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Wednesday, 17 December 2008 12:59

PowerColor HD 4870 LCS is the fastest HD 4870 around

Written by Sanjin Rados

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Review: Water-cooled and overclocked

 

Powercolor is a company well known for non-reference ATI cards. Today, we are lucky to bring you a review of Powercolor’s LCS HD 4870 water-cooled card. We’re saying lucky because only 200 units will be launched, and as such it's surely a treat.

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Unlike many high-end watercooled graphics card we’ve seen lately, PowerColor decided to launch a new product that doesn’t feature its own water pump and radiator. This is not a bad idea, as most users who’d go for this card already have their own watercooling setup. This, of course, slashes some serious $ off of the price, as all you get is the water block.

The card’s water block is specially manufactured for PowerColor HD 4870 by EK Water Blocks. The card is based on a non-reference PCB, with 4 phases in total - reference board has 3 phases in total.

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HD 4870’s ticker is, as you all know, RV770 graphics processor, which is built in 55nm. It has 800 shader processors at its disposal, which is 2.5x more shader processors compared to the last generation - HD 3800. The same goes for texture units, and while HD 3800 had only 16, 4800 packs 40. AMD’s latest drivers come with Avivo converter that runs on HD 4800 and HD 4600 generation cards, so if you often find yourself converting video - you can put your card to good use.

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Unlike reference HD 4870 at 750MHz for the GPU and 900MHz for the memory, Powercolor LCS HD 4870 is factory overclocked to 800MHz for the GPU and 950MHz for the memory.

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The card is powered just like the reference card – via two 6-pin PCI-E connectors.

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The card comes with a set of 3/8 and ½ inch tube clamps for potential mounting of usual cooling systems.

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The box is small, but quite refreshing as it packs a lot of stuff inside.

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Temperatures

EKWaterBlocks’ water block does a great job and the card hits 30°C in idle mode and up to 45°C under a workload. This is a great result, especially after considering that reference card can sometimes reach up to 89°C under a workload.

Testbed

Motherboard: MSI P45D3 Platinum ( Provided by: MSI );
Processor: Intel Core 2 QX9770 Extreme edition at 3.6GHz ( Provided by: Intel );
Memory: Corsair Dominator 12800 7-7-7-24 ( Provided by: Corsair);
HDD: WD VelociRaptor 300G 10,000RPM ( Provided by: SmoothCreation );
Eheim water pumpHPPS 12V;

Scores

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We easily overclocked the card to 850MHz, maximum allowed by Catalyst drivers. Unfortunately, the memory couldn’t handle maximum allowed speed of 1100MHz (4400MHz effectively), but it ran stable at 1050MHz (4200MHz effectively). We noticed some artifacts in FarCry 2, but the rest of the tests ran perfectly.

Far Cry 2

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World in Conflict

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Conclusion


Powercolor LCS HD 4870 is undoubtedly the fastest HD 4870 graphics card around, but it will probably be difficult to acquire, as only 200 of these babies will be launched. A simple overclock to 850MHz for the GPU and 1050MHz (4200MHz effectively) for the memory are proof of EKWaterBlocks’ excellent performance.

The fact remains that this will be one of the more expensive HD 4870 cards and you should already own some type of water cooling system. The card is currently listed at €338.92 in Europe. Note that this is a single-slot card, but that’s not that important since this is the fastest HD 4870 card that can, depending on the quality of water cooling, easily be overclocked.

The only potential downside is the fact that Powercolor didn’t put 1GB of memory on this card, which would’ve been great, especially for high-res gaming. Still, and we can’t stress this enough – it’s still the fastest HD 4870 around.

 

Last modified on Thursday, 18 December 2008 03:24
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