Visiontek HD4870 Reviewajmatson - July 17, 2008
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Like I stated before, the Visiontek HD 4870 uses the ATI reference design for the card. There is the Dual Slot cooler and the red colored PC Board, which makes the HD 4870 stand up and say I am an ATI based card. Even the sticker on the heatsink shroud is a generic Radeon logo sticker instead of a personalized one from Visiontek like we saw on the PowerColor HD 4870. Like I mentioned before, the HD 4800 series card are plagued with heat issues and they run way too hot under load for my taste. ATI claims that this card is safe at these temperatures and there is no worry about burning out the card, but for other components the added heat could be an issue, especially since I have had two stickers melt off of two of the HD 4800 series cards I own. This makes you wonder why Visiontek choose to go with the reference cooler instead of an aftermarket cooling solution. On the bottom of the board there is a retention bracket designed to keep the load of the heatsink spread even across the card so as not to damage the critical components of the HD 4870 video card. On the side near the heatsink grill there is a sticker even warning about the hot air being expelled from the card.
There front of the card is where the connectors are located for the video card. The Visiontek HD 4870 has two DVI ports which support Dual Link DVI and one S-Video port. HDMI and VGA connections are also supported using the supplied adapters. To feed the power hungry beast, you will need two free 6-pin PCI Express power connections. I would also recommend that you make sure you have a very efficient power supply if you plan to run more than one card in a CrossfireX setup. On the outer spine of the card there are the two Crossfire connectors used to connect the Crossfire interconnects for CrossfireX mode for a powerful multi-GPU system.
The heatsink on the Visiontek HD 4870 uses a Dual Slot design with a copper heatsink and pipes connected to aluminum fins for maximum heat dissipation. The heatsinks are enclosed in a plastic shroud with a large blower style fan to push air across the fins and out through the back of the case via the PCI slots. This allows for effective cooling while not allowing the heat created to stay enclosed in the computer case.
Once the cooler is removed, we can get a real good view of the chips on the Visiontek HD 4870. The GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) is based on the RV770 core and is clocked at 750MHz. The memory is clocked at 900MHz (3600MHz effective, which is 900MHz x 4) and the HD 4870 uses GDDR5 memory instead of the usual GDDR3 or GDDR4. The GDDR5 memory gives you increased bandwidth, while maintaining a 256-bit memory interface instead of the 512-bit one run on the newer NVIDIA GTX cards. The 512MB GDDR5 memory is manufactured by Qimonda. To the rear of the card is the voltage area where you can see the amount of power regulation that the Visiontek HD 4870 requires.
Now that we have had a good look at the Visiontek HD 4870, let's put it back together and take a look at the software needed to run this bad boy.