention they are very similarly priced and they are both dual GPU cards...
  • Mr Roboto - Thursday, August 14, 2008 - link

    The 9800GX2 would get smoked in higher resolutions with it's much lower bandwidth and smaller frame buffer. Anything above 1600x1200 especially with AA and the GX2 would choke. That's where the 4870x2 really shines is above those resolutions. That's why. Reply
  • Spacecomber - Tuesday, August 12, 2008 - link

    I was wondering the same thing: why leave out nvidia's dual core card? I know that it is not as powerful as the 4870 GX2, but it is nvidia's most powerful single card solution. And, the pricing seems to make it a fairly competitive option. It is selling for less than $300, which positions it well against the 4870 single core card as well as the GTX 280.

    It's not a big deal, but it has struck me as odd that this card hasn't been included in recent video card reviews. I know that not every available card can be rounded up for benchmarking; however, I think this is one that many consumers would be interested in knowing about, especially if they are thinking of spending around $300 on a video card.
  • techguy2k5 - Tuesday, August 12, 2008 - link

    Mr. Anand Lal Shimpi:

    you have a writer working for you that has a bias towards a particular IHV. How do I know this? Because he makes it apparent in EVERY piece he writes. Derek Wilson, the constant pot-shots against ATi are pathetic. You are incapable of keeping your bias out of your articles, and therefore should not be writing. I will not read another Derek Wilson article again. In fact, I will not read another Anandtech article until something is done about this matter.

    I'm not the only person aware of Mr. Wilson's bias, all of my tech enthusiast friends are aware and feel the same way. It is sad what has become of Anandtech in recent years. It used to be easy to trust Anandtech and take your writers' word on any issue, but no more. Derek Wilson is dragging this site's name through the mud.


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