September 13th, 2008
BenchmarkReviews Sapphire Radeon HD 4870
Tao Le Ching had it right: the more you know, the less you understand. This notion surrounds the computer hardware industry as much as anything, because I have discovered that the moment my experiences lead me towards one opinion, the industry changes and goes into a new direction. Case in point: AMD / ATI. Phenom processors built for the Spider platform have had a very difficult time building momentum against Intel, relegating AMD to being second-best. At the other end of the corporate conglomerate is ATI, which has taken such a beating from NVIDIA that most enthusiasts would have to agree that their future looked bleak prior to Q2 2008. But that’s exactly when things changed.
At some undetermined point in late June of 2008, ATI and AMD each gained ground on the competition in small steps. AMD launched several enthusiast-level processor, lifting them up out of the tailspin. Around the same time ATI launched their Radeon HD 4850 video card, which directly competes with the GeForce 9800 GTX and GTX+. Then, after a few on-again off-again launch dates, NVIDIA and ATI did an excellent job of confusing the community with a barrage of product launches. NVIDIA came out swinging with their GeForce GTX 280 and GTX 260 video cards, and ATI retaliated with the Radeon HD 4870 featuring the industries first implementation of GDDR5 video memory.