Palit Revolution R700 Deluxe HD4870X2 Reviewccokeman - December 8, 2008
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At first glance, the R700 looks huge. If you take a moment and step back and look again, it still is. This beast of a video card is the standard length but instead of taking up two expansion slots, it takes up three. Why is it so large? Well, there are the two R770 GPUs on board plus there is the non standard cooling solution that utilizes two separate heatsinks that use two heatpipes per sink. Additionally, there are two cooling heatsinks that cover the memory and power regulation circuits, one on each side of the PCB. The R700 Revolution is a PCI-E 2.0 compliant video card that features two R770 Graphics processors with 1GB of GDDR5 frame buffer per GPU. Clock speed for the cores come in a 750MHz, with a boost from the stock HD4870x2 clocks of 900MHz to 950MHz (3800MHz effective) on the 2048MB of GDDR5 frame buffer.
If nothing, the R700 Revolution is a unique video card. Connectivity comes in the form of four different interfaces. You have the 15-pin D-Sub, Display Port, HDMI and DVI available for use. The exhaust for the R700 includes almost two complete expansion slots worth of venting to allow the hot air to flow out of your case. The rear of the R700 is open, allowing airflow over the heatsink that is built into the cooling plate over the power circuits.
The power requirements for the R700 include a 650 watt power supply with both a 2x3(6)-pin and a 2x4(8)-pin power connections. The card has two power connections, one eight and one six pin, hence the requirement. The power connector does not follow the reference design. You will notice that the connections face the spine of the R700 instead of the face. This makes connecting the power supply connections that much easier and puts less strain on the power sockets and PCB. Like the standard HD4870X2, the R700 is CrossfireX capable with another HD4870X2 or a single GPU card for a three GPU setup. The Crossfire bridge connection is located in the standard position. One thing you will note on the back heatsink plate is a warning sticker. This is for a good reason (they usually are), the back side of this card will get very hot to the touch. A bit of airflow over it or a well ventilated case with airflow over the graphics card can eliminate this large amount of heat.
To get to the bottom of the cooling solution on the R700 you have to start by removing the fan holder/shroud. This is held on by six screws, two on the expansion bracket and two on the top and bottom of the shroud. Once removed, you can get a good look at the non stock cooling solution. This solution reminds me of the Asus EAH HD3870X2 I looked at earlier in the year. THe R700 is cooled similarly, two heatsinks with heatpipes with fans that blow down through the heatsinks rather than one fan blowing through two heatsinks with the second heatsink getting the warm exhaust flow from the first heatsink. This solution can only be better than the stock reference solution.
The PWM fans are made by Power Logic and are model PLA08015B12HH. This model is rated at 33.95 C.F.M. at 3500RPM with a noise rating of 35.7 dBA using 4.2 watts of electricity. The fans are tied together electrically so that you cannot control each one individually to manage the thermal loads of the R770 cores.
The R700 comes apart in a total of six pieces. The fan housing and shroud the front and back memory heatsinks, the GPU heatsinks and the PCB. The plate heatsinks go on the front and back of the R700 to dissipate the thermal loads from the GDDR5 memory modules and the power regulation circuits. The shroud assembly manages the airflow over the heatsinks. The GPU heatsinks look like small CPU heatsinks in their construction. Each has two heatpipes and a copper contact plate to remove the heat from the R770 cores. The TIM is not the usual peanut butter consistency goop installed on the reference design cards. This is more of an epoxy type material. It takes some work to remove the material once the heatsink is removed. A solvent type cleaner is needed as alcohol alone will not even touch it.
Once the card is stripped down we get at last to the board. Stripped bare the two GPU cores, the bridge chip and the memory modules are clearly seen. Once stripped down the card appears to be more manageable.
The GPU used on the R700 is the ATI/AMD R770 built on a 55nm process that features almost a billion transistors on this little batch o' silicon. The GDDR5 memory used in this application is manufactured by Qimonda and is model IDGV1G-05A1F1C-40X, these should manage at least 1000MHz. The PLX Technologies bridge chip is model PEX8647. This chip is second generation PCI-E Gen2, 5.0GT/s 48-lane, 3-port PCI-E switch that supports Dual Cast and Read Pacing. This model is specifically designed with high end graphics solutions in mind.
Let's get the Palit R700 installed and see what it can do!