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Wednesday, 12 November 2008 23:18

Gainward Rampage 700 goes bigger and faster

Written by Sanjin Rados
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Preview: Tri-slot Radeon HD 4870 X2

 

The Rampage 700 is Gainward's rather unorthodox version of the HD 4870 X2 graphics card. The main thing that sets it apart from the reference card is its cooler. The reference design relies on a large dual slot cooler which covers the entire length of the card. It manages to keep GPU temperatures under 90°C, and although it's not too loud, it's not something we'd characterize as quiet, either. Its biggest drawback is relatively low overclocking potential which results from the rather high core temperatures. Gainward's Rampage 700 on the other hand, manages to stay cooler although it's overclocked. There's a price to pay for better cooling performance and it's obvious at first glance, it's an immense card which takes up three slots on your motherboard.




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You can't see its bulk from this angle, but you can see two PWM fans. The heatsink features 4 copper heatpipes and a multitude of aluminium fins for efficient heat dissipation. Although it's much bigger than the reference card, the Rampage 700 isn't much heavier. The reference cooler has two heavy copper blocks on its GPUs, along with a smaller, aluminium heatsink. Gainward's cooler has a huge aluminium heatsink, and a slightly smaller copper base, thanks to heatpipe technology.
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The PCB wasn't changed. It's the same length and still relies on 6-pin and 8-pin PCI Express power connectors for external power.


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Gainward has two flavors of the Rampage 700 HD 4870 X2 and they both feature the same heatsink. The first one is the slightly slower Rampage 700 Golden Sample, but today we're testing the faster version, dubbed Goes Like Hell.

It is overclocked to 790MHz for the GPU, 40MHz over the reference 750MHz. The memory was bumped up from 900MHz to 950MHz.

Like all Radeon 4800 series cards, the double headed 4870 X2 is based on the RV770 core. It's a 55nm GPU with 956 million transistors. Each RV770 GPU has 800 shaders (the HD3800 series had 320), 40 texture units and 16 ROP units, as well as DirectX 10.1 support.

As for the memory, the HD4870 packs 2GB of GDDR5. As we're talking about a dual GPU card, you have to keep in mind that the graphics cores don't have a shared frame buffer. This means that a 1GB card in fact has 512MB per GPU, while our test subject has 1GB per core.



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The huge cooler performs flawlessly and we measured some rather low temperatures. More importantly, it's quiet.

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Here it is next to a reference HD 4870 X2 card, just to get a better idea of its size.

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It's huge backplate has four connectors, including DisplayPort and HDMI. There's plenty of spare room for ventilation or other connectors.

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The Rampage 700 2048MB also got a new mean looking box, which ended up slightly larger than your average box, thanks to the huge heatsink.

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Our first results don't reveal much of a performance lead compared to the reference card. However, 3D Mark isn't a game, and we'll make our verdict once we complete our gaming tests. In any case we compliment Gainward for the mere fact that it offered a 3-slot card. We like a challenge and we like unusual things, and we especially like the fact that this is probably one of the fastest graphics cards on the market. Stay tuned for more.

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Last modified on Friday, 14 November 2008 06:59
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