updated 04:55 pm EDT, Fri May 2, 2008
Radeon HD 4870 Test Leak
A single example AMD's next-generation graphics chip should be twice as fast as NVIDIA's current dual-chip offering, according to tests culled from those with early access to the hardware. The ATI Radeon HD 4870 is intended to replace the existing, upper mid-range 3870 but is claimed to be outperforming NVIDIA's GeForce 9800 GX2 dual-processor card in both real and synthetic tests; the normally demanding game Crysis runs as much as 43 percent faster even with 16X antialiasing, according to benchmarks.
The increase is likely to result from a combination of increased clock speeds and more simultaneous instructions. Pre-production 4870 cards are believed to be clocked at 800MHz for the main core and an effective 3.4GHz for memory that would eliminate most bandwidth limits; the cards are also known to see a significant jump from the 320 stream processors that individually handle pixel and geometry effects. The improvement will permit AMD's card to process more of the action onscreen at once and will offer a brute force alternative to NVIDIA's offering, which is capped at the equivalent of roughly 256 processors and runs at a lower clock rate.
Regardless of the tests' accuracy, the update may appear as early as this month and may preempt the GeForce 9900 by up to two months, regaining a performance advantage for AMD that it had lost after the introduction of the GeForce 8-series in late 2006.