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Noise, and Overclocking

AMD's Radeon HD 4870 X2: R700 First-Look
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Noise

We have measured the noise output of the cards with the help of a sonometer placed 5 cm away from the fan, with all the other fans stopped the at the moment of the measurement.

Reasonably silent at rest, the Radeon HD 4870 X2 turns out to be—not surprisingly—quite noisy when in use, right from the time that its fan starts spinning up. On the other hand, we also want to note that while the GeForce GTX 280 is pretty noisy at rest, it is much more bearable than it used to be under load.

Overclocking

Although the Catalyst Control Center permits us to directly augment the frequencies of the GPU and RAM, it also limits their values to 11% at best—800 MHz for the GPU (as opposed to 750 MHz at its stock setting) and 1,000 MHz for the RAM (as opposed to 900 MHz). It is possible to override this via third-party overclocking software.

Not that you’d want to, though. Even at 800 MHz/1 GHz, the Radeon HD 4870 X2 not only failed to demonstrate palpable performance gains, but it also showed a slight slide in performance. You’ll just have to take solace in the fact that you’re already running the fastest card available.

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  • 4 Hide
    samuraiblade , 13 August 2008 03:29
    well there ya go , nvidia fans eat humble pie , even with dodgy drivers at a very early stage , this card trounces everything on the most important game that you nvidia die hards quote , which ofc is crysis , welcome to the ati revolution , it was worth the wait :) 
  • 2 Hide
    flyingalan , 13 August 2008 03:58
    I wonder what the FSX test configuration is, just a bare copy running, or something with a significant scenery add on like UK2000 airports ?
    I find it is the scenery add on that really brings FSX to its knees, say flying around London Heathrow airport. Previous versions all seemed to improve frame rates significantly with better and more powerful graphics cards even though Flightsim can also be CPU limited.
    Flightsim is a little more difficult to test than normal games because of the complex scenery add ons available and which many users install. It would be more realistic and interesting to test graphics cards and FSX if possible, with a demanding scenery add on installed as well (if this is not already done).
    It seems surprising in this current test that FSX does not show much difference between manufactures card versions (just difference between ATI and NV) which would seem to indicate a CPU limited test, whereas in practice with typical scenery add on installed I have found a more powerful graphics card did seem to make a significant difference. It is also very interesting that ATI drivers now seem to be poor compared to NVidia in FSX, limiting ATI card performance, some explanation or comment from manufacturer would be very interesting to FS community.

    Keep up the great work in testing, it is almost impossible for the individual now to make a rational choice without this sort of information. Thanks for including Flightsim in your tests, most places ignore it !
  • 0 Hide
    flyingalan , 13 August 2008 04:12
    Any idea why ATI drivers now seem so poor in FSX ?, thereby limiting performance. Does ATI have any comment ?

    Also it looks like in this testing, FSX is CPU limited rather than graphics card limited. Wonder if any typical intensive scenery add on is being used, like UK2000 airports, or is the test with bare copy FSX ?
    Previously I have found that although flightsim itself is CPU intensive, a more powerful graphics card also made a big difference when using flightsim with complex add on scenery, say flying around London Heathrow. A comment on FSX configuration used for testing would be interesting.

    Keep up the great work testing, it is almost impossible for an individual to make a sensible informed choice without this type of information.
    Thanks for including flightsim in your tests, most test reviews ignore us !!
  • -2 Hide
    flyingalan , 13 August 2008 04:14
    Sorry for double post, internet connection crashed and original didn't seem to upload. Ooooops
  • 2 Hide
    Anonymous , 13 August 2008 04:32
    hmm, nice., really nice. If only not for that insane power draw. maybe next year when they bring 40nm arch that will go down as well. or at least it should. its ridiculous that a single component can draw more power that the rest of the system together.

    as a sidenote, i hope people will move on from fannboysm to these billion dollar companies and buy wts best for them and not a brand. cheers.

    btw. i hope nvidia comes up with something good as well. competition is always good.
  • 1 Hide
    pingu12 , 13 August 2008 15:55
    the 4870x2 seems to be on par with the nvidea card when just using the high detail and res, but as soon as they popped the AA/AF on, it wiped the floor with all of the other test cards!
  • 1 Hide
    bobwya , 14 August 2008 04:12
    Nvidia is not only eating humble pie but it's served up by a well spoken total babe (change from AMDs usual booth hags).

