Diamond Radeon HD 4870 XOC Black Edition

We pull the Diamond HD 4870 XOC Black Edition out of the Smooth Creations rig and test it in our own.
@ShawnBakerTW
Published Thu, Aug 14 2008 11:00 PM CDT   |   Updated Fri, Sep 18 2020 10:50 PM CDT
Rating: 96%Manufacturer: Diamond Multimedia

Introduction


Diamond Radeon HD 4870 XOC Black Edition



The other day we looked at the Smooth Creations Asylum and inside was the new Diamond HD 4870 XOC Black Edition. This isn't your normal overclocked HD 4870, though; if you have a look at the specifications on the thing, you will quickly discover that the card is packing some mega serious clock speeds.

So what we've done is pull the card out of the Smooth Creations rig and install it into our testbed to see how the card performs against some of our other favorites. Since this wasn't a retail sample, we won't be looking at the package today. What we will do is have a quick look around the card and then check out the clockspeeds.

From there we will fire up our lineup of benchmarking applications and see just exactly what the card is capable of. So let's get stuck into the card.

The Card




Diamond's card resembles every other HD 4870 we've already taken the time to look at. Most of the PCB is of course taken up with a giant heatsink that runs from one end of the card to the other.

Diamond Radeon HD 4870 XOC Black Edition


The only thing we can see that Diamond has done is place their logo onto the fan to let you know what brand it is.

Diamond Radeon HD 4870 XOC Black Edition


It's worth noting that on the Diamond website we have a different picture that shows a heap of skulls on the front.

Diamond Radeon HD 4870 XOC Black Edition


Diamond Radeon HD 4870 XOC Black Edition


Looking around the card, we continue to see those standard reference features. The back of the card has two 6-pin PCI Express power connectors while across the top we have two Crossfire connectors.

Diamond Radeon HD 4870 XOC Black Edition


The I/O side of things gives us two Dual-Link DVI connectors along with a single TV-Out port. The card is of course a dual-slot one and the second part of the bracket has a heap of holes in it to let the hot air escape from the card.


Specifications

This is where the card begins to get pretty juicy. The standard core clock on the HD 4870 is 750MHz. Diamond have given us a 50MHz bump to 800MHz. While this is getting up there, we've seen other cards offer this. The 512MB of GDDR5 memory, though, moves from 900MHz (3600MHz Data Rate) to a whopping 1100MHz (4400MHz Data Rate) which is nothing short of impressive.

Test System Setup and 3DMark06


Test System Setup

Processor(s): Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 @ 3GHz (333MHz x 9)
Cooling: Corsair Nautilus500 (Supplied by Corsair) with Arctic Cooling MX-2 Thermal Compound (Supplied by Arctic Cooling)
Motherboard(s): GIGABYTE X48-DQ6 (Supplied by GIGABYTE)
Memory: 2 X 1GB Kingston PC6400 DDR-2 3-3-3-10 (KHX6400D2ULK2/2G) (Supplied by Kingston)
Hard Disk(s): Seagate 250GB 7200RPM SATA-2 7200.10 (Supplied by Seagate)
Operating System: Windows XP Professional SP2, Windows Vista SP1
Drivers: ForceWare 177.41 (GTX Series), ForceWare 175.19 (9 Series), ATI Catalyst 8.7


With our heavily overclocked Diamond HD 4870 XOC Black Edition in our testbed, we put it through the ringer to see just how well it performs against some of our other cards here, including of course a stock clocked HD 4870 from Sapphire.


3DMark06

Version and / or Patch Used: Build 110
Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com
Product Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com/products/3dmark06/
Buy It Here





3DMark06 is the worldwide standard in advanced 3D game performance benchmarking. A fundamental tool for every company in the PC industry as well as PC users and gamers, 3DMark06 uses advanced real-time 3D game workloads to measure PC performance using a suite of DirectX 9 3D graphics tests, CPU tests, and 3D feature tests.

3DMark06 tests include all new HDR/SM3.0 graphics tests, SM2.0 graphics tests, AI and physics driven single and multiple cores or processor CPU tests and a collection of comprehensive feature tests to reliably measure next generation gaming performance today.


