|ASUS EAH4870 DK TOP 512MB Video Card|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Video Cards|
|Written by Matt Williams|
|Sunday, 21 December 2008|
Page 15 of 15
ASUS EAH4870 DK TOP Conclusion
As we've come to expect from ASUS, the EAH4870 DK Top is packaged in a well designed, full color box. The box further separates components into different compartments to guard against shipping dangers. ASUS showcases their products on their website as well, although sites like newegg.com offer better product photos. It would be to ASUS' advantage to put the same effort into displaying their product, as most video card buyers tend research products on the web before buying.
Out of the box, the reason for the "Dark Knight" model distinction becomes clear. Although ASUS went with a standard red PCB, the custom heatsink and fan is anything but stock. The darkened aluminum fin design and heatpipes have a very distinct appearance and convey a sense of quality and cooling performance. It may look a bit bland for those used to full length card stickers, but with such a great heatsink design, it would a shame to cover it up.
ASUS earns top marks for construction quality as well. Having removed the heatsink to photograph the die and memory, I can attest to its build quality. The base is milled flat, although not polished, and there were no signs of loose fins or broken solder. A quick glance at the power components reveals high quality capacitors, chokes, and EMI shielding as well. All add up to a great card that had no trouble achieving a stable result on our FurMark torture test. The only drawback to note is the lack of a fan shroud, which means you'll want to be extra careful not snap off a blade during installation. With the card securely in the system, however, this becomes a non-issue.
Once fired up, the EAH4870 DK Top performs admirably, living up to ASUS' claim of a 9% performance boost over stock HD 4870s. Additional overclocking through the catalyst control center yielded an impressive clock speed of 855MHz for the GPU and 4700MHz for the GDDR5 memory. This amounted to a 10-16% total performance increase over reference 4870 speeds and an ever-widening lead over the rest of the HD 4800 series.
Recent price cuts have dropped this card down to $209.99 (after MIR). At this price, the EAH4870 DK Top is a great value compared to the $300+ prices we saw a few months ago. With a performance increase of up to %50 over the HD 4850, it also offers an incredible price/performance ratio. Keep in mind, however, you'll need a good power supply to run this card, which could be an additional cost if you don't already own one.
From appearance to actual performance, the EAH4870 DK Top represents everything that has propelled ASUS so far in the industry: quality. With prices the lowest they have been since launch, it's easy to recommend this video card to anyone looking for high-end performance at a decent price.
+ Excellent performance with factory overclock
- Exposed fan blades require caution during installation
Final Score: 9.15 out of 10.
Excellence Achievement: Benchmark Reviews Golden Tachometer Award.
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