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Written by Olin Coles   
Monday, 29 September 2008
Table of Contents: Page Index
Sapphire Radeon HD 4870 Toxic Video Card
Radeon HD 4870 Features
100243TXSR Specifications
Closer Look: Sapphire 4870 Toxic
Video Card Testing Methodology
3DMark06 Benchmarks
COD 4 Fraps Benchmarks
Crysis Benchmark Results
Unreal Tournament 3
World in Conflict Benchmarks
4870 Toxic Power Consumption
Radeon 4800-Series Final Thoughts
Sapphire Radeon 4870 Conclusion

Call of Duty 4 Benchmark Results

Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare runs on a proprietary game engine that Infinity Ward based off of the tried-and-true Q3 structure. This engine offers features such as true world-dynamic lighting, HDR lighting effects, dynamic shadows and depth of field. "Bullet Penetration" is calculated by the Infinity Ward COD4 game engine, taking into account things such as surface type and entity thickness. Certain objects, such as cars, and some buildings are destructible. This makes distinguishing cover from concealment important, as the meager protection provided by things such as wooden fences and thin walls does not fully shield players from harm as it does in many other games released during the same time period. Bullet speed and stopping power are decreased after penetrating an object, and this decrease is calculated realistically depending on the thickness and surface of the object penetrated.

This version of the game also makes use of a dynamic physics engine, a feature which was not implemented in previous Call of Duty titles for Windows PC's. The new in-game death animations are a combination of pre-set static animations combined with ragdoll physics. Infinity Ward's use of the well-debugged Quake 3 engine along with new dynamic physics implementation allows Call of Duty 4 to be playable by a wide range of computer hardware systems. The performance may be scaled for low-end graphic cards up to 4x Anti-Aliasing and 16x Tri-linear anisotropic texture filtering.

Before I discuss the results, I would like to take a moment to mention my general opinion on Fraps software when it comes to game performance benchmarking. If you're not familiar with the software, Fraps (derived from Frames per second) is a benchmarking, screen capture, and real-time video capture utility for DirectX and OpenGL applications. Some reviewers use this software to measure video game performance on their Windows system, as well as record gaming footage. My opinion is that it offers a valid third-party non-bias alternative to in-game benchmarking tools; but there is one caveat: it's not perfect. Because the user must manually begin the test, the starting point may vary from position to position and therefore skew the results.

In my testing with Fraps v2.9.4 build 7039, I used the cut-scene intro to the coup d'etat scene when Al Asad takes over control. First I allowed the level to load and let the scene begin for a few moments, then I would use the escape key to bring up the menu. Once I selected the restart level option, I would immediately press F11 to begin recording the benchmark data. This scene is nearly four minutes long, but I configured Fraps to record the first 180 seconds of it to remain consistent. Once the scene would end, I would repeat the restart process for a total of five tests. So within a 0.2 second starting point margin, all benchmark results are comparable which is probably as good as it can possibly get with this tool.

COD4_FRAPS_Benchmark.jpg

In our frame rate results, all five of the collected test scores were within 0.5 FPS of one-another and then averaged for the chart you see above. Once the tests had been repeated and the results recorded, It was clear that the RV770 was a superior graphics processor when compared to the GT92 GPU, which is to be expected. At the lower resolutions the Radeon HD 4870 was able to close the gap and get within range of the GeForce GTX 280 AMP! Edition, and by the end of our benchmark testing the GTX 260 fell behind the Toxic 4870 by over 8%. The CrossFireX set of Sapphire Radeon HD 4850's was not included in this test.

Call of Duty 4 put a reasonable amount of strain on the Sapphire Radeon HD 4870 video card, but it seemed that the Toxic Edition video card really took to CoD4. Since the maximum anti-aliasing available in COD4 is 4x, there won't be any problem with the Radeon 4800-series architectural limit of 8x AA. At our highest test resolution of 1920x1200, the Sapphire Radeon HD 4870 beat the 9800 GTX+ by an impressive 54%. The Radeon HD 4850 surpassed the GeForce 9800 GTX+ by 17%, but still trailed behind the Sapphire 4870 Toxic by 32%.

Product Series Sapphire Radeon HD 4850 102-B50102-00-AT ZOTAC GeForce 9800 GTX+ ZT-98PES2P-WSP Sapphire Radeon HD 4870 Toxic 288-10E85-T01SA

XFX GeForce GeForce GTX 260 GX-260N-ADDU

ZOTAC GeForce GTX 280 AMP! Edition ZT-X28E3LA-FCP
Stream Processors 800 128 800 192 240
Core Clock (MHz) 625 740 775 164 700
Shader Clock (MHz) N/A 1836 N/A 1242 1400
Memory Clock (MHz) 993 1100 1000 1150 1150
Memory Amount 512 MB GDDR3 512 MB GDDR3

512 MB GDDR5

896 MB GDDR3 1024 MB GDDR3
Memory Interface 256-bit 256-bit 256-bit 448-bit 512-bit

In our next section, we shall see if the performance-demanding video game Crysis will help strengthen this position.



 

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