Diamond Radeon HD 4870 XOC Black Edition


Straight away, we can see the Diamond HD 4870 XOC get some decent gains against the stock clocked HD 4870. We see it actually beat out the GTX 280 for the most part as well.

Benchmarks - 3DMark Vantage


3DMark Vantage

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.0.1
Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com
Product Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com/products/3dmarkvantage/
Buy It Here




3DMark Vantage is the new industry standard PC gaming performance benchmark from Futuremark, newly designed for Windows Vista and DirectX10. It includes two new graphics tests, two new CPU tests, several new feature tests, and support for the latest hardware.

3DMark Vantage is based on a completely new rendering engine, developed specifically to take full advantage of DirectX10, the new graphics API from Microsoft.


Diamond Radeon HD 4870 XOC Black Edition


Getting a bit more intensive, we see the card continue to offer a very nice performance increase over the stock clocked model. It finds itself sitting with the older dual GPU 9800 GX2 in both tests.

Benchmarks - PT Boats: Knights of the Sea


PT Boats: Knights of the Sea

Version and / or Patch Used: Benchmark Demo
Developer Homepage: http://en.akella.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.pt-boats.net/





PT Boats: Knights of the Sea is a naval action simulator that places gamers in charge of a mosquito fleet of the Allied Forces, Russia or Germany during the height of World War II.

Using the latest Direct X 10 technology PT Boards - Knights of the Sea manages to apply a lot of stress to the components of today which in turn gives us quite an intensive benchmark.


Diamond Radeon HD 4870 XOC Black Edition


Diamond Radeon HD 4870 XOC Black Edition


The lower resolution results between the two HD 4870s are quite similar; at 2560 x 1600 the Diamond comes out well ahead, though.

Benchmarks - CINEBENCH R10


CINEBENCH R10

Version and / or Patch Used: Release 10
Developer Homepage: http://www.maxon.net/
Product Homepage: http://www.maxon.net




CINEBENCH is a real-world test suite that assesses your computer's performace capabilities. MAXON CINEBENCH is based on MAXON's award-winning animation software, CINEMA 4D, which is used extensively by studios and production houses worldwide for 3D content creation. MAXON software has been used in blockbuster movies such as Spider-Man, Star Wars, The Chronicles of Narnia and many more.

MAXON CINEBENCH runs several tests on your computer to measure the performance of the main processor and the graphics card under real world circumstances. The benchmark application makes use of up to 16 CPUs or CPU cores and is available for Windows (32-bit and 64-Bit) and Macintosh (PPC and Intel-based).


Diamond Radeon HD 4870 XOC Black Edition


CINEBENCH puts the Diamond card well out ahead with it trailing only just behind the much more expensive GTX 280.

Benchmarks - World in Conflict


World in Conflict

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.0.0.5
Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in Test
Developer Homepage: http://www.massive.se
Product Homepage: http://www.worldinconflict.com





World in Conflict is a real-time strategy video game by Massive Entertainment and to be published by Sierra Entertainment for Windows (DX9 and DX10) and the Xbox 360.

The game is set in 1989 where economic troubles cripple the Soviet Union and threaten to dissolve it. However, the title pursues a "what if" scenario where, in this case, the Soviet Union does not collapse and instead pursues a course of war to remain in power. It is an intensive new game is sure to put plenty of stress on even the latest graphics cards and we use the built-in benchmarking for our testing.


Diamond Radeon HD 4870 XOC Black Edition


Diamond Radeon HD 4870 XOC Black Edition


Firing up WIC, we continue to see some nice little gains; the best are seen at the intensive 2560 x 1600 setting.

Benchmarks - Crysis


Crysis

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.2.1
Timedemo or Level Used: Custom time demo
Developer Homepage: http://www.crytek.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.ea.com/crysis/
Buy It Here





From the makers of Far Cry, Crysis offers FPS fans the best-looking, most highly-evolving gameplay, requiring the player to use adaptive tactics and total customization of weapons and armor to survive in dynamic, hostile environments including Zero-G.

