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Christmas 2008 Graphics Performance Roundup on Core i7
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Old 17th December 2008, 16:44   #1
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Default Christmas 2008 Graphics Performance Roundup on Core i7

Frankly, it's actually hard to separate the two in a single card configuration, because it's ultimately going to come down to which games you play and whether you plan to upgrade to CrossFire or SLI later down the line (on the proviso that you buy a board supporting SLI because not all do). There are strengths to both cards but neither has what I'd call a complete disaster along the way – overall, SLI looks to be the stronger option for the time being.

As for the other cards, the GeForce GTX 280 performs well and is mostly faster than the Radeon HD 4870 1GB, but there are scenarios where it isn't. Frankly, for a card that costs a lot more, we find that hard to swallow. The GeForce GTX 260+, on the other hand, trades blows at a similar price point to the Radeon – it wins some by big margins and loses others by equally large margins but for the most part it is on even footing. We can accept that, but we cannot accept that a card which is over £100 more expensive to fall short of the mark.

It's also clear that the Radeon HD 4870 512MB is starting to lose its way a bit – the lack of memory is really crippling it in many scenarios and over time more and more games will start to make use of more than 512MB of memory. It was a good value card earlier in the year, but now there is no reason not to opt for the Radeon HD 4870 1GB if you've decided that red is your colour.

Finally, the 4870 X2 is the fastest card you can stick in a single PCI-Express slot, but it relies on CrossFire technology which means some games may not scale particularly well. There's also the fact that rumours of a response from Nvidia may be about to take the 4870 X2's title away from it. What's more, a pair of Radeon HD 4870 1GBs running in CrossFire generally ends up being faster for around the same price, depending on brand and where you shop.
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