PowerColor HD4870 512MB PCI-E

Test Setup & Overclocking

Test Setup
A common mistake made when benchmarking graphics cards is that the rest of the PC system isn't sufficient enough to test the GPU to its limits. This results in a bottleneck situation, where the system can only run at the speed of its slowest component. For this reason, the test configuration chosen below has been specially selected to give each of the graphics cards on test the headroom they require in order to produce the best results.
System Specs
A selection of games and benchmark suites has also been chosen to test each of the cards with several game engines. Each of the cards will be run at both low and high resolutions with varying levels of texture filtering to represent the use of the card with both small and large screen sizes.
1024x768 / 0xAA / 0xAF (Default)
1920x1200 / 4xAA / 0xAF
3DMark 06
1280x1024 / 0xAA / 0xAF
1920x1200 / 4xAA / 0xAF

3DMark Vantage
1280x1024 / Performance Mode
1900x1200 / Extreme Mode
1280x1024 / Ultra / 4xAA / 4xAF
1920x1200 / Ultra / 4xAA / 4xAF
Unreal Tournament III
1280x1024 / DX10 / High / 0xAA / 0xAF
1920x1200 / DX10 / High / 0xAA / 0xAF
Call of Duty 4
1280x1024 / Max / 4xAA / 4xAF
1920x1200 / Max / 4xAA / 4xAF
1280x1024 / Max / 4xAA / 4xAF
1920x1200 / Max / 4xAA / 0xAF
1280x1024 / DX10 / High / 0xAA / 0xAF
1920x1200 / DX10 / High / 0xAA / 0xAF
1280x1024 / DX10 / High / 0xAA / 0xAF
1920x1200 / DX10 / High / 0xAA / 0xAF
As two of the cards used in today's review (the ASUS GTX260 TOP and MSI GTX280) are factory overclocked, it would be unfair to directly compare these to the stock-clocked PowerColor HD4870 without giving the card some additional overclocking of its own. Therefore, in the results over the next few pages you will see the HD4870 results alongside a set of "HD4870 OC" results which have been performed at the core/memory speeds shown in the overclocking section below.
During the benchmarking phase, we will be using the following prices extracted from aria.co.uk on 22/07/08 to produce our CPF graphs. Please remember that these graphs are static and only represent a snapshot of the market at the time of this review.
MSI GTX280 - £317.19
ASUS 4850 - £123.90
ASUS GTX260 - £199.69
PowerColor HD4870 - £174.97
Using only the the ATI Overdrive™ facility built into the driver control panel, the maximum overclock we were able to obtain from the HD4870 was 790mhz on the core and 1090mhz on the memory. With further fine tuning and a utility such as ATITool that allows selection of settings much higher than this, we are confident that the PowerColor HD4870 could have done even better.
HD4870 GPU-Z
Now let's get on to the benchmarks...
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Most Recent Comments

24-07-2008, 06:58:40

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.Quote

24-07-2008, 07:34:54

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

24-07-2008, 08:32:09

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*.Quote

24-07-2008, 10:59:00

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....Quote

24-07-2008, 11:59:56

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..Quote

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