Real time editing, bump mapping, dynamic lights, network system, integrated physics system, shaders, shadows and a dynamic music system are just some of the state of-the-art features the CryENGINE 2 offers. The CryENGINE 2 comes complete with all of its internal tools and also includes the CryENGINE 2 Sandbox world editing system.


Diamond Radeon HD 4870 XOC Black Edition


Crysis also shows us the Diamond card getting a nice little jump on the stock clocked Sapphire.

Benchmarks - Unreal Tournament 3


Unreal Tournament 3

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.1
Timedemo or Level Used:
Developer Homepage: http://www.epicgames.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.unrealtournament3.com/
Buy It Here





Following the formulae that made Unreal Tournament so great the third installment to the series has hit us recently with better than ever graphics. The games uses the latest Unreal Engine which like most modern day games when maxed out puts the pressure on our lineup of graphics cards.


Diamond Radeon HD 4870 XOC Black Edition


Firing up UT3 which puts out big numbers shows the HD 4870 XOC from Diamond again pull out ahead of the Sapphire. At 1920 x 1200 we see the HD 4870 XOC even coming out ahead of the GTX 280.

Benchmarks - High Quality AA and AF


High Quality AA and AF

Our high quality tests let us separate the men from the boys and the ladies from the girls. If the cards weren't struggling before they will start to now.


3DMark06

Diamond Radeon HD 4870 XOC Black Edition


Cranking up the detail, we again see the HD 4870 XOC within reaching distance of the GTX 280. It continues to offer good gains over the stock clocked HD 4870 offering.


World In Conflict

Diamond Radeon HD 4870 XOC Black Edition


Diamond Radeon HD 4870 XOC Black Edition


WIC also sees a little boost, putting the card again within arms reach of the GTX 280.

Benchmarks - 3DMark06 - XP


3DMark06

Version and / or Patch Used: Build 110
Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com
Product Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com/products/3dmark06/
Buy It Here





3DMark06 is the worldwide standard in advanced 3D game performance benchmarking. A fundamental tool for every company in the PC industry as well as PC users and gamers, 3DMark06 uses advanced real-time 3D game workloads to measure PC performance using a suite of DirectX 9 3D graphics tests, CPU tests, and 3D feature tests.

3DMark06 tests include all new HDR/SM3.0 graphics tests, SM2.0 graphics tests, AI and physics driven single and multiple cores or processor CPU tests and a collection of comprehensive feature tests to reliably measure next generation gaming performance today.


Diamond Radeon HD 4870 XOC Black Edition


Firing up Windows XP, we continue to see the HD 4870 from Diamond get some good gains when compared to the stock clocked Sapphire.

Benchmarks - CINEBENCH R10 - XP


CINEBENCH R10

Version and / or Patch Used: Release 10
Developer Homepage: http://www.maxon.net/
Product Homepage: http://www.maxon.net




CINEBENCH is a real-world test suite that assesses your computer's performace capabilities. MAXON CINEBENCH is based on MAXON's award-winning animation software, CINEMA 4D, which is used extensively by studios and production houses worldwide for 3D content creation. MAXON software has been used in blockbuster movies such as Spider-Man, Star Wars, The Chronicles of Narnia and many more.

MAXON CINEBENCH runs several tests on your computer to measure the performance of the main processor and the graphics card under real world circumstances. The benchmark application makes use of up to 16 CPUs or CPU cores and is available for Windows (32-bit and 64-Bit) and Macintosh (PPC and Intel-based).


Diamond Radeon HD 4870 XOC Black Edition


Windows XP CINEBENCH performance puts both the HD 4870s quite close together here.

Benchmarks - World in Conflict - XP


World in Conflict

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.0.0.5
Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in Test
Developer Homepage: http://www.massive.se
Product Homepage: http://www.worldinconflict.com




World in Conflict is a real-time strategy video game by Massive Entertainment and to be published by Sierra Entertainment for Windows (DX9 and DX10) and the Xbox 360.

