Sapphire HD4870 X2 Reviewccokeman -
Category: Video Cards
Price: $500 - $550
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In the world of fast moving computer components, new technology is arriving each and every day for our computing pleasure. The latest in the graphics cards is the HD4800 series, which has taken the video market by storm. Now, ATI has stepped it up a bit with the introduction of the HD 4870X2 graphics card. The HD 4870X2 essentially takes two HD 4870 cards and mates them into one card, in a sort of CrossFire combination to increase performance and expand multi-GPU possibilities beyond the current level of performance. Will the addition of a newer PCI-E 2.0 bridge chip allow a performance increase over the standard CrossFire configuration of two single GPU cards? How about the 2GB of GDDR5 memory running at 900MHz, not to mention the dual RV770 GPU cores running at 750MHz? On paper, the HD 4870X2 looks very stout. Can it tame the GTX 280 as well as the 9800GX2 from Nvidia?
To determine its performance, we are going to be taking a look at the Sapphire HD 4870X2 video card to see how well this multi-GPU setup performs. A few weeks ago, we saw the awesome performance of the Sapphire HD 4870 single GPU card that put Nvidia on notice with the performance value that the HD 4870 brings to the table. So much so, that the top of the line GTX 280 sells for around $430 instead of the initial $650 price. With expectations high, let's see how this beauty performs.
The front panel of the retail package for the Sapphire HD 4870X2 shows "Ruby", locked and loaded. Highlights include the list of software that comes with the HD 4870X2; included are Futuremark's 3DMark Vantage, two pieces of software from CyberLink, and the Ruby ROM that includes "Games and More". Additional information is listed, and shows that the Sapphire HD 4870X2 has 2GB of GDDR5 memory, that the card is an X2 model, and is CrossFireX capable. The rear panel goes into detail about some of the capabilities of the card, highlights over 700 awards won since 2002, and features the phrase "Liberation from Limitation." The sides contain the list of requirements to use the HD 4870X2, and the list is pretty substantial.
Inside the well done exterior packaging is the container that holds this beast of a card. Rather than the two pieces of open cell foam usually used is a foam shell that securely holds the video card in place. Under this foam structure is the box that contains the rather large bundle of accessories for the Sapphire HD 4870X2. It seems as of late that Sapphire is bringing a little more value to the table with the bundles they have been including. This bundle looks quite similar to the one included with the Sapphire HD 4850 Toxic
The bundle includes software from CyberLink, Futuremark, the Ruby ROM, and driver disk. Connectivity comes in the form of HDMI to DVI and DVI to D-sub adapters, an HD to RCA video out, and an HD to component dongle. A CrossFire bridge connection is included, in case you want to run two of these monsters in a CrossFireX configuration. Four GPU cores would be sick! If your power supply does not have the required 8-pin and 6-pin PCI-E power connections, have no fear - Sapphire has included adapters just in case. Although it is not the optimal solution, it will get the card up and running.
Now that everything has carefully been removed from the packaging, let's take a better look at the card in all of its glory.