    Ahhh isn't competition wonderful...!!

    Bob
  • -4 Hide
    smibble4 , 15 August 2008 04:31
    You noobs this is Nvidia's quiet before the storms to come. Ati's card has a dual GPU and Nvidia is a single module. Nvidia would crush ATI if it went X2 as well.
  • -2 Hide
    bobwya , 15 August 2008 05:13
    smibble4You noobs this is Nvidia's quiet before the storms to come. Ati's card has a dual GPU and Nvidia is a single module. Nvidia would crush ATI if it went X2 as well.


    Yah right,

    You are a big noobie yourself... Nvidia don't have anything like this secret weapon up their sleeve. The 4870 is matched with the 280 already. The 4870 X2 has been designed from the ground up and is not 2x 4870's cobbled together like the 3870 X2.

    Uhhhmmm the GTX 280 is rated at 170 watts vs 140 watts for the 4870. That is going to be massive power draw for a 280 X2 card!! LOL

    Look at the connect bandwidth on this 4870 X2 monster (internal PCIe 2.0 + extra crossfire channel)!! I mean 1Gb DDR5 RAM on each card...

    Ouch Nvidia are hurting finally since the 8800 GTX launched...

    Don't forget the big issues with SLI scaling as well.

    Bob
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , 15 August 2008 05:23
    Finally ATi pwns nVidia! I can't wait until I'm able to Quad-Crossfire these cards!
  • 0 Hide
    the_stiffmeister , 15 August 2008 21:17
    BobWyaYah right,You are a big noobie yourself... Nvidia don't have anything like this secret weapon up their sleeve. The 4870 is matched with the 280 already. The 4870 X2 has been designed from the ground up and is not 2x 4870's cobbled together like the 3870 X2.Uhhhmmm the GTX 280 is rated at 170 watts vs 140 watts for the 4870. That is going to be massive power draw for a 280 X2 card!! LOLLook at the connect bandwidth on this 4870 X2 monster (internal PCIe 2.0 + extra crossfire channel)!! I mean 1Gb DDR5 RAM on each card...Ouch Nvidia are hurting finally since the 8800 GTX launched...Don't forget the big issues with SLI scaling as well.Bob


    The 4870 is not matched with the 280, can't you read benchmarks? ATI HAVE basically just slapped 2 GPUs together, otherwise it wouldn't be called 4870 x2? I'm sure nvidia can do the same with the 280 and it will be more powerful. Don't delude yourself. I am no Nvidia fanboy, in fact up until my current card (280 GTX) I had ATI cards for years in case you were wondering. I really don't think Nvidia are hurting either just sitting on the enormous pile of money they have made.
  • 0 Hide
    bobwya , 15 August 2008 22:20
    the_stiffmeisterThe 4870 is not matched with the 280, can't you read benchmarks? ATI HAVE basically just slapped 2 GPUs together, otherwise it wouldn't be called 4870 x2? I'm sure nvidia can do the same with the 280 and it will be more powerful. Don't delude yourself. I am no Nvidia fanboy, in fact up until my current card (280 GTX) I had ATI cards for years in case you were wondering. I really don't think Nvidia are hurting either just sitting on the enormous pile of money they have made.


    OK The 4870 is not quite a match for the 280 (except for certain games but may improve due to there driver dependent architecture)... But you have got admit that doubling the frame buffer on each 4870 means that the 4870 X2 is not just 2x 4870 glued together!! Saying a 4870 X2 custom PCB holding 2x 4870 cores and 2Gb DDR5 RAM is just "glued" together is like the BS about the Q6600 not being a "true" quad core!! It's purely down to price/performance now. The 280 vs. 4870 X2 pricing!!

    Actually according to recent THG articles Nvidia are hurting a bit. Especially since they have had to decemate the pricing for the 260 and 280.

    Like I said before... Competition is good for the market!!

