ATI Radeon HD 4850 and 4870: RV770 Has Arrived

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As we've already explained, the initial line-up of Radeon HD 4800 series cards will be comprised of the single-slot Radeon HD 4850 and dual-slot Radeon HD 4870.


   


AMD is touting the Radeon HD 4850 as the first single-GPU solution to offer 1TFLOPs of compute power, thanks to its 625MHz RV770 GPU.  The card features GDDR3 memory and has a max power of about 110W.  As you'd probably expect, the Radeon HD 4870 is markedly more powerful.  Although based on the same GPU, the 4870 is clocked higher at 750MHz, and thus offers 1.2TFLOPs of compute power. The Radeon HD 4870 also makes use of newer GDDR5 memory technology and has a higher max power of 160W.  More on the cards themselves a little later.

Low level specs aren't what make the Radeon HD 4800 series cards stand out; it's the RV770 GPU that's really interesting.  It turns out that AMD was able to crank the SP count up from 320 on the older RV670 to a beefy 800 on the RV700. AA and Z/Stencil performance are enhanced as well, and the number of texture units has been increased from 16 to 40.  What's somewhat surprising about all of these changes though, is that AMD was able to do it with "only" a 44% increase in transistors.


   


AMD was able to do this by redesigning virtually all of the functional blocks within the GPU.  The 800 stream processing units are grouped in a new SIMD core layout, and the texture units, ROPs, and cache have been restructured to minimize transistor count, while also increasing performance.  We should also point out that the ring-bus memory controller introduced with the X1K series has been replaced with a new memory controller that can make use of GDDR5 memory.


   


With the RV770, AMD claims that the SPs in the GPU offer 40% more performance per square millimeter, and that more aggressive clock gating offers improved performance per watt.  Likewise, the newly streamlined design of the RV770 texture units reportedly offer 70% more performance per square mm with double the texture cache bandwidth and large increases in 32- and 64-bit filter rates.

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Comments
Marco C 6 years ago

 Hi All.  If you liked this article, please Digg it...

http://digg.com/hardware/ATI_Radeon_HD_4850_and_4870_RV770_is_Here_CrossFire_Tested

Thanks!

ice91785 6 years ago

Aside from the heat output this definately sounds like a better buy (the 4870) than does the GTX 280 -- after all, is it really worth 2x the cost [of the 4870] for a card that performs not-so substantially better? Yes the 280 will out perform it but who, I ask of you, would truely take advantage of this performance increase that would not be able to have an enjoyable experience with ATI's counterpart?

LaMpiR 6 years ago
I was looking forward of reading this review at HH :)
ice_73 6 years ago
great review, just wish overclocking was tested, since according to some reports after an after market cooler, you can get it to be around the gtx 280 level.

i think its clear that this gen, ati is king. sure nvidia has the better performance but for 2x as much id much rather crossfire the 4870
amdcrankitup 6 years ago
This was definatly a good reveiw. Im impressed with both the ATI and the nvidia cards.The implementation of DDR5 is definatly a plus at the same time with me the price point to performance ratio is probably going to have a factor in my decision when I get in a financial situation to do so.It already has got me excited thinking about an aftermarket cooler just to see what kind of numbers I can acheive in lowering the temps and OCing options. When I get ready to pick up one of these Bad Boys they,ll be more updates to this reveiw by HH.Good read HH!
MikeL_HH 6 years ago
What I thought was most significant is that two 4850's in Crossfire performs almost identically to a single GeForce GTX 280 in all tests, but the dual 4850 setup ends up being around $250 cheaper (2x$199 vs $649). That is a huge deal. Even considering potential Crossfire scaling issues with certain games, you're still clearly ahead with a $250 savings.

The best part is, since the 4850's are single-slot cards that use a single 6-pin power connector, dual 4850s technically have the same physical footprint as a single GeForce GTX 280. Granted, the Crossfire setup would produce more heat and consume more power than a single GTX 280, but the difference isn't huge. I don't even see the point on a single GTX 280 setup now.
amdcrankitup 6 years ago

[quote user="LovelyCrap"]What I thought was most significant is that two 4850's in Crossfire performs almost identically to a single GeForce GTX 280 in all tests, but the dual 4850 setup ends up being around $250 cheaper (2x$199 vs $649). That is a huge deal. Even considering potential Crossfire scaling issues with certain games, you're still clearly ahead with a $250 savings.

The best part is, since the 4850's are single-slot cards that use a single 6-pin power connector, dual 4850s technically have the same physical footprint as a single GeForce GTX 280. Granted, the Crossfire setup would produce more heat and consume more power than a single GTX 280, but the difference isn't huge. I don't even see the point on a single GTX 280 setup now.[/quote] 

 

Well thats my thinking on it even at a savings of $250 over the 280,s Certainly the option of ati,s single card slot would be in my price range and of course the pricing as it is I think will cause nvidia to be a little more competitive in its pricing!

