It seems like the Radeon HD3800 series of video cards just arrived, but it is already time to move on to the next generation. That is the way technology goes, though; a few months is a lifetime, and ATI is already prepared to take things to the next level with their new HD4800 series. The HD4850 and HD4870 hit the scene this summer, and as one of ATI's key partners, Sapphire
was obviously ready with their versions of these cards at the time of launch.
The promotional image below shows one of these new graphics cards, which happens to be the subject of this review. The Sapphire Radeon HD4870 512MB graphics card is a top of the line model offering a PCI Express X16 interface, a 750MHz core clock, and 900MHz GDDR5 memory which makes things very interesting thanks to the greatly increased bandwidth (in comparison to GDDR3 and GDDR4).
Before taking a closer look at the sample provided for review, let's take a look at some published data on this new card. The items listed below cover some of the key points on the Sapphire Radeon HD4870 512MB graphics card. For a complete list of the current features and specifications, please visit the official product page
on the Sapphire website.
» DirectX 10.1
» 24x custom filter anti-aliasing (CFAA) and high performance anisotropic filtering
» ATI CrossFireX multi-GPU support for highly scalable performance
» Use up to four discrete cards with an AMD 790FX based motherboard
» Dynamic geometry acceleration
» Game physics processing capability
» ATI Avivo HD video and display technology, Unified Video Decoder 2 (UVD) for Blu-ray and HD Video
» Built-in HDMI with 7.1 surround sound supportOn-chip HDCP
» ATI PowerPlay technology
» Display Output: Dual DL-DVI-I+HDTV
» Core Clock: 750 MHz
» Memory Clock: 900 MHz, 3.6Gbps
» PCI Express 2.0 x16 bus interface
» 512MB /256bit GDDR5 memory interface
» Dual Slot Active Cooler
» HDMI compliant via dongle
» 7.1 Audio Channel Support
» Microsoft DirectX 10.1 support
» Shader Model 4.1 support
A quick scan of the items listed above may not reveal much different from an HD3870. The core and memory clocks are about the same, the multimedia capabilities are similar, and other physical attributes have been carried over form one generation to the next. To notice where the performance boost might be coming from you have to look closer at the specifications. Here you will see that the number of stream processor units has increased by a whopping 150%, transistor count has increased by about 43%, and the memory bandwidth has increased by about 60%. That kind of improvement has to lead to good things for the HD4870!