The thinking behind the ATI Radeon HD 4870 X2 seems quite clear. One 4870 and a bunch of GDDR 5 is the basis for a decent graphics card that costs £200-240 but lacks the grunt to take on the GeForce GTX 280. Join two 4870s together on a single card and you have the "fastest gaming graphics card in the world", allegedly. As an …
Call for new test
Some kind of GPGPU CUDA/CAL benchmark would be good to see. If the new Adobe CS4 products support both architectures they may make a good test.
GPUs as computational accelerators are a coming idea - many common media tasks will benefit. But all the benches concentrate on games and game related things.
Just my $0.02.
165W in Windows?
Quick Linux compatibility check?
Given that you've probably got quite a few Linux users in your readership, would it be possible to do a brief check of hardware like this on Linux?
Nvidia kit generally has very good OpenGL support, and is very good with simulators like X-Plane, Silent Wings or FlightGear. It would be nice if you could see if the ATI/AMD kit is beginning to improve the Linux driver support since the two companies merged.
It would be nice if you could do a more in-depth report than "yes, it works and it looks nice", but even thats better than nothing :-)
Looks as if
ATI may finally be getting their act together. When I got to rebuild (my now three year old) game rig I may have to take a look at their cards in comparison to nVidia, thanks.
ATI Linux driver support has improved dramatically from several years ago. I have a number of machines with ATI cards (3870, 24-something, a 690 based uATX board with integrated graphics and a Dell with embedded ATI graphics). The ATI installer is pretty bulletproof and the performance is good. Not at all like back in the days of the 9700. I used to worry about using ATI with Linux: I do not anymore.
I have read that neither ATI nor Nvidia supports CF/SLI under Linux. I don't know if it is true. Can anyone confirm or refute?
The driver is built around a kernel module and if the kernel is updated then the graphics driver must be reinstalled, which is a pain. But Nvidia is the same in this regard.
FWIW, ATI's CAL or Stream Computing SDK also runs on Linux now. As much as I have played with it, it seems to work well (I have not had as much experience with CAL as with CUDA though.)
AFAIK - as of about 8 months ago - neither CAL nor CUDA will use both GPUs if the GPUs are in Crossfire/SLI mode. This would be a problem with ATI or Nvidia. If the cards are not paired up then both are available - I've verified this with an Nvidia 8600 and 8800 in the same box, and it is what ATI says in it's docs.
The two 4870 X2 bars in the charts have the same description, I assume the second is overclocked? However some of the benchmark/timing results for various cards are clearly spurious compared to their overall performance differentials. I suggest you revisit this.