    Bob
  • 1 Hide
    the_stiffmeister , 16 August 2008 04:34
    BobWyaOK The 4870 is not quite a match for the 280 (except for certain games but may improve due to there driver dependent architecture)... But you have got admit that doubling the frame buffer on each 4870 means that the 4870 X2 is not just 2x 4870 glued together!! Saying a 4870 X2 custom PCB holding 2x 4870 cores and 2Gb DDR5 RAM is just "glued" together is like the BS about the Q6600 not being a "true" quad core!! It's purely down to price/performance now. The 280 vs. 4870 X2 pricing!!Actually according to recent THG articles Nvidia are hurting a bit. Especially since they have had to decemate the pricing for the 260 and 280.Like I said before... Competition is good for the market!!Bob


    I agree the competition is good but it would be better if ATI come up with a single GPU based card that beats Nvidia's flagship single GPU card.
  • 0 Hide
    bobwya , 16 August 2008 05:21
    the_stiffmeisterI agree the competition is good but it would be better if ATI come up with a single GPU based card that beats Nvidia's flagship single GPU card.


    I think you are missing the point here. ATI's 4870 is like a quarter of the size of the GTX 280. It actually makes sense (cost+performance) to join them together with the massive memory bandwidth they have.

    I mean just look at the die size comparison in this thread it says it all...


    I am not fanboiii but Nvidia are really hurting from engineering perspective. That whooper die is at the limit the process they using to produce it (the die cutter wouldn't stretch any bigger!!) That means a much higher rate of defects (with only the GTX 260 to mop some up) and thus much lower yield...

    Bob

  • -1 Hide
    the_stiffmeister , 16 August 2008 05:47
    BobWyaI think you are missing the point here. ATI's 4870 is like a quarter of the size of the GTX 280. It actually makes sense (cost+performance) to join them together with the massive memory bandwidth they have.I mean just look at the die size comparison in this thread it says it all...I am not fanboiii but Nvidia are really hurting from engineering perspective. That whooper die is at the limit the process they using to produce it (the die cutter wouldn't stretch any bigger!!) That means a much higher rate of defects (with only the GTX 260 to mop some up) and thus much lower yield...Bob


    Fanboiii, it doesn't really matter how big the card is, the point is the Nvidia single GPU card is faster than the ATI single GPU card. As long as it fits in ur case fella it's all good. If what you're saying is nVidia can't produce a dual 280 GPU card then ATI really do have a winner but it's too early to say Fanboiii.
  • 2 Hide
    g0ldf1sh , 22 August 2008 01:07
    just to add my 2p worth - cost for cost ATI beats Nvidia's. Nvidia have had to cut prices to compete yet if they were to make a '280 x2' model the cost would be astronomical, as would the power draw. YES if you compare the two single chip cards then Nvidia wins BUT its more expensive!! I'm no ATI fanboy, i've had nvidia since they 1st came out (and voodoo before that) but the fact is this card is awesome and I may have to get one for my next build.
  • 1 Hide
    bobwya , 22 August 2008 01:19
    g0ldf1shjust to add my 2p worth - cost for cost ATI beats Nvidia's. Nvidia have had to cut prices to compete yet if they were to make a '280 x2' model the cost would be astronomical, as would the power draw. YES if you compare the two single chip cards then Nvidia wins BUT its more expensive!! I'm no ATI fanboy, i've had nvidia since they 1st came out (and voodoo before that) but the fact is this card is awesome and I may have to get one for my next build.


    +1 Thanks for saying what I was try to say!! BTW for the record I currently have SLI EVGA 8800GTX's so I cannot be accused of being an ATI fanboiii!! I just recognize superior engineering when I see it!!

    Bob
  • 2 Hide
    blazer666_uk , 27 August 2008 03:09
    I have had many different graphics cards over the years Voodoo Voodoo2 Cretive GTS ATI Radeon 8500, 9700PRO, Nvidia 7800GTX 7900GTX, 7950GT2, 8800GTX, Now I own a 4870X2 and its excellent. Way out performs my 8000GTX on crysis so it(4870x2) gets my vote. I can even afford to get another one in a few months time! but what crazy power consumption! it will be able to heat my living room in the winter!
  • -3 Hide
    Anonymous , 29 August 2008 13:48
    ITT: ATi fan bois
  • 0 Hide
    MasterDOOM , 31 October 2008 19:25
    Love AMD ATI RADEON !
    In This Moment ATI RADEON Have the Best Video Card in The World !
    Now I Have ATI RADOEN 2600XT 512Mb and is OK but This Will Be my Next Step .
    I have a Friend how have 2X 8800GTS and Now hy want to Sale them and to Buy This MONSTER by AMD-ATI RADEON.
    AMD-ATI RADEON THE BEST CHOICE IN GAMING & FULL HD Movies !