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Palit Radeon HD 4870 Sonic Dual Edition
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by Rob Williams on October 7, 2008 in AMD-Based GPU

It’s no secret that the HD 4870 is one of the best overall GPUs on the market right now, but with so much selection from vendors, it’s hard to choose the “best” one. Palit has a definite winner with their Sonic Dual Edition though. It’s pre-overclocked, runs 20°C cooler than the reference design and carries no cost premium.

Crysis Warhead

As PC enthusiasts, we tend to be drawn to games that offer spectacular graphics… titles that help reaffirm your belief that shelling out lots of cash for that high-end monitor and PC was well worth it. But it’s rare when a game comes along that is so visually-demanding, it’s unable to run fully maxed out on even the highest-end systems on the market. In the case of the original Crysis, it’s easy to see that’s what Crytek was going for.

Funny enough, even though Crysis was released close to a year ago, the game today still has difficulty running at 2560×1600 with full detail settings – and that’s even with overlooking the use of anti-aliasing! Luckily, Warhead is better optimized and will run smoother on almost any GPU, despite looking just as gorgeous as its predecessor, as you can see in the screenshot below.

The game includes four basic profiles to help you adjust the settings based on how good your system is. These include Entry, Mainstream, Gamer and Enthusiast – the latter of which is for the biggest of systems out there, unless you have a sweet graphics card and are only running 1680×1050. We run our tests at the Gamer setting as it’s very demanding on any current GPU and is a proper baseline of the level of detail that hardcore gamers would demand from the game.

Palit’s overclocked HD 4870 has no trouble beating out the stock-clocked version, although the differences are minor. For Crysis to be enjoyable, the game should deliver at least 30 FPS, which we came very close to hitting at 1920×1200 with this card.

Graphics Card
Best Playable
Avg. FPS
Palit HD 4870 X2 2GB
2560×1600, Gamer, 0xAA
31.382 FPS
Palit 9800 GX2 1GB
2560×1600, Mainstream, 0xAA
50.550 FPS
Palit GTX 280 1GB
2560×1600, Mainstream, 0xAA
46.038 FPS
Palit HD 4870 512MB Sonic
2560×1600, Mainstream, 0xAA
34.471 FPS
Palit HD 4870 512MB
2560×1600, Mainstream, 0xAA
32.973 FPS
ASUS 9800 GTX 512MB
2560×1600, Mainstream, 0xAA
30.840 FPS
ASUS HD 4850 512MB
2560×1600, Mainstream, 0xAA
26.530 FPS
Gigabyte 9600 GT 512MB
1920×1200, Mainstream, 0xAA
31.979 FPS

Although the Gamer profile delivers some sharp looking graphics, shifting to Mainstream doubled the output of our HD 4870 Sonic and allowed us to run the game at 2560×1600 with a comfortable 34 FPS on average The only GPU to date that’s capable of running that resolution along with the Gamer setting is ATI’s HD 4870 X2. Using two HD 4870s in Crossfire mode would offer similar results.


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