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Force3D Radeon HD 4870 Black Edition review

By Julio Franco · 9 replies
Oct 16, 2008
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  1. When we compared the Radeon HD 4870 and GeForce GTX 260 graphics cards a couple of months ago, the Radeon came up on top with one major exception, heat generation.

    While the 80C+ load temperatures of the the Radeon HD 4870 were a little concerning, it was the 70C+ idle temps that had us really worried. This meant that even when sitting at the Windows desktop the Radeon HD 4870 was cranking out more than 70 degrees of heat, much of which escaped into the case.

    And finally we have a Radeon HD 4870 card that has dealt with this issue. The new Force3D Radeon HD 4870 Black Edition slightly overclocks the standard core and memory clocks, but most importantly replaces the reference cooler with one of the best VGA air coolers money can buy, the Arctic-Cooling Accelero Twin Turbo.


    Please leave your feedback here. Thanks!
  2. AlvinTheNerd

    AlvinTheNerd TS Rookie

    Heat and temperature issues

    heat is not measured in degrees, heat is measured in joules. Temperature is very different than heat.

    The reference of 70+ degrees of heat being dumped into the case is gibberish.

    A card that using 100W of power will produce 100W (or 100 joules per second) of heat and dump it into the case. A card that uses 80W dumps 80W.

    Even if the 100W has a heat sink that sits at 40C and the 80W card sits at 100C, the 100W card dumps more heat into the case. The danger in having a card at 100C is the damage that temperature can do to the hardware on the card itself.

    A better cooling system will push as much heat as possible outside of the case, but both the stock and new cooler do this. That new cooler will only have minimal effects on the case temperature. (mostly by pushing more air out which means more cool air comes in) This article suggests it will lower the case temperatures, this is NOT true. The better cooler lowers the temperature of the graphics cards and increases the lifetime of the card, it will do very little to decrease the heat dump into the case.
  3. skitzo_zac

    skitzo_zac TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 413

    Very nice review, the new cooler is a very good step up from the reference cooler.

    But I do wonder why the Palit 1GB 4870 Sonic Dual Edition wasn't included in the power consumption and temperature test/results.
  4. Steve

    Steve TechSpot Editor Posts: 2,996   +2,456

    Actually it does, I wouldn’t have said so if it didn’t. Several times in the past we have found extremely hot graphics cards end up turning reasonably well ventilated cases in ovens. Almost always upgrading the cooler to something more efficient has solved the problem.

    Thanks skitzo_zac for the feedback. I did not include all the cards in the power tests as the graphs were already very large. Also I didn't include more Radeon HD 4870 cards because the Palit and Force3D cards are almost identical here. So for your reference these graphics cards use the same amount of power at idle and under load.
  5. AlvinTheNerd

    AlvinTheNerd TS Rookie

    Conservation of Energy

    If all the chips are the same and they are using the same amount of energy, the only thing that determines average case temp is how much hot air comes out of the case and the amount of radiant heat off the case itself which is pretty uniform if the case doesn't change. If the amount of hot air, and the radiant heat off the case don't change, it doesn't matter what coolers are inside. The average case temp will be the same.

    Its a simply control volume with the conservation of energy.

    If there is noticable difference between case temps by switching coolers, then what is cooling the case is more hot air running over to the outside of the case from the fans on the new cooler. This effect is can be achieve much more cheaply with a better case fan than replacing the entire cooler of a graphics card. The better cooler saves the card, not everything in the case.
  6. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 7,400   +627

    It appears Force3D is a fairly new company that has the same parent company as Inno3D which makes Nvidia cards. But like Inno3D, Force3D seems hard to find in the USA.

    Steve, I think this sentence from the second paragraph in the introduction could be more clearly written. Maybe: Not too long afterwards we published our direct comparison of GeForce GTX 260/280 and Radeon HD 4800 series where it as clear that the Radeon lead the GTX 260 in spite of the price advantage.

    With just the word "after" if you read it without pausing there, the whole sentence reads like an incomplete phrase.

    Just my 2¢. :)
  7. skitzo_zac

    skitzo_zac TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 413

    I was more interested in the temperature differences in the different 4870s as the Palit one also uses a non reference cooler doesn't it?

    Although It doesn't reallly matter as I probably wont be upgrading my graphics card until the next generation (Radeon 5xxx and nVidia GTX 3xx or whatever they will be). My 8800GTS 640 is still going strong my lowly resolution of 1280x1024.
  8. Julio Franco

    Julio Franco TechSpot Editor Topic Starter Posts: 8,247   +1,268

    Thank you, I have reworded the paragraph a bit to make things clearer.
  9. Steve

    Steve TechSpot Editor Posts: 2,996   +2,456

    Don't look at me, blame the editor :p

    Well in that case to answer your question it is even easier. They both produced exactly the same idle and stress temps. Actually that can be seen here...

  10. bohman

    bohman TS Rookie

    as with skitzo, i cant understand why you would leave off the palit sonic card from the power/temp graphs (regardless of how close they are). they are direct competetors for anyone looking for an aftermarket cooled/oc'd 4870.

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