The game is set in 1989 where economic troubles cripple the Soviet Union and threaten to dissolve it. However, the title pursues a "what if" scenario where, in this case, the Soviet Union does not collapse and instead pursues a course of war to remain in power. It is an intensive new game is sure to put plenty of stress on even the latest graphics cards and we use the built-in benchmarking for our testing.

Diamond Radeon HD 4870 XOC Black Edition


Diamond Radeon HD 4870 XOC Black Edition


We again see under WIC the best gains are seen at the highest resolution. The 2FPS gain in the minimum department equates to just over a 10% gain,wi which is impressive.

Benchmarks - Unreal Tournament 3 - XP


Unreal Tournament 3

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.1
Timedemo or Level Used:
Developer Homepage: http://www.epicgames.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.unrealtournament3.com/
Buy It Here





Following the formulae that made Unreal Tournament so great the third installment to the series has hit us recently with better than ever graphics. The games uses the latest Unreal Engine which like most modern day games when maxed out puts the pressure on our lineup of graphics cards.


Diamond Radeon HD 4870 XOC Black Edition


Like our Vista tests, we see the HD 4870 XOC Black Edition from Diamond get some good gains with it passing the GTX 280 at some points and being right on the tail of it in other resolutions.

Temperature and Sound Tests


Temperature Tests



With the TES 1326 Infrared Thermometer literally in hand we found ourselves getting real-world temperatures from the products we test at load (3D clock speeds).

There are two places we pull temperature from - the back of the card directly behind the core and if the card is dual slot and has an exhaust point we also pull a temperate from there, as seen in the picture.


Diamond Radeon HD 4870 XOC Black Edition


Temps between the two cards are pretty similar.


Sound Tests



Pulling out the TES 1350A Sound Level Meter we find ourselves quickly yelling into the top of it to see how loud we can be.

After five minutes of that we get a bit more serious and place the device two CM away from the fan on the card to find the maximum noise level of the card when idle (2D mode) and in load (3D mode).


Diamond Radeon HD 4870 XOC Black Edition


We can also see that noise levels between the two are very similar. The GTX 280 is also in the same dB range.

Power Consumption Tests






Using our new PROVA Power Analyzer WM-01 or "Power Thingy" as it has become quickly known as to our readers, we are now able to find out what kind of power is being used by our test system and the associated graphics cards installed. Keep in mind; it tests the complete system (minus LCD monitor, which is plugged directly into AC wall socket).

There are a few important notes to remember though; while our maximum power is taken in 3DMark06 at the same exact point, we have seen in particular tests the power being drawn as much as 10% more. We test at the exact same stage every time; therefore tests should be very consistent and accurate.

The other thing to remember is that our test system is bare minimum - only a 7,200RPM SATA-II single hard drive is used without CD ROM or many cooling fans.

So while the system might draw 400 watts in our test system, placing it into your own PC with a number of other items, the draw is going to be higher.


Diamond Radeon HD 4870 XOC Black Edition


The extremely fast Diamond does manage to take up a bit more power when compared to the stock HD 4870 from Sapphire.

Final Thoughts




Diamond have managed to pull some serious speed out of the already fast HD 4870; the massive increase in memory clock speeds really manages to give us a serious boost in performance, making it compete against the GTX 280 in a lot of tests.

It doesn't come as any real surprise that the Diamond HD 4870 comes with a bigger price tag, but when looking online the difference seems to be a measly $20. When you look at the performance boost you get, the small increase in price really does seem like nothing.

While the card does manage to use a bit more power, it isn't that much extra and there would be no reason why a power supply that could handle a reference HD 4870 couldn't handle Diamonds XOC Black Edition.

This is one extremely fast card and the small price increase over a stock card makes it an extremely attractive option. If you're looking for the fastest out of the box HD 4870, you can't go past this option from Diamond.

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Shawn takes care of all of our video card reviews. From 2009, Shawn is also taking care of our memory reviews, and from May 2011, Shawn also takes care of our CPU, chipset and motherboard reviews. As of December 2011, Shawn is based out of Taipei, Taiwan.

We openly invite the companies who provide us with review samples / who are mentioned or discussed to express their opinion. If any company representative wishes to respond, we will publish the response here. Please contact us if you wish to respond.

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