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Sapphire Radeon HD 4870 Vapor-X 2GB
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by Rob Williams on May 4, 2009 in AMD-Based GPU

Believe it or not, despite the HD 4890’s launch last month, the HD 4870 is still totally relevant, thanks to ATI’s current pricing structure. There’s a card for every budget, and if you’re willing to spend around $180, you can get hooked up with a 1GB version of the card we’re taking a look at today. It’s silent, keeps cool, and still delivers great performance for the money.

Mirror’s Edge

What was the last first-person game on the PC to truly blow you away, or offer some unique gameplay experience? New first-person shooters come out quite often, and while some show off some new features and gameplay twists, few of them truly regenerate the genre like we’d hope. Mirror’s Edge is a title that strived to do just that, and for the most part, I’d have to say they’ve done a great job.

First and foremost, Mirror’s Edge isn’t so much a first-person shooter as it is a first-person adventure game, because for the most part, combat isn’t the main focus. Throughout some of the few levels I played through, at times there could be a full ten-minute span without even seeing a single person, which is actually somewhat refreshing. The game focuses on figuring out the best way to get from point A to point B, heavily utilizing the parkour style of travel.

Most levels in Mirror’s Edge offers a similar level of system-intensity, so I based our choice on one that was fun to play through, and one that allowed an easily-replicable run-through. It takes place in chapter six, “Pirandello Kruger”, and Checkpoint A. We begin in a large building, behind a window, looking out at the city. Our run-through takes us outside of this building, down to the street and up to the top of the building shown to the right in the above screenshot.

We see some slight improvement with the latest drivers on the 1680×1050 resolution, but at 1920 and 2560, the performance is essentially identical between the 1GB and 2GB cards. Great performance overall, as long as PhysX isn’t one of your requirements.

Graphics Card
Best Playable
Avg. FPS
NVIDIA GTX 295 1792MB x 2
2560×1600 – Max Detail, 8xAA
118.680 FPS
NVIDIA GTX 285 1GB x 2
2560×1600 – Max Detail, 8xAA
88.346 FPS
Zotac GTX 295 1792MB
2560×1600 – Max Detail, 8xAA
70.562 FPS
NVIDIA GTX 275 896MB
2560×1600 – Max Detail, 8xAA
54.090 FPS
NVIDIA GTX 285 1GB
2560×1600 – Max Detail, 8xAA
48.385 FPS
Palit GTX 280 1GB
2560×1600 – Max Detail, 8xAA
44.806 FPS
Sapphire HD 4890 1GB
2560×1600 – Max Detail, 8xAA
44.531 FPS
Diamond HD 4870 1GB
2560×1600 – Max Detail, 8xAA
41.452 FPS
XFX GTX 260/216 896MB
2560×1600 – Max Detail, 8xAA
38.122 FPS
Sapphire HD 4870 2GB
2560×1600 – Max Detail, 8xAA
37.100 FPS
Palit HD 4870 X2 2GB
2560×1600 – Max Detail, 8xAA
35.297 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce GTS 250 1GB
2560×1600 – Max Detail, 4xAA
35.756 FPS
Sapphire HD 4830 512MB
2560×1600 – Max Detail, 4xAA
32.589 FPS
ASUS GeForce 9800 GTX+ 512MB
2560×1600 – Max Detail, 0xAA
46.250 FPS
Sapphire HD 4670 512MB
1920×1200 – Max Detail, 0xAA
39.204 FPS

With 42.829 FPS on average with 4xAA, we were cutting it somewhat close to what we consider to be a truly smooth gameplay experience for this title, but if you really love your 8xAA, the frame rates you’re left over with are still totally manageable.


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