AAPL Stock: 118.03 ( -0.85 )

Printed from

AMD debuts ATI Radeon HD 4800 X2 series

updated 01:30 am EDT, Tue August 12, 2008

ATI Radeon HD 4800 X2 GPUs

AMD on Tuesday debuted its ATI Radeon HD 4800 X2 series of graphics chips, including its flagship ATI Radeon HD 4870 X2 dual-CPU graphics cards; the combination, it claims, delivers 2.4 teraFLOPS of processing power and its value-oriented sibling ATI Radeon HD 4850 X2. The new cards combine two ATI Radeon HD 4800 series GPUs using a faster PCIe 2.0-based interconnect and 2GB of frame buffer memory. Launched in New York City this week, the GPUs are based on the advanced 55nm design and offer DirectX 10.1 support for advanced gaming and ATI CrossFireX for maximum performance: ATI says that the efficient use of all four GPUs in a dual ATI Radeon HD 4870 X2 CrossFireX configuration will bring more than three times the performance (using 3DMark Vantage v1.01 benchmarks) of a single ATI Radeon HD 4870 card in many games.

ATI is hoping that its dual-GPU cards, which run at about 1.8x the speed of single-CPU cards (20% overhead), will help it outpace the recently-reduced Nvidia's GTX 280, which packs 1.4 billion transistors (each ATI GPU has about 950 million) and that it is targeting 1.8x the performance of a single GPU. (ATI and Nvidia have taken different approaches: while Nvidia has built larger, power-hungry (single-chip) GPUs, ATI has continued to build cards using two smaller chips to maximize performance).

"AMD has regained the graphics performance crown with this launch," said Patrick Cooper, Director of Product Planning, Alienware. "The ATI Radeon HD 4870 X2 is what gamers have been waiting for--blistering performance in DirectX 10.1 games backed by stable drivers for great scaling in ATI CrossFireX mode."

Touting what it calls is "the world's fastest" graphics card and the "world's first" graphics card to include 2GB GDDR5 memory, the ATI Radeon HD 4870 X2 features two GPUs based on a second-gen 55nm technology and each clocked at 750 MHz, with a combined 1600 stream processors, while the ATI Radeon HD 4850 X2, also with 1600 stream processors (for parallel processing), offers two GPUs clocked at 625 MHz and 2GB of GDDR3 memory.

The ATI Radeon HD 4870 X2 is immediately available worldwide priced at $549, while the ATI Radeon HD 4850 X2 is scheduled to be available in September for $399. AMD says that customers can also expect custom-designed products from add-in-board companies such as ASUS, Club 3D, Diamond Multimedia, VisionTek, and others.

[mislabeled photos removed]

by MacNN Staff



  1. Kees

    Joined: Dec 1969



    now all we have to do is wait a couple of months for this thing to fall behind so Apple can include it in their lineup...

  1. Duo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    couple of months?

    Don't you mean a couple of years?

  1. Greguar

    Joined: Dec 1969


    This is not for Macs

    They might include a 4850 as a $400 option 6-12 months from now, but they will not include an X2, 4850 nor 4870. Apple does not like fancy graphics cards.

    Apple will ship the next Mac Pro with a budget-grade card, similar to the Geforce 7300GT and the Radeon HD 2600XT, but when the card is already becoming stale in the PC market, and with a reduced feature set, for more than twice as much as the full-featured (ie: with HDMI supporting audio) version from any other board manufacturer.

    Then, with a significant build-to-order delay, probably 1-3 months, they will have a higher end, but still no more than mid-range card (similar to the 8800GT) available for $200-400 more than the overpriced stock card. This upgraded card will too be inferior to "identical" models from other manufacturers, due to missing ports, disabled feature sets, and/or lower clock and memory speeds.

    On top of this, the drivers will not be anywhere near top-notch for performance, and will be updated about once per year. In order to encourage additional Mac Pro purchases, there will be confusion about compatibility between the new mid-range-ish card and the old models of Mac Pros.

    This business model works for Apple. The few gamers who don't use Windows for games will be desperate enough for a performance improvement to shell out a pile of money for either the crazy upgraded card or a new Mac, because there will be no option for an affordable after-market upgrade that doesn't involve learning how to solder EPROM chips to a circuit board and flash firmware using arcane utilities, completely voiding any warranties from Apple and the card manufacturer in the process.

    Offering you the latest and greatest card for a reasonable price does not translate into large profit margins the same way that offering you a slight upgrade using old technology for an exorbitant price. Even if they could get the volume of graphics card sales to make a profit on those, they would lose so much money on full computer package sales that it would nullify any benefit.

Login Here

Not a member of the MacNN forums? Register now for free.


Network Headlines

Follow us on Facebook


Most Popular


Recent Reviews

Ultimate Ears Megaboom Bluetooth Speaker

Ultimate Ears (now owned by Logitech) has found great success in the marketplace with its "Boom" series of Bluetooth speakers, a mod ...

Kinivo URBN Premium Bluetooth Headphones

We love music, and we're willing to bet that you do, too. If you're like us, you probably spend a good portion of your time wearing ...

Jamstik+ MIDI Controller

For a long time the MIDI world has been dominated by keyboard-inspired controllers. Times are changing however, and we are slowly star ...


Most Commented