PowerColor HD4870 512MB PCI-E

Conclusion

Conclusion
 
PowerColor HD4870As I'm sure many of us will already know - the HD4870 regardless of manufacturer is one great card. While many will argue that it's little brother, the HD4850 can do the job just as well with a little bit of overclocking and also leave you with enough money in your back pocket for a take-away dinner, the GDDR5 memory found only on the 4870 allowed us to push the overclocking slider all the way to the edge without even having to test for stability. This was also true for the core clock speed which showed no signs of visual corruption or other artifacting when running the GPU at speeds approaching 800mhz
 
Benchmarking the HD4870 against the likes of NVIDIA's GTX260 and GTX280 gave a mixed bag of results with the HD4870 taking the lead (sometimes above the GTX280) in a select few games, while locking horns with the GTX260 in others. Even in Crysis at high resolutions, the HD4870 managed to turn out some very good number,  falling only 7fps behind the green teams current flagship card.
 
Thanks to PowerColor's no-frills approach to packaging and accessories, the HD4870 also came in at around £25 cheaper than the GTX260 (despite NVIDIA's heavy price cuts) and managed to score well on our overall Cost Per Frame scale as seen below:
 
PowerColor HD4870 CPF
 
In summary, the PowerColor HD4870 manages to combine excellent performance along with a price that is fairly easy to swallow. Even with the beastly HD4870x2 right around the corner, this card is set to be a market favourite for a long time to come.
 
 
The Good
- Performance on-par with the GTX260
- Overclocking is effortless and could easily be taken higher with the right tools.
- Excellent value for money.
 
The Mediocre
- Those seeking free games, keychains and other "freebies" should look elsewhere.
 
The Bad
- Absolutely nothing.
 
 
Overclock3D Recommended Award Overclock3D Value For Money Award
 
Thanks to PowerColor for providing the HD4870 for review. Discuss this review in our forums.
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Most Recent Comments

24-07-2008, 06:35:06

JN
"High performance without the high price tag? We take a look at PowerColor's HD4870 to see how it fairs against the green teams GTX260."

http://www.overclock3d.net/gfx/artic...104656679s.jpg

PowerColor HD4870 512MB PCI-E

24-07-2008, 06:58:40

Rastalovich
I`m a little supprized in that this card was pushed as being AMD`s answer to the GTX280, and the ensuing arguement about the price of the 2 was that the nVidia are having a laugh.

Looking at this review, it`s an overly obvious competitor for the GTX260 - which is fine, and the pricing is -£20 or so to nVidia, which kinda puts a difference perspective on things.

The 280 being that much more.. well yeah ok it happens to be the better card out of the 4 without "competition" (used loosely here), and the trend here is "pfft we`ll charge whatever we like for it" - just look at Intel with it`s cpus that compare to the AMD cpus and those that are beyond comparison.

In terms of loosely labeling that there is no competition.. well that`s kind of a misleading statement today. All 4 of the cards reviewed will not be held back in any way by games u throw at it in comparison to each other. The distinction is that on paper some to 10,20,30, whatever frames more than the other - the other already doing awesome frames. And the looks.. all 4 will give u an immensely pleasing experience.

This for me is where the OC3D cost per frame blows many reviews out of the water. There has been need for a change in review styles. Benchmarking doesn`t mean what it used to, in terms of gaming, perhaps bracketing only. Quality of picture is very hard to put over, other than u have to accept that they`ll all output at the same quality-standard. So what`s left is what u pay for them...

The strong arguement in addition to this is the screen sizes, and I think this may get more of a question as monitors get cheaper and standard resolutions get bigger. 20-22" widescreens mainly operate at 1680x1050 - this is almost being the norm for me. 24" above can be the same, with quality models offering the higher resolutions again. There`s even larger monitors out there being used where perhaps 24" was in the past.

With these thoughts in mind, the size of monitor vS the cost of the cards vS the capability of the card at the standard resolution u want - u should pick out of the 4. Smaller resolution, 17/19" square - 4850 will be fine, 24"+ u may chose the 280 and be able to afford it considering what u already purchased.

It`s sad that performance isn`t the stickler for selection - but having `quality` become a replacement for it isn`t wholey a bad thing.

Great review again btw.

PS. need more bumpff, when will manufacturers learn that graphic cards and mobos need to be accompanied with misc bumpff! Don`t care too much what it is, but c`mon.

24-07-2008, 07:34:54

Acid90
Isn't there 8.7 catalyst drivers out now, apprently this gives an increase in peformance.

24-07-2008, 08:32:09

JN
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='Acid90'
Isn't there 8.7 catalyst drivers out now, apprently this gives an increase in peformance.
Yeah. Was released about a day after we completed the benches of this card *sigh*.

