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HIS Radeon HD 4870 IceQ4+ TURBO Graphics Card

ATI pricing has become very aggressive over the past few months. We see how the HD 4870 IceQ4+ TURBO is looking amongst the competition.

@ShawnBakerTW
Published Tue, Feb 17 2009 11:00 PM CST   |   Updated Tue, Nov 3 2020 7:04 PM CST
Rating: 93%Manufacturer: HIS

Introduction


HIS Radeon HD 4870 ICEQ4+ TURBO Graphics Card



If we've learnt anything over the last few years, it's never to write one of the two major VGA manufacturers off. ATI know that they can't extract enough power out of their current top cards to be faster than the two new NVIDIA offerings.

The red team aren't stupid, though. If you can't beat them in performance, you hit them in value. And in these tough economic times everyone's looking for a good bang for buck product.

Monthly driver updates from ATI still make the HD 4800 series of cards an attractive offering and today we'll look at what HIS has done with the top single GPU card from ATI. With a fancy cooler, some mean clocks and a decent looking bundle, the lengthy named HIS HD 4870 IceQ4+ TURBO could well be a card worth keeping an eye out for.

Let's have a quick look at what's going on with the package before we have a closer look at the card itself and an even closer look at how it performs against some other cards.

The Package




Nothing much has changed in the way HIS designs its boxes over the last few years. Across the bottom of the box we have the model mentioned and above that we have a picture of a DVI-to-HDMI adapter, while the middle of the box has the IceQ4+ logo.

HIS Radeon HD 4870 ICEQ4+ TURBO Graphics Card


Running down the right side of the box, we have some of the main features listed. Across the top we have the HIS logo and also a mention that this card is part of the TURBO line-up. What isn't present, though, is the mention of a copy of S.T.A.L.K.E.R included in the package. This is something HIS has added since the second week of February, so keep an eye out for that.

HIS Radeon HD 4870 ICEQ4+ TURBO Graphics Card


Upon turning the box over, we can see the card along with a number of bubbles that come off it and let you know some of the main features and how they will benefit you. Down the right of the box we have some more information on the card and across the bottom we see some of the awards that HIS has won over the years.

HIS Radeon HD 4870 ICEQ4+ TURBO Graphics Card


Moving inside the package, we have a driver CD along with a sticker and installation guide. As we just mentioned before, the latest cards will also include a full version copy of S.T.A.L.K.E.R.

HIS Radeon HD 4870 ICEQ4+ TURBO Graphics Card


In the cable department we have a dual molex to 6-pin PCI-E connector, Crossfire connector, DVI-to-VGA connector and DVI-to-HDMI connector.

The Card




Moving onto the card itself, we can see that HIS has opted for an aftermarket cooler which manages to take up most of the card. We can see they have placed a sticker over the whole cooler letting us know who it's from and that it's part of the IceQ4+ series.

HIS Radeon HD 4870 ICEQ4+ TURBO Graphics Card


If you have a look across the top of the cooler you can see that there are some heat pipes coming out the top of the card. This helps keep temps down and the cooler on a whole looks pretty good. Hopefully it will be able to cool as well as it looks.

HIS Radeon HD 4870 ICEQ4+ TURBO Graphics Card


HIS Radeon HD 4870 ICEQ4+ TURBO Graphics Card


Looking around the card, there isn't anything we haven't seen before. Towards the back of the card we have two 6-pin PCI Express connectors while at the front of it we have two Crossfire connectors which let you have up to three of these cards running together.

HIS Radeon HD 4870 ICEQ4+ TURBO Graphics Card


Moving over to the I/O side of things, we find two Dual-Link DVI connectors with an S-Video port sitting in the middle. We can see that HIS has opted for a black / gold setup which looks nice and is different to what we're normally used to seeing.


Specifications

Being a TURBO model, the card is of course an overclocked one. HIS has moved the core from the stock 750MHz to 780MHz.

HIS Radeon HD 4870 ICEQ4+ TURBO Graphics Card


The 512MB memory clock has also headed north, moving from 3600MHz QDR to 4000MHz QDR. This increase in clock speed should give the HD 4870 IceQ4+ TURBO a bit more extra punch.

Test System Setup and 3DMark Vantage


Test System Setup

Processor(s): Intel i7 920 @ 3.8GHz (190MHz x 20)
Cooling: Noctua NH-U12P (Supplied by Noctua)
Motherboard(s): GIGABYTE EX58-UD5 (Supplied by GIGABYTE)
Memory: 3 X 2GB OCZ Technology PC-12800 DDR-3 8-8-8-24 (OCZ3G1600LV6GK)
Hard Disk(s): Western Digital 300GB Velicorapter (Supplied by Western Digital)
Operating System: Windows XP Professional SP2, Windows Vista SP1 64-Bit
Drivers: Catalyst 9.1, ForceWare 181.20


Today we'll see how the HIS HD 4870 IceQ4+ TURBO goes against its little brother, the HD 4850 and against the NVIDIA 9800 GTX+.

