Arguably the world’s fastest graphics card that’s currently available, the Radeon HD4870X2 has garnered a lot of press and launched more than a few opinion articles. Some support the effort, claiming that the auto-Crossfire card brings a new level of gameplay to the table. Others feel that the card is a bit of a hack, with ATI claiming the crown through duplicity (which makes you wonder what people are going to say about the upcoming NVIDIA GTX 295).
Whether you like it or hate it, though, these new cards from ATI run hot hot hot. This is mostly because ATI shipped the cards with low fan settings to keep noise down. All of the 4800 series seemed to suffer from this, and hacks were written that let users change the fan settings to cool down their cards. Even with the fans blasting air through the cards, they will often still get pretty warm — and now they’re loud, too. Enter liquid cooling.
Liquid cooling systems use a liquid (usually water) instead of air as a medium to transfer waste heat generated by a CPU or GPU and expel it from the computer. They still use fans as a means to cool down the liquid, but typically fewer fans are needed and can be run at a lower speed.
Liquid cooling does carry some measure of risk – leaks can and do happen, for instance. The chances are drastically reduced with a factory-installed solution, however, and shouldn’t pose problems for the new card. What makes this product so very interesting, however, is the addition of a built-in CPU cooler as well. Once the new card is installed, users can take the CPU heatsink and fan assembly off and pop on the CPU cooler included with this card, reducing noise even further. It’s potentially a very cool (no pun intended) product.
The card itself offers the following specifications:
- 2xRV770 GPU core clocked at 800MHz
- 2GB GDDR5 memory clocked at 1GHz
- 1600 stream processing units
- DirectX 10.1 capable
- Supports audio-out over HDMI
- PCI-e 2.0 compliant
The card has a list price of $699. It’s definitely a very interesting product and not a bad value if you consider the individual prices of an HD4870X2, a CPU liquid cooling system and a GPU liquid cooling hookup.
Sapphire Atomic HD4870X2 at Sapphiretech.com