24-07-2008, 10:59:00

Jaster
Yeah I'm with Rasta on this one, you can benchmark something to the hills but have to put it in context with the rest of the equipment your using it on, I've had similar arguements with certain people (a family member who runs a water cooled 8800gt sli Q6600 rig but won't shell out for a decent monitor,he still has a 19inch curved 4:3 crt lg thats nearly 8 years old and refuses to part with it due to it costing him 600 quid "back in the day" go figure)......can anybody really notice wether fear is running at 130fps or 200fps....I think not....so picking cards on price per frame ratio I feel is a good balancing factor...kudos to OC3D for another good review...and good on ATI for finally stepping up to the challenge with there 4xxx series....

24-07-2008, 11:59:56

Rastalovich
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='Jim'
Yeah. Was released about a day after we completed the benches of this card *sigh*.
Trouble is, u do a retest, write it up - and then nVidia bring a new driverset out.. and on..

24-07-2008, 12:19:48

JN
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='Rastalovich'
Trouble is, u do a retest, write it up - and then nVidia bring a new driverset out.. and on..
Yep exactly. Gotta do it with what is available right then and there.

IMO if companies don't have quality drivers for their products at the time of release, then they deserve whatever poor performance results show up in the review.

24-07-2008, 13:41:22

FarFarAway
Frankly for me ATI have done a helluva lot more innovating in an over-crowded market and deserve praise for it. Sure the 280 is a little faster but ATI deserve recognition for the fantastic price/performance ratio

24-07-2008, 13:41:51

WC Annihilus
Still got the card? You could always run one (or more) unofficial tests and post a screenie in this thread

24-07-2008, 21:11:31

Mullet
Nice review Jim...

Good to see Ati back in the fray, will be especially interesting for peeps who have a keen Mrs who keeps track of every PC related spend

25-07-2008, 08:28:40

Mr. Smith
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='Mullet'
Nice review Jim...

Good to see Ati back in the fray, will be especially interesting for peeps who have a keen Mrs who keeps track of every PC related spend
ROFL

http://pro.corbis.com/images/42-1883...-30b1d2acae71}

01-08-2008, 10:08:54

niky_d
Hi!

Great review Jim, as always.

I have a question about the in game image quality. Is it the same as with the gtx260/280, because Iíve heard that some people say the image quality of the radeon is better and that's why the fps are smaller? And Iíve seen also a lot of forum messages that some users have problems with Ati drivers, they have got a lot of blue screens and system restarts. Did you have any problems like that, when you were doing your review?

And finaly, what which one would you recommend, the 4870 or the gtx260, because I donít know which one should I chose. The price is now almost the same and that makes it even harder to decide.

Thx for your help.

01-08-2008, 10:11:55

Hassan
May seem a daft question, but after you have finished the review do u have to give the card back or what?

Just curious

01-08-2008, 10:19:30

JN
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='niky_d'
Hi!

Great review Jim, as always.

I have a question about the in game image quality. Is it the same as with the gtx260/280, because Iíve heard that some people say the image quality of the radeon is better and that's why the fps are smaller? And Iíve seen also a lot of forum messages that some users have problems with Ati drivers, they have got a lot of blue screens and system restarts. Did you have any problems like that, when you were doing your review?

And finaly, what which one would you recommend, the 4870 or the gtx260, because I donít know which one should I chose. The price is now almost the same and that makes it even harder to decide.

Thx for your help.
Sorry just on my way home so will answer quickly...

- Although the 260 and 4870 wern't tested one after another I can honestly say that the IQ of both cards looked more than perfect to me.

- No blue screens or system restarts here. The stock fan does run really slow by default tho and the card gets very hot. Might just be worth increasing fan speed in the driver profile.

- ATI gets my vote this time round I think.

02-08-2008, 08:46:20

niky_d
Hi!

Thx for your answer and that you have taken the time to answer before you went home.

I have another answer. Do you, from your experience, think that the 1Gb ddr5 version would make a big difference if there should be some available soon, or should I go for the 512mb that I can get now?

Thx for you help.

02-08-2008, 09:18:57

JN
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='niky_d'
Hi!

Thx for your answer and that you have taken the time to answer before you went home.

I have another answer. Do you, from your experience, think that the 1Gb ddr5 version would make a big difference if there should be some available soon, or should I go for the 512mb that I can get now?

Thx for you help.
Depends on the resolution you're going to be running at and the price of the 1GB card in all honesty. I don't think you'll see much of a difference though - and probably no difference in real-life.
Reply
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