Palit Radeon HD 4870 512MB Sonic Dual Edition Video Card Review

by Michael "SKYMTL" Hoenig     |     September 24, 2008

The New ATI Lineup

As the ATI lineup takes better shape, it becomes apparent that like Nvidia before them they are trying to have something for everyone. This market saturation brought Nvidia shouts of disdain from both the community and resellers as their lineup was far too confusing for the average consumer but ATI has taken a fundamentally different approach. Instead of releasing cards across two different series at the same time (like the boys in green did with the 8 and 9-series), Team Red has now almost completely discontinued the 3xxx-series in favor of the 4-series architecture. However, there are still 3-series cards on the market at various price points and this causes an unfortunate overlay with the new 4-series. We wouldnít be surprised to see some 3-series cards like the HD3870 stick around for a little while longer to not only clear out stocks but also retain an ATI presence in the $100 to $200 price bracket.

At this point the beastly X2 cards take the top spots even though the HD 4850 X2 has not seen the light of day other than the few words we mentioned a while ago. The HD 4870 X2 still carries the title of the most powerful graphics card on the fact of the planet and has a price to match but even that high MSRP has been slowly falling. Meanwhile, the HD 4870 currently occupies the upper portion of the highly lucrative and popular $200 to $300 price bracket along with the HD 4850.

Speaking of that magical $100 to $200 price bracket, there is amazingly little ATI can offer since the HD4600-series is priced below $100 while the next-level HD4850 is sitting pretty between $180 and $200. Granted, the HD3870ís technology is getting a bit long in the tooth and performs relatively poorly against the 9600GT and 8800GT, but it is all ATI has for now. Hopefully this will change but until then hopefully ATI can get retailers to cut down on pricing a bit since $150 and more for an HD3870 is far too much in our books.

Palit HD 4870 512MB Sonic Dual Edition Specifications

We have seen Palitís Sonic cards in the past and they usually carry with them impressive overclocks but unfortunately, their HD 4870 didnít follow suit. The core gets an overclock of a mere 25Mhz which is barely worth mentioning but the memory gets a pretty good increase of 400Mhz. Looking at these figures, it is a bit disappointing to see that Palit didnít push this cardís core speed just a bit further even though we predict that the increased memory speeds will probably help make up for it in some ways. On the other hand it seems for some reason that ATIís board partners are being very conservative when it comes to pre-overclocking their cards and we canít help but wonder why that is.

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