Palit Radeon HD 4870 X2 2GB Video Card Review

by Michael "SKYMTL" Hoenig     |     August 11, 2008

Palit Radeon HD 4870 X2 2GB Video Card Review

Product Number: XAE=487X2+T345
Price: $550
Manufacturer’s Product Page: TBD
Warranty: 2-year
Availability: Today

As of late, ATI has been riding the winds of success with their HD4800-series after months and months of playing second fiddle to a surging Nvidia. In the last little while we have reviewed both their HD4870 card and the more budget-minded HD4850. Both have offered an amazing amount of performance considering their respective prices and when they are paired up in Crossfire they will blow your mind with blisteringly high framerates. With a huge amount of media coverage, it has been pretty hard to avoid the phenomenon these cards have kicked up in their wake. With all of the reviews and the massive numbers of new users attesting to these cards’ prowess in all of the latest games, ATI looks like it is poised to make up for months of lackluster performance in one fell swoop.

There hopefully isn’t a soul alive in the enthusiast community who isn’t even partially surprised with how well ATI has been able to turn around their fortunes but there is one area they have not yet tackled: the ultra high-end performance crown. Riding on the coattails of their recent inroads, today marks the launch of their HD4870 X2 2GB card which is looking to capitalize on the growing popularity of the 4800-series while taking performance to the next level. Technically, this new behemoth is called the “R700” even though it uses a pair of R770 cores and 2GB of memory but for clarity’s sake we will keep its full retail name as much as possible in this review. It is with this card that ATI is hoping to capture the hearts and minds of those few people out there who can afford the best of the best.

Even though the HD4870 X2 may be firmly targeted at the high-end market, it carries with it an amazingly “affordable” price of about $550. Does anyone remember when bleeding edge performance came at an eye-watering price? Heck, even the recently-released Nvidia GTX 280 had a jaw-dropping MSRP of nearly $700 here in Canada before its recent nosedive into the $470 price category. While 550 smackers may make it the highest priced stock clocked card currently on the market, there are actually a number of overclocked GTX 280 cards we have seen in the last few weeks retailing for about that price as well. So, while this new 2GB monster from ATI may not be within everyone’s grasp financially, it is much more attainable to you and me than past ultra high end cards.

ATI has a large cadre of board partners ready to launch the HD4870 X2 in North America but we will be focusing on one manufacturer in particular: Palit. This is one company that is absolutely hell-bent on making its presence felt here in the North American marketplace even though it only entered it a few years back. They have extremely aggressive pricing on most of their cards, good customer support but a somewhat unfortunate 2 year warranty on all their products. While this may hold them back a bit, we don’t know too many people who will spend $550 on a graphics card and keep it for more than a year. It should also be noted that for all intents and purposes, stock will be quite tight for launch but should pick up in weeks thereafter.

All in all, it seems like the HD4870 X2 2GB could very well be the new card to have for the foreseeable future considering its pedigree and the expectations we have for it. However, with the GTX 280 retailing for almost $100 less, the HD4870 X2 may have a little unexpected competition based on its current $550 suggested retail price. On the other hand, if it can pull off performance similar to the HD4870 Crossfire setup we saw last week, it will be worth every penny. Especially since it costs less than a pair of HD4870 cards.

But WAIT, there is more….

Believe it or not though, this isn’t the only card that is being announced here. While the HD4870 X2 sees its release and availability today, ATI has also released some tantalizing details to us about a manufacturer-specific card called the HD4850 X2. We will have a few more details about it on the next page let’s just say for now that there will only be a few board partners releasing this card since it is not an ATI-produced reference design. Rather, in true ATI fashion partners are left free to design their own cards which will get subsequent approval from ATI’s engineers.

This could be shaping up to be a very interesting year-end in more ways than one.


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