Sapphire Radeon HD 4870
1,200,000,000,000 calculations per second!
- Good performance for its price, HDCP support
- You're still going to have trouble with Crysis at 1400x960 using Very High settings!
Sapphire's Radeon HD4870 offers an impressive amount of graphics power at a modest price, and while it won't appeal to the power gamer, it's more than enough for most users.
Price$ 448.00 (AUD)
Sapphire's HD 4870 features ATI's brand-new flagship Radeon HD 4800 series chips. The chips are reportedly the first to offer a teraFLOP of computing power.
Despite sounding like a puppet-based sci-fi TV show, a teraFLOP is actually a measure of one trillion floating point operations per second. The Sapphire Radeon HD 4870 is boasting 1.2 of 'em (or 1,200,000,000,000 calculations per second). ATI says that this allows the 4800 series chips to offer twice the performance of the previous 3800 line — which weren't exactly slouches themselves.
Another advance is the first use of GDDR5 memory. This can exchange data with the Sapphire Radeon HD 4870 at up to 3.6Gbps, much faster than the circa2.2Gbps offered by GDDR3 seen by nVidia's mid-to-high-end range (and ATI's HD 4850).
So, the Sapphire Radeon HD 4870 can work faster with textures and other complex, pre-calculated data, all helping to bump up your framerate. As a first-generation 4800 board, the HD 4870 has 512MB of RAM — but we expect to see models with even more memory for gamers soon.
The Sapphire Radeon HD 4870 is a large full-length board with dual power connectors on the end, so you'll need a large case to accomodate it while it takes up two slots. Sapphire's card is bright red and adorned with a Lara-like pistol-packing brunette - but it's as whisper quiet as MSI's board.
Other useful technologies include the Unified Video Decoder 2 to tap the Sapphire Radeon HD 4870's GPU for better HD video playback, and HDCP support for playing encrypted Blu-ray Discs.
Given its price, the Radeon HD 4870 isn't pitched against the most powerful of nVidia's cards. It's natural enemy is the good ol' GeForce 9800 GTX, either in standard or overclocked variants. We tested the Sapphire Radeon HD 4870 against a similarly priced MSI GeForce 9800 GTX OC, and the results were very much in the HD 4870's favour. Using our demanding Crysis test, we saw the Radeon board pull further ahead of the GeForce the more we upped the settings.
At 1280x720 and the High Quality setting, there was little between them — but from 1400x960 up to full-HD 1920x1,200, the HD 4870 was 25-30 per cent faster than the nVidia board. At the Very High setting, the difference increased to around 40 per cent. By 1400x960 though, the HD 4870 wouldn't produce a usable framerate in Crysis (while the 9800 couldn't top 25fps at any resolution at Very High setting).
Join the PC World newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Apple MacBook (early 2015) review: Almost a game changer
- 2 Microsoft Surface 3 Windows 8.1 tablet
- 3 HP Spectre x360 convertible laptop
- 4 Dell XPS 13 laptop (early 2015 model)
- 5 Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ70 compact camera
Join the PC World newsletter!
Best Deals on GoodGearGuide
Latest News Articles
- USB 3.1 set to reach desktops
- Hands-on with AMD's FreeSync: The technology that could kill Nvidia's G-Sync
- Qualcomm's Raspberry Pi-like computer has wireless capabilities
- Intel's Skylake chips to appear in tablets, PCs, servers
- Nvidia slapped with lawsuit over 'misleading' GPU claims
GGG Evaluation Team
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.
The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.
My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.