Power Consumption and Initial Thoughts
AMD Radeon HD 4870 X2 2GB Preview - R700 a bit early - Graphics Cards 91

AMD Radeon HD 4870 X2 2GB Preview - R700 a bit early - Graphics Cards 92

Our idle power testing was rendered null and void when AMD asked us to keep it out of the preview – apparently the BIOS is still undergoing a lot of work and tweaking and thus is not indicative of the final product we’ll see this summer.  The new Radeon HD 4870 X2 2GB definitely isn’t light on the power draw, as we already knew when we saw the 8+6 power configuration.  Load is completely open to evalution though – at 481 watts it is by far the most power hungry single card we have tested to date, using 110 watts more than the GTX 280!


Yes, I know we only got to test three games and 3DMark Vantage for our quick preview of the R700 technology, but I simply get away without saying that the Radeon HD 4870 X2 2GB was staggeringly fast.  At our top testing resolutions the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 280 1GB card was just outclassed by the new AMD card.  Bioshock, Call of Duty 4 and Crysis all saw significant playability increases with the R700 compared to the GTX 280 at 2560×1600 and in a couple of cases at 2048 or 1900 resolutions as well.

Needless to say we are eager to see what we can get out of a PAIR of the Radeon HD 4870 X2 cards and how much scaling we can get out of third GPU – we tried to test that but found the driver was not going to cooperate with us.  It seems AMD wanted the single card tests ONLY for this round of benchmarks.  Fine, we can wait.

AMD Radeon HD 4870 X2 2GB Preview - R700 a bit early - Graphics Cards 93

As with ALL of my reviews on multi-GPU graphics solutions, there is a caveat that should be mentioned: performance of this card depends as much on AMD’s ability to quickly integrate CrossFire profiles in the driver as it does the power of the RV770 architecture itself.  That puts a lot of pressure on AMD’s driver team and it’s honestly something we have yet to be convinced is the BEST solution for today’s enthusiast gamer.  As we did with the HD 3870 X2 card, we’ll be keeping an eye on AMD’s drivers and 4870 X2 performance as the market progresses!

Pricing and Availability

Since this is a preview of the Radeon HD 4870 X2 2GB card, AMD didn’t want us to talk about pricing, availability or anything relating to their business strategy for the card.  However, in some slides that they had already released to us during the RV770 launch we learned that the R700 should be coming in mid-Q3 and will have a “>$500” price point.  That puts the card to be on shelves by the end of August with a price over $500 – considering the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 280 1GB cards just dropped to $499 literally weeks after their release, NVIDIA is aware of the performance of the card as well. 

Initial Thoughts

While it is hard to get a complete outlook of AMD’s new Radeon HD 4870 X2 2GB card with three games and some 3DMark Vantage numbers, our initial outlook for it is very, very good.  If those idle power numbers can be improved upon with the updated PowerPlay BIOS as AMD claims, it will be very difficult to find weaknesses in AMD’s new flagship product.  The only exception might be the scalability concerns we mentioned above – that’s up to AMD’s software team to keep up with the PC titles as they arrive.  Of course final pricing and availability are the real keys to a successful launch but as it stands now, if the Radeon HD 4870 X2 2GB were selling for ~$500 today it would have our full recommendation. 

Be sure to use our pricing engine to find the best prices on NVIDIA and AMD graphics cards and anything else you might need:

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