A week ago we looked at the brand-new ATI Radeon HD 4850 graphics card under Linux. This graphics card launch was unlike any in ATI's history where with the introduction of a brand new product generation, Linux users were greeted by same-day Linux support -- both through their proprietary fglrx driver and with the open-source xf86-video-ati driver. In addition, some of the board partners are opting to put Tux on their product packaging and shipping the Linux drivers on their product CDs. As we had also exclusively shared, AMD will soon be approaching a feature parity between the Windows and Linux drivers (AMD Makes An Evolutionary Leap In Linux Support). Today we're publishing our complete review of the new ATI Radeon HD 4870 512MB as well as delivering additional benchmarks from the Radeon HD 4850 under Linux, of course.
The Radeon HD 4870 uses a slightly faster RV770 core than what's used by the Radeon HD 4850. The HD 4870 has a reference core clock of 750MHz (compared to 625MHz with the HD 4850) and 900MHz memory clock (compared to 993MHz with the HD 4850). While the memory clock is slightly slower with the Radeon HD 4870, instead of using GDDR3 like its sibling it instead is the first graphics card using GDDR5 memory. Thanks to the GDDR5, the memory bandwidth for this new high-end graphics processor is 115GB/s. In addition to being the world's fastest DRAM per pin, GDDR5 adds in an error detection protocol (similar to ECC for system memory), a continuous write clock, low power features, and other technological advances.
The Radeon HD 4870 is the same as the HD 4850 when it comes to the engineers having focused on increased efficiency, increased processing power, enhanced Stream computing, 55nm manufacturing, a new SIMD core layout, more texturing power, and other advancements. 1.0 TeraFLOPS was the magic number for the Radeon HD 4850, and the HD 4870 has extended this up to an impressive 1.2 TeraFLOPS of compute power. The Radeon HD 4870 also continues to support OpenGL 2.1, PowerPlay, CrossFireX, PCI Express 2.0, Avivo HD, and (for what it's worth) Microsoft DirectX 10.1. You have likely already heard about the Radeon HD 4870 graphics processor elsewhere, so we will stick to sharing the important Linux details.