The Best of the Best - High-end Graphics Card Special

By Kenny Yeo - 24 Dec 2008



As for the graphics industry is concerned, this is a great Christmas if you are a gamer with dough to splash and you're hunting for a graphics card. As you can see, the cards here are all capable of blistering performance and we're confident that any one of them will serve you well (subject to your requirements and the budget). However, if you want to buy smart, then there are certain things you need to consider, let's begin with the triple-slot Palit Revolution 700 Deluxe.

We knew from the get-go that we won't be able to get much of a performance increase with the Palit Revolution 700 Deluxe, and our benchmarks certainly prove that. That said, its less spectacular performance shouldn't detract us from the fact that the triple-slot cooler on the Palit, though a little on the extreme, is exceptionally effective. A 23 degrees Celsius reduction in operating temperature is nothing less than phenomenal, and apart from size and space constraints, we can see no reason why you shouldn't get the Palit Revolution 700 Deluxe if a Radeon HD 4870 X2 is what you need. At US$565, it is admittedly a little pricey, considering the street price for most Radeon HD 4870 X2 is around US$529 at the moment, but if you are already paying so much, what's US$30 more? That's only about 5% more.

Sadly, if there's anything that prevented us from giving a higher score is the sheer size of the card. At three slots wide, getting it to fit into some casings will be nothing less than a major undertaking, possibly requiring some deconstruction work. Furthermore, a CrossFire setup of two of these cards will very likely render all your other expansion slots unusable. As a result, if one Radeon HD 4870 X2 is all you need, then by all means get the Palit Revolution 700 Deluxe. But if a pair of Radeon HD 4870 X2 cards is your ultimate aim, then we are afraid you need a slimmer option (unless you don't require any expansion slots).

Of our selection of cards, the Zotac GeForce GTX 280 AMP! Edition is perhaps our favorite. It might not sport a fancy customized cooler with redesigned heatsinks or heat pipes, but it does come factory overclocked and if anything, it is very fast. Looking back at our performance graphs, the Zotac GeForce GTX 280 AMP! Edition was the card that consistently outperformed its reference counterpart by the biggest margin, and even though it is not running any cooler, nor consuming any less power than its reference counterpart, it costs US$449, making it only US$20 more expensive than a standard no-frills GeForce GTX 280. And for a card that offers such great performance, is tremendous value for money.

You won't find a slow coach here, and as far as we're concerned, all are good choices for the hardcore gamer and graphics enthusiast.

Moving on, we come to HIS' Radeon HD 4870 IceQ 4+ Turbo. All things considered, this is a solid card and is easily one of the better Radeon HD 4870 cards that we have tested. It provides a marked increase in performance, and manages to significantly reduce operating temperatures. Sadly, it is not perfect - because at US$320, it is also easily one of the most expensive Radeon HD 4870 cards. Typically, reference Radeon HD 4870 cards with 1GB of video memory are going for an average of US$270 at the moment, which makes the HIS Radeon HD 4870 IceQ 4+ Turbo US$50 more costly. Admittedly, factory-overclocked cards do command a premium, and this is even more so for those with customized coolers, but in this case, we are not quite sure if the HIS Radeon HD 4870 IceQ 4+ Turbo is worth the increase in price. Also, it isn't as quiet as the IceQ 4 predecessor (but it isn't annoying either).

Last, but not least, we have the Leadtek WinFast GTX 260 Extreme+. Like the HIS Radeon HD 4870 IceQ 4+ Turbo, it is a solid card that does what it is supposed to do, no questions ask. It comes factory-overclocked and consistently puts out performances that surpassed a regular GeForce GTX 260 Core 216. It doesn't bring anything new to the table apart from its improved performance. And like the HIS Radeon 4870 IceQ 4+ Turbo, it stopped us from giving it a better score because of its less than ideal price tag. At US$315, it is about US$45 more than regular GeForce GTX 260 Core 216, and while it does improve performance, it isn't to the same degree that the Zotac GeForce GTX 280 AMP! Edition managed to impress. Furthermore, unlike the HIS card, this doesn't have a customized cooler.

So that sums up our conclusion of these four high-end, over-the-top graphics cards in their respective SKUs and we hope this special feature helps you narrow down your options to a great Christmas present for yourself or your gaming obsessed buddy.

Palit Revolution 700 Deluxe Rating


Zotac GeForce GTX 280 AMP! Edition Rating


HIS Radeon HD 4870 IceQ 4+ Turbo Rating


Leadtek WinFast GTX 260 Extreme+ Rating


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