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Tomb Raider Underworld
Tomb Raider didn't pose much of a problem for either card but the HIS 4870 consistently stayed above 80fps, hence some of the fram drops we did have did not feel as drastic.
Clearly, the is a big step up from the NVIDIA 8800 GTX. I realized long before undertaking the review that the results would sometimes be ugly for the 8800, but that was not the point of this review. What we are trying to illustrate here is the cost of performance. The going rate of an 8800 GTX on eBay is roughly $150 USD plus shipping. I was lucky enough to offload my card locally here for $160 CAD. The HD 4870's average price right now is roughly $250, making the
So, the question now, is what does $100 get you in the end? As our benchmarks have shown, quite a lot. The 8800 GTX is still a great card for older games, but the newer games are straining it. Speed is only one part of the equation, as lowering the resolution on the 8800 allowed comparible performance as the HIS 4870, but you will not get the same eye-candy as you would with the HIS card.
I don't have any professional sound measuring equipment, so bear with me as I provide my opinion on this matter. While I cannot comment on the reference card, the is not as loud as I would have expected given the reputation some 4870s have. When the card is idle or under 50% load, the fans have a low whisper to them. It slowly becomes higher pitched as the load increases, but I was able to tolerate the noise. As I play most online games with headphones on, I hardly hear anything at all. That said, compared with the 8800 GTX, the 8800 is much quieter overall. I realize it isn't as powerful, but we are simply talking about the cooling here.
On that note, the cooling performance of the IceQ 4+ is quite impressive. General range of reference HD 4870 products are around 90c. The runs at a much cooler 81c under full load. Average temperature moving from games to Windows and so forth kept the card at a constant 57c to 62c under real-world conditions.
Overclocking went pretty much as we expected. As the is already factory overclocked, we didn't have a lot of headroom to reach much past the "stock" clock speeds. At most, we were only able to get an extra 15MHz from the core and no luck at all with the memory. The performance improvements were almost nil at the resolutions we tested with.
Image quality was great, as one would expect from a mainstream performance product. The games looked fantastic and did so with good performance. To be honest, I am not particularly sharp when it comes to comparing Spartan apples and Granny Smith, so comparing the and NVIDIA card was not easy to do. I'd like to say one card's quality was much better than the other, but at high resolutions with the same effects on, it was hard to tell.
The by itself is worth of our consideration given its price. For the purposes of this review though, as an upgrade from a 2006 $500 product, it is definitely worth it. Certainly, if you are sitting on a high end 8800 and have an opportunity to sell it to upgrade, the current pricing on the makes it an attractive choice.