Wow, when was the last time we had a product review? 🙂 So many events to attend recently, anyway today we have the HD4870 GS from Gainward. Let’s move on for the review!
A neat looking ATI card, what’s most prominent about this unit is the customized cooler from Gainward.
I love the dual fan setup, one fan is bigger than the other. The bigger fan resides over the GPU chip area while the smaller fan is place around the fins further, towards the front of the card.
What I didn’t like was the ugly “GAINWARD” label splattered all over the heatsink. A single, tastefully placed word GAINWARD would suffice. Black looks cool, black with spam of “GAINWARD” look like some protective seal not properly removed. 🙁
Besides the custom heatsink, is the 775 / 1000 speed on TURBO mode that allows you to which is faster than their standard HD4870 unit that operates at 750MHz / 950MHz. (Yes, I know the specs on many places stated 900Mhz. In my case, it was shown 950Mhz on NORMAL mode)
Yes, you read that right – TURBO Mode. The card comes with a switch that allows you to toggle between 2 BIOS, one being NORMAL and the other being TURBO mode.
Card Details & Bundle
Here’s a summarized detail of the card.
|Model||Gainward ATi Radeon HD4870
512MB DDR5 Golden Sample
|GPU Code Name||RV770|
|Memory Clock||1000Mhz (4Ghz DDR)|
At the time of this article, there doesn’t seem to be a product page for Gainward’s HD4870 Golden Sample at their website.
You could download the PDF copy of the specifications / details here.
The card comes with
– 1 x DVI to D-Sub adaptor
– 1 x DVI to HDMI adaptor
– 1 x Power cable
– Utilities & Driver CD
The computer setup used for this review.
|Processor||Intel Core™2 Duo E7200 @ 3.62Ghz|
|RAM||2x 2GB OCZ DDR2 PC2-8500 Reaper HPC Edition|
|Cooler||Sunbeamtech Core-Contact Freezer Heatsink|
|Monitor||20″ Dell Ultra-sharp Wide-screen LCD|
|Operating System||Windows Vista Home Basic 32bit|
|Driver Version||ATi Catalyst 8.9|
Graphic Detail : Maximum at 1680×1050, 4xAA
|HD4870 GS (Normal)||104|
|HD4870 GS (Turbo)||109|
|9800GT 1024MB Golden Sample||71|
World In Conflict
Graphic Detail : Maximum @ 1680×1050, 4xAA
|HD4870 GS (Normal)||33|
|HD4870 GS (Turbo)||33|
|9800GT 1024MB Golden Sample||23|
Company Of Heroes : Opposing Fronts
Graphic Detail : Maximum @ 1680×1050, 4xAA
|HD4870 GS (Normal)||50.5|
|HD4870 GS (Turbo)||51.4|
|9800GT 1024MB Golden Sample||34.1|
Lost Planet : Extreme Condition
Graphic Detail : Maximum at 1680 x 946, 4xAA.
|Card||Snow (Average)||Cave (Average)|
|HD4870 GS (Normal)||55.0||64.0|
|HD4870 GS (Turbo)||56.8||64.4|
|9800GT 1024MB Golden Sample||37.7||53.0|
Graphic Detail : Maximum (Very High) @ 1680×1050, 4xAA
|HD4870 GS (Normal)||17.50|
|HD4870 GS (Turbo)||18.10|
|9800GT 1024MB Golden Sample||11.02|
So what’s my verdict? I think the performance is great for the $$$ you pay, compare the HD4870GS (about RM 940) with the GTX280 (RM 1.4k – RM 1.7k range) and you’ll realize it’s a more cost-effective solution for computer gaming.
The temperatures held well, much thanks to the heatsink. On TURBO mode, it idles around 44°C on idle and around 55°C on load. Readings were taken when ambient temperature was around 25°C.
There’s quite a number of things I didn’t like about the card. Normally I’m not picky on the appearance of cards but I think better art deco would make the card appealing.
Besides that, I think the TURBO / NORMAL switch was probably one of the dumbest thing ever implemented on a graphic card. It doesn’t even make sense to run it on NORMAL mode when I’m already paying for such a card. And to make things worse, the switch was damn small, it’s practically covered by the casing when installed. It’s not even convenient to switch the modes, you had to go to the back of your casing and feel your way to it. It’s totally impractical, even a small-fingered person like myself had problem toggling the switch.
Gainward, if you were to implement such a switch – at least make it BIGGER and also place it in such a position that it’s FREE from being even close to the casing cover.
And speaking of the fan, one interesting thing to note was that Gainward claimed
1. Low noise Dual Fan with PWR control.
2. Gainward’s EXPERTool allows users adjust the fan speed.
From my experience with the card, it isn’t low-noise to begin with. And secondly, ExperTool failed to interface with the card for fan control. 🙁 Was it an ExperTool problem? Perhaps not, since the same installation managed to control the fan of the HD4850 Golden Sample flawlessly (Yes, review coming! Come back later this week!)
Despite my complaints, I’m still think this card is one that should be on your consideration should you be looking for an upgrade. Many users would actually have casing fan and all probably drowning the noise of the HD4870 GS, unfortunately for me, I run a silent setup so it does allow me to hear whether the item is actually silent, and the lack of control isn’t helping.