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Shootouts
The Best of the Best - High-end Graphics Card Special
By Kenny Yeo - 24 Dec 2008,12:00am

Our Contenders

Palit Revolution 700 Deluxe

The first card in our high-end graphics card special is Palit's Revolution 700 Deluxe. What's so revolutionary about it, we hear you ask. For starters, it is the first Radeon HD 4870 X2 card in the world that ships with a custom cooler. But more interestingly, its custom cooler is of a triple-slot design. You heard us right. The Palit Revolution 700 Deluxe is a triple slot card and is easily the biggest and heaviest graphics card we've ever seen.

At first glance, we found the triple-slot cooler on the Revolution 700 Deluxe to be very similar to the one employed in its less powerful sibling, the Palit Radeon HD 4870 Sonic Dual Edition, save for the extra slot. Like its sibling, the Revolution 700 Deluxe keeps cool by transferring heat from the twin GPU-cores to the large heatsink by way of its four thick copper heat pipes. The heatsink is then cooled by the cooler's two large 80mm fans. To provide further heat dissipation, and to reinforce and provide extra rigidity to the PCB, there's also a thick metal plate stuck to the back of the card. This is all good news, because in our review of a reference Radeon HD 4870 X2 some time back, it managed a toasty 84 degrees Celsius in our temperature measurement test.

While the Revolution 700 Deluxe might be big on cooling, it is only modestly factory-overclocked. Palit has chosen to keep core clock speeds at 750MHz, whereas memory clock speeds are bumped up to 3800MHz DDR, which is being awfully conservative. We think that a card as radical as this would be more fitting if it had came factory-overclocked at its absolute limit.

This is what the Palit Revolution 700 Deluxe came with:

  • Quick installation guide
  • Driver CD
  • 1 x HDMI to DVI adapter

The Palit Revolution 700 Deluxe is our largest card on show. It also came in the largest box, and as usual, Frobo fronts the cover.

NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 280 is already a very large card, but as you can see, it is absolutely dwarfed by the gargantuan Revolution 700 Deluxe. Do note that some casing's rear faceplate configuration may not bode well for these unusual multi-slot cards.

The triple-slot cooler is not some gimmick, Palit reckons it'll help keep the dual-GPUs on the Revolution 700 Deluxe cool. We'll find out how effective it is soon.

Zotac GeForce GTX 280 AMP! Edition

You'll be forgiven if you did not think much about the Zotac GTX 280 AMP! Edition. Apart from the fire-breathing dragon emblazoned on the dual-slot reference cooler, you'll find nothing else that differentiates it from a reference GeForce GTX 280 from NVIDIA . However, underneath its uninteresting facade lies a monster, because the Zotac GTX 280 AMP! Edition is by far the most aggressively overclocked GeForce GTX 280 card we could find. Its core clock speed have been upped from the reference 602MHz to 700MHz; whereas shader clock speed have also been increased from 1296MHz to 1400MHz; and memory, from 2214MHz DDR to 2300MHz DDR. With such substantial increases, we expect the Zotac GTX 280 AMP! Edition to be a real bruiser.

This is what the Zotac GeForce GTX 280 AMP! Edition came with:

  • Quick installation guide
  • Driver CD
  • Racedriver Grid (full game)
  • 1 x DVI to VGA adapter
  • 1 x DVI to HDMI adapter
  • 1 x Molex to 6-pin PCIe power connector
  • 1 x S/PDIF cable
  • 1 x S/Video cable

The Zotac GeForce GTX 280 AMP! Edition comes in Zotac's now customary orange box. The fire-breating dragon on it gives an indiction of the kind of performance you can expect from the card.

HIS Radeon HD 4870 IceQ 4+ Turbo 1GB

The HIS Radeon HD 4850 IceQ 4 TurboX was a favorite of ours, and it'll be interesting to see how it's more powerful sibling, the Radeon HD 4870 IceQ 4+ Turbo will perform. The Radeon HD 4870 IceQ 4+ Turbo comes factory-overclocked at 770MHz at the core and 4000MHz DDR at the memory, and sports HIS' latest IceQ 4+ cooler, an improved version of the original IceQ 4. On the surface, the IceQ 4+ cooler doesn't look any much different from the IceQ 4, but underneath, HIS says alterations have been made to ensure up to 60% better performance. Chief among which, is the utilization of a redesigned heatsink and thicker heat pipes (8mm from 6mm), which helps ensure faster transfer of heat from the GPU to its surroundings. However, it seems like the new IceQ 4+ suffers a little from these design changes as it didn't sound as fantastically quiet as the original IceQ 4 did.

This is what the HIS Radeon HD 4870 IceQ 4+ Turbo came with:

  • Quick installation guide
  • Driver CD
  • 1 x DVI to VGA adapter
  • 1 x DVI to HDMI adapter
  • 1 x Molex to 6-pin PCIe power connector
  • 1 x CrossFire bridge

THE HIS Radeon HD 4870 IceQ 4+ Turbo is packaged nicely in the all-too-familiar dark blue HIS box. The large Turbo sticker on it proudly indicates this card is turbo-charged for performance.

As you can see here, placed beside its sibling, the Radeon HD 4850 IceQ 4 TurboX, the new HIS Radeon HD 4870 IceQ 4+ Turbo looks almost identical.

Leadtek WinFast GTX 260 Extreme+

The last card in our high-end graphics card special is the previously reviewed WinFast GTX 260 Extreme+ from Leadtek. Cosmetically, the WinFast GTX 260 Extreme+ looks no different from other cards of GTX 200 series due to its adoption of NVIDIA's reference cooler, but underneath, it sports NVIDIA's latest GTX 260 Core 216 GPU, which they claim will allow it to go one up against its nemesis, the Radeon HD 4870. The WinFast GTX 260 Extreme+ comes factory-overclocked at 602MHz at the core, 2214MHz DDR at the memory and 1296MHz at the shaders.

This is what the Leadtek WinFast GTX 260 Extreme+ came with:

  • Quick installation guide
  • Driver CD
  • Neverwinter Nights 2 (full game)
  • 1 x DVI to HDMI adapter
  • 1 x DVI to VGA adapter
  • 2 x Molex to PCIe power connector
  • 1 x S/PDIF cable
  • 1 x S/Video cable

The thing about NVIDIA GT200 series card that irks us is that they come with reference coolers, making one card look no different from the other, regardless whether they are overclocked or not. The Leadtek WinFast GTX260 Extreme+ is no different, it sports a reference cooler and as such looks identical to every other card in the GTX 200 series.

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