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Asus EAHD4870X2 review: Asus EAHD4870X2

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The Good Competitive performance at a lower cost than the competition; supports DirectX 10.1; easy home theater installation.

The Bad Faster 3D performance available for just a little more cash; power hog.

The Bottom Line Asus's EAHD4870X2 falls just short of the speed and relative value offered by Nvidia's competing high-end 3D card. Unless you have certain very specific needs, you'll get better performance and better power efficiency with Nvidia.

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7.7 Overall
  • Design 8
  • Features 8
  • Performance 7

Editors' note: We have corrected this review since its original posting to indicate that it is the standard-clocked version of the Radeon EAHD4870X2, and not the overclocked version, as we had originally thought.

If you've read our review of Nividia's GeForce GTX 295 card, you might be able to guess our assessment of this Asus-packaged version of AMD's ATI Radeon HD4870X2. Simply put: for $479--just $20 less than the Nvidia card--the Radeon card gives you less performance and uses more power along the way. The only solace we can offer for AMD is that this card has a minor (borderline irrelevant) software support advantage, and a mildly easier setup process. Whether you value those features or not, the primary reason for purchasing an expensive 3D card is speed. And in the high-end price range, the Asus EAHD4870X2 comes in second.

The Asus EAHD4870X2 card uses AMD's standard ATI Radeon HD4870X2 design. At its core, the Radeon HD4870X2 features two graphics chips on a single PCI Express graphics card. You can find iterations of this card overclocked for $50 to $70 more, but we've covered the standard, 750MHz edition here.

  Asus EAHD4870X2 Nvidia GeForce GTX 295
Price $470 $550
Manufacturing process 55nm 55nm
Core clock 750MHz 576MHz
Stream processors 800 (2) 240 (2)
Stream processor clock NA 1.24GHz
Memory 2GB 1792MB
Memory speed 3.66GHz DDR 5 2.0GHz DDR3

As you can see from their specs, the Asus card and the GeForce card are actually quite different. Asus boasts more than three times the total stream processors (the pipelines that perform the various graphics-processing tasks) of the Nvidia card, and its 2GB of DDR 5 video memory has a faster clock speed then the 1.792MB of video RAM on the GTX 295. Each chip is also the product of a 55-nanometer manufacturing process. Even though both ATI and Nvidia use the same process, we suspect this is what gives Nvidia most of its performance and power-efficiency gains compared with its older 65nm GTX 200-series chips. Those older chips were fast, but it's apparently able to eke out even more performance by going to 55nm.

Crysis (Assault Harbor, DirectX 10, 64-bit, very high, 8x AA)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
1,400 x 960  
1,680 x 1,050  
1,920 x 1,080  
Nvidia GeForce GTX 295
Asus EAHD4870X2

Far Cry 2 (ranch medium, DirectX 10, very high)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
1,440 x 900  
1,680 x 1050  
1,920 x 1200  
Nvidia GeForce GTX 295
Asus EAHD4870X2

Left 4 Dead (DirectX 9, 8x AA, 16x AF, very high)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
1,440 x 900  
1,680 x 1050  
1,920 x 1200  
Nvidia GeForce GTX 295
Asus EAHD4870X2

The charts tell the key story for most gamers. Nvidia outpaces the Asus card on all of our benchmarks but one lower resolution test, on which the Asus card wins by a single, statistically irrelevant frame. Otherwise, Nvidia's GeForce GTX 295 is just faster. In general, we don't think you should expect a bad gaming experience with the Asus card (or any other Radeon HD4870X2) with current titles, but you may find you want to replace this card more quickly than you would a GeForce GTX 295 once more challenging games come out down the road.

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