Palit Radeon HD4870 512MB Graphics Card Review

by Michael "SKYMTL" Hoenig     |     June 25, 2008

Palit Radeon HD4870 512MB Graphics Card Review

Product Number: TBD
Price: $300
Manufacturer’s Product Page: TBD
Warranty: 2-year
Availability: Now

In the last few months the mid and high end graphics card market has once again become a battleground between the two heavyweights: AMD (the artist formerly known as ATI) and Nvidia. There was a time where ATI slipped a bit with the release of their R600 and it seemed like Nvidia was going to run away with the graphics card market once and for all with the 8800-series. Luckily for all of us things began to brighten considerably for the boys in red when they introduced their RV670 core with the HD3870, HD3850 and eventually the HD3870X2. These cards were greeted with enthusiasm and completed well against their Nvidia equivalents but in the end the RV670 core was nothing more than a die shrink of the infamous R600. Hot on the heels of what could only be called an extremely successful product launch particularly with the HD3870; AMD is now poised to give us a completely new architecture in the form of the R770 core which adorns both the HD4850 and the HD4870. In this review we will be looking at the HD4870 which will be launching today.

In the hard-fought war between GPU manufacturers, both Nvidia and ATI know that it is best not to bring a knife to a gunfight or you will get stomped pretty hard by the competition. Interestingly, even though they are targeting their products to basically the same clients both companies have taken a decidedly different approach to the way they approach the market. On one hand we have Nvidia releasing ultra high-end, power hungry cards like the GTX 280 that cater those few gamers and enthusiasts who are willing to pony up $650 and more for a graphics card. On the other hand, AMD figures that the majority of gamers don’t want to spend $650 for a graphics card in this day and age so have taken a very different approach with the HD4870. With this card they are giving us a product that is supposed to be able to play the majority of games on the market with high IQ settings while retailing for around $300. This is a pretty lofty goal but it is well within the realm of possibility since the HD4850 (our review is due out shortly after this one) has proven to live up to everyone’s expectations and then some. With words like “recession” on everyone’s mind and the cost of living going through the roof due to record-high gas prices, it looks like AMD has targeted the prices of these cards at just the right place.

With ATI catapulting this product into the void left in the $300 price point by Nvidia’s seemingly knee-jerk move of reducing the price of their 9800 GTX to around $200, you would think they would want to get it out as soon as possible. While they may be chomping at the bit to get the HD4870 to market, today marks its soft launch with the majority of product only being available in fits and spurts between now and the starting of July. Believe it or not though, there is the very distinct possibility that this will turn into a hard launch since there is quite of few of these cards out there.

While many of you may be used to the Sapphire, Diamond and VisionTek cards on the market which do a good job of representing the ATI and AMD names here in Canada, there is one other player who’s HD4870 we will be reviewing today: Palit. There is not much about this card that really stands out from the competition since it is a stock-clocked product other than the fact that it is made by the world’s largest video card manufacture. Yes, that is right the company which hasn’t been heard much of here in North America is at the top of the pile when it comes to sales in Asia as well as Europe. Even though they have been in a large part absent from the North American market, they are taking us by storm with widespread availability of their cards at most leading retailers.

The HD4870 512MB represents quite a few firsts in the consumer graphics card world: the first single chip 1.2 teraflop card, the first implementation of GDDR5 and the first single chip AMD graphics card above the $290 price-point in quite some time. It definitely seems to have a lot going for it so without further ado, let’s get on with this review.


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