Radeon HD 4870: Performance & Graphics Card Overview

Alex Nguyen

ATI Radeon 4870

The Radeon HD 4870 used to be a top graphics card in 2008, with a core clock speed of 800MHz and strong performance. However, it’s now outdated and may struggle to run modern games smoothly due to their more advanced graphics and higher system requirements. Gamers considering the HD 4870 should set realistic expectations for graphic settings and resolution to ensure a satisfactory gaming experience.

A Retrospective Look at the Radeon HD 4870

Powerful Performance for Its Time

The Radeon HD 4870, released in 2008 by ATI (now AMD), was a groundbreaking graphics card that delivered impressive performance for its era. It boasted 800 stream processors, a 256-bit memory interface, and 512MB or 1GB of GDDR5 memory. This allowed it to handle demanding games at high resolutions and smooth frame rates, rivaling Nvidia’s offerings at the time.

Technological Innovations

The HD 4870 was the first card to feature GDDR5 memory, a faster and more efficient type of video memory. This innovation significantly improved the card’s performance and paved the way for future graphics cards.

Key Specifications:

SpecificationRadeon HD 4870 (512MB)Radeon HD 4870 (1GB)
Stream Processors800800
Memory512MB GDDR51GB GDDR5
Memory Interface256-bit256-bit
Core Clock750 MHz750 MHz
Memory Clock900 MHz (3.6 Gbps effective)900 MHz (3.6 Gbps effective)
DirectX Support10.110.1
Power Connectors2x 6-pin2x 6-pin

Legacy and Impact

While the Radeon HD 4870 is no longer a top-performing card by today’s standards, it holds a significant place in graphics card history. Its technological advancements and impressive performance at the time made it a popular choice among gamers and a catalyst for further innovation in the industry. Even today, it can handle older games and less demanding tasks with ease, serving as a testament to its enduring legacy.


AMD no longer officially supports the Radeon HD 4870 with new driver updates. However, you can still find legacy drivers for this card:

  • AMD Legacy Drivers: AMD offers a legacy driver package (version 13.9) that supports the HD 4870. You can find it on their website or through a quick online search.
  • Guru3D Forums: This tech forum provides a link to the legacy driver package and instructions for installing it on your system.

Important Note: While these drivers will allow the card to function, they may not offer optimal performance or compatibility with newer operating systems and games. Consider upgrading to a newer graphics card for the best experience.

Key Takeaways

  • The Radeon HD 4870 was a strong performer on its 2008 release.
  • Current games may be too demanding for the HD 4870.
  • Gamers should have realistic expectations for this GPU’s performance today.

Assessing Radeon HD 4870’s Gaming Capabilities

The Radeon HD 4870’s gaming capabilities merit attention. This section provides insights into its performance and worth for gamers.

Comparative Performance Analysis

The HD 4870 once sat close to the top in AMD’s line, vying with Nvidia’s GTX 260 and 280. Benchmarks from historical data reveal that the HD 4870 consistently outperformed the GTX 260 and was competitive with the GTX 280. These were important comparisons, marking the card as a contender in the high-end market at the time of its release.

Technical Specifications and Feature Support

This card is built on a 55nm process with 956 million transistors. It has a core clock speed of 750MHz. With its 800 stream processors and a memory bus width of 256 bits, the card can handle demanding textures and antialiasing methods. Memory is also key, and the Radeon HD 4870 features GDDR5, a considerable step up from the previous model, the HD 4850, which used GDDR3.

Gaming Experience on Notable Titles

Gamers in the year of release found that the HD 4870 delivered a strong gaming experience with games like Crysis, Call of Duty 4, and Half-Life 2. Its support for DirectX 10.1 improved shading and effects, adding to the immersion. However, this card does not support DirectX 11, which may limit its capacity to run more modern titles smoothly.

Price-to-Performance Ratio

Initially, the HD 4870 offered excellent value. It delivered high-end gaming performance without the top-tier pricing. This price-to-performance ratio was a strong selling point, making it an attractive buy for gamers who needed strong performance but were also price conscious.

CrossfireX and Multi-GPU Efficiency

The HD 4870 supports CrossFireX, allowing multiple GPUs to work together for improved performance. The Radeon HD 4870 X2 was the pinnacle of this tech, combining two GPUs on a single card. This setup increased efficiency and delivered better frame rates in games that could utilize the technology well. However, not all games support CrossfireX effectively.