Sapphire HD4870 X2 Reviewccokeman -
» Discuss this article (53)
At OverclockersClub.com, we use a series of benchmarks to stress the graphics card. We will use a series of newer gaming benchmarks, as well as some that are more seasoned, to show how well the Sapphire HD 4870X2 compares to some of the other enthusiast video cards on the market. We'll be using both single and dual GPU models to demonstrate the performance that can be gained from a dual card solution, if any at all. All driver settings and clock speeds will be left at factory defaults for both the CPU and GPU, in an effort to minimize or eliminate any variables that could impact the results. The test system used in this review is listed below. After testing the card at stock speeds, I'll overclock it to see what kind of performance can be gained. All testing is done with the default settings in the respective Control Panels, as well as default settings in the BIOS of the motherboard used in this test.
- Processor: Intel Q9450 Core 2 Quad 333x8
- Motherboard: Gigabyte X48-DQ6
- Memory: Mushkin XP2 Redline 8000 2 x 2GB 5-5-5-12
- Video Card(s): Sapphire HD4870X2
- Power Supply: Mushkin 800w Modular Power Supply
- Hard Drive: 1 x Seagate 1TB SATA
- Optical Drive: NEC DV5700
- OS: Windows Vista Ultimate Edition
Comparison Video Cards:
- Sapphire HD 4870X2 @ 805/950MHz
Most of the video cards I have looked at lately have a good bit of headroom for the enthusiast crowd. I was expecting the HD 4870X2 to offer that same level of overhead for overclocking. The HD 4870X2 gave up a little bit of love, but not as much as I had hoped for - 55MHz on the GPU cores and 50MHz on the GDDR5 memory. Both pretty low numbers when you consider that this video card is an enthusiast-level card. I suspect that heat is the main culprit in limiting the overclocking here. With temperatures in the range of 90+ degrees Celsius, heat is a major concern, and may ultimately be the problem to solve to get more overhead. At 955MHz on the memory, I ended up with large colored blotches on the screen. At 950MHz, the problem disappeared. On the GPU cores, once I got over 805MHz, I was greeted with lockups and reboots. Setting up a profile in the Catalyst Control Center and modifying the XML file for the profile did not help, as it has with the 4850 and 4870 video cards. The fan speed never changed, so I was left with a hot card and no way to cool it down any more than the drivers would allow; as with any piece of hardware, your mileage may vary. Knowing what my limits were on the clock speeds, I decided to see how much the CPU clock speed was impacting performance. So I pulled the Q9450 and put in my trusty QX9770 to get some real clock speed to find out what kind of performance difference the CPU makes. At 400x10, the performance did not let me down. In 3DMark06 at the default 1280x1024 resolution, the combo did not disappoint - 22520 was the score I achieved. This is higher than I have been able to manage with the 9800 GX2. In 3DMark Vantage, the performance score went up 2500 points to 15234. Both levels of performance are pretty amazing for the Sapphire HD 4870X2.