Lev_Astov 6 years ago
I too am very pleased by the results of this review, but where's my HD video IN? We still need cards that can take in an HD signal with a DVI or HDMI plug. Regardless, I'll probably be buying one of these before long.
nelsoncp21 6 years ago

 well ya never know. nvidia may slash the prices on the gtx 280 now to stay in the game otherwise I don't see them selling.

recoveringknowitall 6 years ago

I doubt the 280 will be available for under 6 bills for at least a couple months and probably won't be under 5 till next year... just my oppinion.

Crisis Causer 6 years ago

Wow, the GTX 260 is officially obselete for the time being.  Not only does the 4870 cost less and perform the same, Nvidia's own 9800GTX+ performs almost as good and also costs less.

The GTX 280 is really for people who only want the best without thinking of cost.  Otherwise it's wise to consider the 4870.

higgamo 6 years ago
well the 9800gtx+ gonna cost $199 i believe so seems like best deal
jtm55 6 years ago

 Hi All

Well this certainly puts AMD/ATI back in the Graphics card race. Best of all we the consumer benefit by them offering a viable alternative to Nvidias products. Great review as always.

Endersothergame 6 years ago

Well this is nice to see.  It good to see ATI humbling nVidia even a lil bit, I mean I won't be buying anything new as with the res I play at I am CPU bound before more often then my gfx card is showing signs of stress.  However this is nice for lots of reasons it will drive the cost of my next upgrade down.  Who knows I may go back ATI again.  This 88GT has served me well, but something in me misses my old friend 'the radeon'.

Anonymous 6 years ago
Just thought id let you know i put in my order for Radeon 4870 yesterday. Thanks for the review.
mlovely 6 years ago

Got mine in Yesterday......man it is wonderfull, i overclocked it right off the bat to max settings and it runs stable as a rock, (790 core clock, 1100 mem. clock) it runs a bit hot, the stock fan settings run at 23% and the card under load runs at 87-90c but i did a fan mod and have the fan running at 40% and temps drop down to mid 40's. i havent done any benches as i dont have any benching software :P but crysis runs at 25 fps average on all high settings with the overclock and upper teens without the overclock. if anyone has any questions about the card ill happily answer :)

 

mlovely

peti1212 6 years ago

Looks like ATI is still not checking up with Nvidia. I head that the 4870 X2 is suppose to come out this month though and that is suppose to beat the single GTX 280. We'll see about that.

 

Anonymous 6 years ago

[quote user="peti1212"]

Looks like ATI is still not checking up with Nvidia. I head that the 4870 X2 is suppose to come out this month though and that is suppose to beat the single GTX 280. We'll see about that.

 

[/quote] 

 you get 80% of nvidias GTX 280 performance for half the price. That is really + 1 to ATI in my book.  Then you can always crossfire the 4870 or wait til their high end x2 part comes out if you have to have the best of the best. Either way a crossfire setup with either 4850 or 4870 is faster than the 280. That is something I think that has suprised me and a lot of tech people. Ati came out of no where with exellent price/performance. You can get the best gaming graphics now without having to spend 600 dollars on a video card. I appreciate ATI's gutcheck to nvidias $699 gtx 280.

mlovely 6 years ago

Ok.....im addicted to hardware, I am not asshamed to admit it..........

 

Good news: i got a second saphire 4870, overclocked it the same os my first and am running them in crossfire mode.

 

the bad news: i dont see a huge bump in performance....or evin a slight bump.....im assuming drivers are the issue, im running ccc 8.6 so tonight i will dl and try the leaked 8.7 beta drivers and see if it fixes crossfire.

Anonymous 6 years ago

 you may need to run driver cleaner and install from scratch. You should see a big jump in performance unless of course your CPU bound.

agawtrip 6 years ago

ATI Radeons high-end lineup

4850 = Pro

4870 = XT

4870 X2 = X2

4890 = XTX

4890 X2 = XTX X2

 

two cards are out, 3 more to go. if AMD/ATI is really serious in dethroning nVidia in high-ends/ultra high-ends, they should or they MUST release the remaining three.

 

Anonymous 6 years ago

 Turn on 8X AA and watch the 4870 dethrone the 280.  Also if rumors are true we will see 4870x2 in August.  I keep hearing how ATI needs to do this and do that. Frankly if they can give the kind of performance that the 4870 delivers at that 299 price then I could careless about ultra high end 600 dollar video cards.

3DtoHD 6 years ago

 Great informative post!

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