While both cards are cheaper than the HIS offering, we want to see if it's worth spending the extra $20 - $30 buying the HD 4870 over the 9800 GTX+. Both cards have been out for a while now and have under-gone some heavy price drops. Let's get stuck into the performance of them to see where your money is best spent.


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.


HIS Radeon HD 4870 ICEQ4+ TURBO Graphics Card


Under Vantage the HIS HD 4870 IceQ4+ TURBO performs well against the other cards here with it coming out ahead.

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.


HIS Radeon HD 4870 ICEQ4+ TURBO Graphics Card


HIS Radeon HD 4870 ICEQ4+ TURBO Graphics Card


We can see under PT Boats, a game that tends to favor the NVIDIA offerings, show the HD 4870 from HIS coming out ahead.

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).


HIS Radeon HD 4870 ICEQ4+ TURBO Graphics Card


Under CINEBENCH we can see the HD 4870 IceQ4+ TURBO from HIS perform very well compared to the other two cards we have here.

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.


HIS Radeon HD 4870 ICEQ4+ TURBO Graphics Card


HIS Radeon HD 4870 ICEQ4+ TURBO Graphics Card


Across the board we can see the HIS HD 4870 IceQ4+ TURBO managing to come out on top. In this case, though, the win isn't as big as we've seen from some of our other tests.

Benchmarks - Crysis Warhead


Crysis Warhead

Version and / or Patch Used: unpatched
Timedemo or Level Used: Airfield
Developer Homepage: http://www.crytek.com
Product Homepage: http://crysiswarhead.ea.com/
Buy It Here




Crysis Warhead updates and refines the gameplay of the original game through a sidestory plot involving Psycho, one of previous protagonist Nomad's allies. The game is a parallel story that follows Sergeant Michael "Psycho" Sykes, a character from the original Crysis, as he faces his own trials and challenges on the other side of the island during the time period of the first game.

It also showcases a new, enhanced and optimized version of CryEngine 2 using full DX10 extensions and is the first game developed by Crytek's Budapest studio.

HIS Radeon HD 4870 ICEQ4+ TURBO Graphics Card


HIS Radeon HD 4870 ICEQ4+ TURBO Graphics Card


Under Warhead the HD 4870 IceQ4+ TURBO from HIS continues to shine, offering good performance over the 9800 GTX+ at the higher resolutions.

Benchmarks - Far Cry 2


Far Cry 2

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.01
Timedemo or Level Used: Ranch Long
Developer Homepage: http://www.ubi.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.farcry2.com/
Buy It Here




The Dunia Engine was built specifically for Far Cry 2 by the award-winning Ubisoft Montreal development team. It delivers the most realistic destructible environments, amazing special effects such as dynamic fire propagation and storm effects, real-time night-and-day cycle, dynamic music system, non-scripted enemy A.I. and so much more.


HIS Radeon HD 4870 ICEQ4+ TURBO Graphics Card


HIS Radeon HD 4870 ICEQ4+ TURBO Graphics Card


Under Far Cry 2 the performance is a bit all over the place. The HD 4870 IceQ4+ TURBO performs well at up to 1920 x 1200. But at 2560 x 1600 it really drops off against the 9800 GTX+.

Benchmarks - S.T.A.L.K.E.R. - Clear Sky


S.T.A.L.K.E.R. - Clear Sky

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.5.07
Timedemo or Level Used: Custom Timedemo
Developer Homepage: http://www.gsc-game.com/
Product Homepage: http://cs.stalker-game.com/en/
Buy It Here




S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky, is the stand-alone prequel for S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl, a first-person shooter computer game by Ukrainian developer GSC Game World.[3] The game consists of a roughly 50/50 mix of new areas and old, remodeled areas from the previous game. The X-ray graphics engine has been updated to version 1.5 and includes DirectX 10 support (later patch 1.5.06 included DirectX 10.1). Additionally, the AI received an overhaul to accommodate the new faction wars feature.

HIS Radeon HD 4870 ICEQ4+ TURBO Graphics Card


HIS Radeon HD 4870 ICEQ4+ TURBO Graphics Card


Clear Sky has always favored ATI offerings and here is no different with the HD 4870 IceQ4+ TURBO. It's good to see the card perform well under this test, since it does come with it.

Benchmarks - Left 4 Dead


Left 4 Dead

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update
Timedemo or Level Used: Custom Timedemo
Developer Homepage: http://www.valvesoftware.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.l4d.com/
Buy It Here




Left 4 Dead uses the latest version of Valve's Source engine, with improvements such as multi-core processor support and physics-based animation to more realistically portray hair and clothing, and to improve physics interaction with enemies when shot or shoved in different body parts. Animation was also improved to allow characters to lean realistically when moving in curved paths.

