ATI Radeon HD 4870 and HD 4850 GPUs were released 15 years ago

Published: Jun 27th 2023, 13:30 GMT   Comments

Radeon HD 4870 & 4850 were released in June 2008

It is hard to imagine but Radeon RX 48×0 series is now celebrating its 15th anniversary. 

AMD made an important GPU launch in 2008. The refined RV660 architecture in a form of RV770 GPUs based on 55nm node has been a headache for NVIDIA who were pushing gamers into enthusiast territory with expensive GeForce GTX 280 and GTX 280 series. In June 2008, AMD launched two models called the HD 4870 and HD 4850 based on either RX770 XT or RV770 PRO GPUs. Those graphics cards featured 956 million transistors, so over 60 times less than modern GPUs like Navi 31.

Both models featured the same core count of 800 shading units, combined with 40 texture and 16 raster units. There was 512MB of GDDR5 memory on board and each model had a 256-bit memory bus. In terms of power, it was close to what one would expect from a mid-range model these days, so 110 to 160W TBP. More importantly, both cards were very affordable at the time, with MSRP of $299 and $199 respectively for 4870 and 4850 SKUs.

AMD Radeon HD 4870 (left) and HD 4850 (right), Source: AMD

AMD Radeon HD 4850, in particular, had a fantastic value, beating GeForce 9000/8000 series in most benchmarks. In fact, thanks to its multi-GPU CrossFire link it could compete with the next-gen $649 GeForce GTX 280 series while still being cheaper. This is shown by new tests provided by ComputerBase.

Radeon HD 4850 performance, Source: ComputerBase

Worth adding that AMD was quick to notice the growing popularity of the HD 4800 series. AMD decided to launch HD 4870 X2 and HD 4850 X2 models featuring dual-GPU options just a few months later. The series still featured the ATI logo, despite the acquisition that took place 2 years prior. It wasn’t until the HD 6000 series that AMD completed took over the GPU branding.

Now, 15 years later, AMD and NVIDIA are competing in an entirely different and much pricier landscape. The only card with similar specs (TDP and pricing) would be Radeon RX 7600 based on a tiny Navi 33 GPU. This GPU has 10.9 TFLOPs of compute power, so over 9 times more than the HD 4870.

AMD Radeon HD 4800 Series
VideoCardz/PurePCRadeon HD 3870Radeon HD 4870Radeon HD 4850Radeon RX 7900 XTX
Fabrication Node55 nm55 nm55 nmTSMC N5/N6
Transistors Count666M956M956M58B
Max GPU Clock777 MHz750 MHz625 MHz2500 MHz
Memory Clock1126 MHz900 MHz993 MHz2500 MHz
Memory Configuration512MB G4 256-bit512MB G5 256-bit512MB G3 256-bit24GB G6 384-bit
Bandwidth72 GB/s115 GB/s64 GB/s960 GB/s
InterfacePCIe 2.0 x16PCIe 2.0 x16PCIe 2.0 x16PCIe 4.0 x16
CrossFire4-Way Crossfire4-Way Crossfire4-Way Crossfire
TDP106 W160 W110 W355 W
Power Connectors1x 6-pin2x 6-pin1x 6-pin2x 8-pin
Release DateNovember 19, 2007June 25, 2008June 25, 2008December 13, 2022

Source: ComputerBase, PurePC

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