Advanced Micro Devices announced on Monday its most powerful graphics technology to date, the ATI Radeon HD 4870 X2 graphics board houses two 4870 graphics processing units (GPUs) and competes with Nvidia's fastest board, based on the GTX 280. In chip-to-chip competition, Nvidia's GTX 280 generally beats a single 4870 in performance because it's bigger and faster: the Nvidia chip packs 1.4 billion transistors onto one chip, while ATI has about 950 million.
Game PC vendors expect good things. “(The 4870 X2 is) more than a match for a single Nvidia GTX 280, and depending on the title sometimes a match for two GTX 280s,” said Kelt Reeves, CEO of game PC maker Falcon Northwest, responding to an email query. “Drivers are now ATI's only weak area, so the 4870 X2's performance and scaling with two 4870 X2s (QuadFire) often varies widely from title to title,” he said.
In September, AMD is also expected to bring out the HD 4850 X2, a dual-chip board with slightly lower performance. The higher-end 4870 X2 is rated at 2.4 TFLOPs (or teraFLOPs a common yardstick for raw graphics chip compute power) and communicates with memory at 230GB per second, while the 4850 X2 is rated at 2.0 TFLOPs and has a memory bandwidth of 128GB/sec.