Rendering and artificial intelligence were scaled up to allow for greater number of enemies who can navigate the world in better ways, such as climbing, jumping or breaking obstacles. Lighting has been enhanced with new self-shadowing normal mapping and advanced shadow rendering that is important to convey information about the environment and player actions.

HIS Radeon HD 4870 ICEQ4+ TURBO Graphics Card


Across the board we continue to see the HD 4870 IceQ4+ TURBO performing very well against the 9800 GTX+.

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.


Far Cry 2

HIS Radeon HD 4870 ICEQ4+ TURBO Graphics Card


HIS Radeon HD 4870 ICEQ4+ TURBO Graphics Card


Under Far Cry 2 we again see the HD 4870 IceQ4+ TURBO lag behind the 9800 GTX+.


World In Conflict

HIS Radeon HD 4870 ICEQ4+ TURBO Graphics Card


HIS Radeon HD 4870 ICEQ4+ TURBO Graphics Card


WIC again sees the HD 4870 IceQ4+ TURBO perform well.


Left 4 Dead

HIS Radeon HD 4870 ICEQ4+ TURBO Graphics Card


We see under L4D both ATI offerings beat out the NVIDIA one.

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.

HIS Radeon HD 4870 ICEQ4+ TURBO Graphics Card


HIS Radeon HD 4870 ICEQ4+ TURBO Graphics Card


Under XP we can see WIC performance is a bit all over the place. While the minimums favor the 9800 GTX+, the averages swing towards the HD 4870 IceQ4+ TURBO.

Benchmarks - Far Cry 2 - XP


Far Cry 2

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.01
Timedemo or Level Used: Ranch Long
Developer Homepage: http://www.ubi.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.farcry2.com/
Buy It Here




The Dunia Engine was built specifically for Far Cry 2 by the award-winning Ubisoft Montreal development team. It delivers the most realistic destructible environments, amazing special effects such as dynamic fire propagation and storm effects, real-time night-and-day cycle, dynamic music system, non-scripted enemy A.I. and so much more.


HIS Radeon HD 4870 ICEQ4+ TURBO Graphics Card


HIS Radeon HD 4870 ICEQ4+ TURBO Graphics Card


Under XP we can see that FC2 performance is better with the HD 4870 IceQ4+ TURBO from HIS.

Benchmarks - S.T.A.L.K.E.R. - Clear Sky - XP


S.T.A.L.K.E.R. - Clear Sky

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.5.07
Timedemo or Level Used: Custom Timedemo
Developer Homepage: http://www.gsc-game.com/
Product Homepage: http://cs.stalker-game.com/en/
Buy It Here




S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky, is the stand-alone prequel for S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl, a first-person shooter computer game by Ukrainian developer GSC Game World.[3] The game consists of a roughly 50/50 mix of new areas and old, remodeled areas from the previous game. The X-ray graphics engine has been updated to version 1.5 and includes DirectX 10 support (later patch 1.5.06 included DirectX 10.1). Additionally, the AI received an overhaul to accommodate the new faction wars feature.

HIS Radeon HD 4870 ICEQ4+ TURBO Graphics Card


HIS Radeon HD 4870 ICEQ4+ TURBO Graphics Card


We again see under Clear Sky the HIS HD 4870 IceQ4+ TURBO performs very well compared to the slightly cheaper 9800 GTX+.

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.


HIS Radeon HD 4870 ICEQ4+ TURBO Graphics Card


The non-reference cooler on hand manages to make temps a little lower when compared to the 9800 GTX+ and about 10% lower compared to the lower end HD 4850.


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).


HIS Radeon HD 4870 ICEQ4+ TURBO Graphics Card


The cooler that HIS uses is excellent when it comes to noise levels with it being the quietest card here.

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.


HIS Radeon HD 4870 ICEQ4+ TURBO Graphics Card


The ATI offerings have always been pretty power hungry and it's not really a surprise here that the HIS HD 4870 IceQ4+ TURBO uses the most. Nothing to be worried about; most good quality power supplies won't have an issue with a setup like the one we have here today.

Final Thoughts




While the green strobe light is set to high, we do see flickers of red between those flashes. ATI isn't dead. Do they have the fastest graphics cards on the market? - No. Do they offer some excellent value for money products, though? - Yes! Speed isn't everything and not everyone can afford cards that are upwards of $400+.

HIS has done a good job with the HD 4870 today. They've used a method that we've seen for ages from them. Strap on a mean aftermarket cooler, overclock the card and make the bundle a bit more exciting. This is what we call a win win win situation.

What we ultimately want to say is that you shouldn't write the HD 4870 off yet. Aggressive price drops and companies like HIS putting a lot of effort into the card mean that we're continuing to see some fresh designs that have their place in the market.

HIS has done a good job with the IceQ4+ TURBO model and if you're looking for a HD 4870 that packs a bit more punch than the standard model, it's a very good choice. If you're also willing to spend a few more dollars when compared to the 9800 GTX+ then it's also a very good choice with it performing better most of the time.

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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.

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