The two Radeon HD 4850 graphics cards we reviewed were from Diamond and these HD 4870 parts are coming from Sapphire Technology. To some dismay, Tux isn't to be found on their product packaging nor is there the Catalyst 8.6 Linux driver bundled on the product CD. Included with the Sapphire Radeon HD 4870 512MB was one CrossFire bridge, HD video adapter, DVI to HDMI adapter, DVI to VGA adapter, Sapphire case sticker, graphics card user manual, and a collection of bundled software. The software included with this graphics card was Futuremark 3DMark 06, Cyberlink DVD Suite, Cyberlink PowerDVD 7, and the Ruby ROM collection containing some additional software. One Sapphire extra that is included with each graphics card is a 2GB USB flash drive.
While the Radeon HD 4850 graphics cards only need a single slot cooler, the Radeon HD 4870 occupies two expansion slots. The Radeon HD 4870 has a much larger fan and heatsink than the Radeon HD 4850. While the fan is larger, it isn't loud during operation and its heatsink design is similar to that of the ATI Radeon HD 3870. Powering the Radeon HD 4870 are two PCI Express connectors. However, these connectors use both 6-pin interfaces so you need not worry about your power supply having a new 8-pin connector. The peak power consumption for a single Radeon HD 4870 is about 160 Watts
Like the Radeon HD 4850, the HD 4870 has dual CrossFire connectors. This allows these graphics cards to run in tandem up to a four-card CrossFireX configuration. However, the Linux support for CrossFire won't be arriving until later this quarter.
The Sapphire Radeon HD 4870 uses two dual-link DVI connectors and the third output supports HDTV output using the included adapter. Like the R600 series, the Radeon HD 4870 has an integrated audio processor for broadcasting up to 7.1 channel audio when broadcasting over HDMI. There is RV770 APU support already (ATI R700 Series Gain ALSA HDMI Audio) within the Advanced Linux Sound Architecture.
The MSRP for the ATI Radeon HD 4870 512MB is $299 USD, which is $100 more than the Radeon HD 4850. At the same time though, the Radeon HD 4870 is much cheaper than the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 260/280.