Video cards(30 posts)
In a perfect example of apropos, I recently saw an article about ATI releasing the 4870 X2. Just like the 3870 X2, which it replaces, the 4870 X2 puts 2 GPUs on one board. So, it only takes up one slot for plugging in. I have no idea how many slots it may take up due to overhang, but I seem to recall that the 3870 X2 was relatively narrow. Here's the article:
Unfortunately, the first cards with this dual-GPU configuration are very expensive, but it creates some interesting possibilities. For example, you could start with 2 GPUs in one PCI-E slot and at some later date add 2 more in a second PCI-E slot. Or, just add 1 for a total of 3 GPUs, if that's all you need. Would Hybrid Crossfire be available with these cards? I don't see why not. That means a 4870 X2 on one of the new AMD/ATI chipsets would give you 3 GPUs to start with and as many as 5(!) if that's even supported. Well, it's fun to speculate. :-)
Well I get back home in about 2 maybe 3 months, and I dont plan on building anything until then, maybe by then NVIDIA will have their GTX 290 out and ATi will have their HD 4870 x2, and I'll have to compare the 2. Although I have a feeling the 290 will be the better of the 2, just like the comparision between the 9800 GX2 and the GTX 280 that starting this topic, but we'll have to wait and see
Another thing that pulls me towards NVIDIA chipsets (although if it wasnt for this ATi would win hands down) is the fact that they support DDR3 RAM, which can double the speed of DDR2 RAM... but then again ATi/ AMD might have something getting ready to come out that supports it.
This game of one-upmanship has been going on for many years and is likely to continue into the future.
As for a comparison of memory, the key measurement is bandwidth no matter what the technology. These GPUs are all using GDDR memory these days which is optimized for graphics processing. The older ATI Radeon 3870 can use GDDR3 or GDDR4 memory and the new 4870 uses GDDR5 memory. The Nvidia GTX 280 uses GDDR3 memory but, as I said, it's the bandwidth that counts not the technology. Currently, the GTX 280 has a memory bandwidth of 141 GB/s to the Radeon 4870's 115 GB/s. However, the 4870 X2 effectively doubles the memory bandwidth to a theoretical 230 GB/s.
As a sign of just how fast these things change, when I just went to ATI's website, they claim to have the fastest graphics card available today. Then in the fine print it says "today" means August 12, 2008!
Okay now I've searched and researched everything about these 2 cards, I found the 4870s on newegg for about 550, and it takes 2 slots so I'll be blocking a PCIe 1x slot or a regular PCI slot with it. I dont know if they have a waterblock for the ATi 4870 x2 yet, but I cant find one, if someone else can... please post a link, beacause that would take the cake right there, no more searching, I can finally go back to ATi with confidence
JKay, if you're not planning to do this build for 2-3 months from now, you should probably just keep an eye on the space race between ATI and Nvidia. By the time you're ready to buy, Nvidia may have leapfrogged ATI and maybe ATI will have leapfrogged them and so on!
It looks to me as if all of the GTX 280 cards are double-wides, as well, at least those that are air-cooled. Amazingly enough, though the 4870 X2 was only announced a few days ago, I found this announcement of a company planning to release a water cooler for it:
As usual, one of the benefits of all of this competition is driving prices down and features up. Since the 4870 X2 was announced by ATI, Nvidia has dropped the price of the GTX 280. Older cards from both manufacturers are coming down in price. This is probably a good time to pick up a Radeon 3870 or GeForce 9800 series card.
I am keeping a close eye on this, with the quick release of this new ATi card, they might come ahead in the race, and when I get to a computer where everything isnt blocked I'll have to check out that waterblock, hopfully it turns the card into a single slot like the waterblock does for the GTX 280, one of the advantages to water cooling, and I'm hoping AMD/ATi releases an up to date motherboard with the integrated graphics and DDR3 RAM support, so I can take full advantage of Crossfire and the Hybrid Crossfire. ScottW really has a point where you could have a potential 5 processing units on graphics, a total of 3200 stream processors, 4gig of GDDR5 OC'd to about 2200MHz and a core clock OC'd to about 800MHz. I just need to mobo's to catch up with the video cards!!
well so far I've seen a picture of one of the waterblocks for the 4870 X2 made by CoolIT, all I can say is yeah... it's a waterblock, but it might work good. It's got right angles all over it, even though by the picture it looks like they yet again made a 2 slot card into 1, it doesnt look like it'd cool it very well, and they claim a 13.5% OC on the core and 11% OC on the memory to be safe with this waterblock. Now I dont OC very much, but that doesn't seem like much if we're talking a waterblock... but then again I have almost no experience in OCing, or water cooling for that matter. Closest I've ever been was helping a buddy of mine rig a celeron 300 with a Liquid N20 cooling system and OCing it to 1.2GHz... it worked for about a week, then the mobo cracked. I think it got too cold, or it might have been the mobo heating up around the chip under load and the N2O cooling it too fast causing the crack, who knows.
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