At its launch, the Radeon HD 4870 GPU from ATI was somewhat of a revelation, boasting an unbeatable combination of price and performance. To say that it merely made NVIDIA uncomfortable would be something of a gross understatement.
Recently, however, the Radeon HD 4870 has lost some of its luster. NVIDIA, thanks to its revised GeForce GTX 260 with 216 cores and constant driver updates have a card more than capable of going toe-to-toe with ATI's fastest single GPU card. Elsewhere, ATI's Radeon HD 4870 X2 (which utilizes two Radeon HD 4870 GPUs) has recently found itself comprehensively beaten by NVIDIA's new GeForce GTX 295 flagship. Worse still, because of NVIDIA's new flagship, ATI was forced to respond by slashing the price of its Radeon HD 4870 X2 cards by US$100, from US$549 to US$449. Ouch.
Not that this has stopped vendors from offering ATI cards. Thankfully, high-end ATI cards are able to distinguish themselves from their NVIDIA counterparts in that a handful of them boast customized coolers. While every GTX 200 series card look identical to one another, some vendors providing ATI solutions have managed to customize their cards so as to stand out from the competition.
Speaking of which, the Sapphire HD 4870 1GB Toxic Edition is one such card. The card is the latest in Sapphire's Toxic series of factory-overclocked cards, and it comes with Sapphire's very own Vapor-X cooler, which promises to keep the card running cool. This should come in handy since the Sapphire HD 4870 Toxic Edition comes straight out of the box running 780MHz at the core and a gut-busting 4000MHz DDR for the memory.