ASUS HD 4870 X2 (EAH4870X2) 2GB PCI-E
Packaging & Appearance
Based on our previous experiences with ASUS products, it's fair to say that they love going over the top where packaging is concerned. Large boxes with flaps, windows, tonnes of accessories and excessive amounts of padding all help to give the impression that you're really getting your money's worth when unwrapping that new purchase.
Much like the EAH4850
reviewed a short while back, the EAH4870X2 is presented in an orange and black cardboard box printed with with the model number of the card in large bold lettering along with some logos depicting the main features of the card. Once again, the box also features a flap which can be opened to reveal further specifications along with detailed descriptions of their function.
Contained within the outer packaging is a rugged black cardboard box with a gold ASUS logo. Opening the box reveals a further two boxes of the same design, both of which store the copious quantity of accessories listed below:
- Driver Disk
- Faux Leather CD Wallett
- DVI to VGA Adaptor
- DVI to HDMI Adaptor
- 6-Pin to 8-Pin PCIe power cable.
- S-Video cable
- Crossfire Bridge
- Various leaflets and gumph.
Measuring in at 270mm in length and weighing more than a sack of spuds (ok maybe not quite), the 4870X2 is certainly one beast of a card in every respect. Much to our surprise, AMD have made a bold switch away from the trademark red ATI PCB in favour of a much more neutral, yet extreme looking black PCB. This contrasts extremely well with the white backed ASUS sticker adorned with a picture of our favourite ASUS CGI hussy showing a bit of booty.
Looking underneath the card reveals a similar backplate to that used on ATI/AMD's previous dual-gpu card, the 3870X2
. Essentially this plate acts as a heatsink for the GDDR5 memory chips placed on the back of the card, while also preventing the card from warping under its own weight.
The front of the card is your average affair with two DVI ports separated by an S-Video port in the centre. Both of the DVI ports are able to provide HDMI output using the included DVI-HDMI connector and as mentioned further up the page S-Video connectors are also provided if you want to output to slightly dated equipment.
Although power consumption is undoubtedly going to be considerably higher than the single-GPU 4870, AMD have managed to keep PCI-e cable requirements to one 8-pin and one 6-Pin connector. This is the same as both the 3870X2 and NVIDIA's current flagship card, the GTX280.
With two 4870 chips on-board, AMD knew that the 4870X2 would get hotter than the blazes of hell. Thankfully the stock cooling on the card consists of two copper bases attached to a large copper finned heatsink for cooling the GPU's, and a fairly weighty steel frame for dissipating the heat generated by the power circuitry and memory IC's.
During our testing of the card, ATI's Catalyst Control Panel reported idle temperatures of around 52c, with 100% load temperatures hitting 77c. While these temperatures are perfectly within acceptable operating temperatures for the GPU's the vented blanking plate at the rear of the card did often get too hot to handle.
Sitting pretty in the middle of the two HD4870 GPU's is PLX Technology's PEX 8647 PCI-Express switch. This chip essentially provides an on-board Crossfire bridge between each of the GPU's but with considerably less latency than sending the data via the Northbridge on a traditional Crossfire setup. An earlier version of this chip (PEX 8547) was first used by AMD/ATI on the 3870X2 graphics card but was often slated for only providing PCI-e 1.1 bandwidth. Thankfully the PEX 8647 resolves this issue by providing full PCI-e 2.0 bandwidth at 5.0GT/s.
Initial news surrounding the HD4870X2 card suggested that it would be using GDDR5 memory IC's manufactured by Qimonda. However, as we can see from the image above-right, the ASUS EAH4870X2 makes use of Hynix H5GQ1H24MJR chips. Whether or not these chips will perform on-par or maybe even better than the extremely capable Qimonda chips is yet to be seen.
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