Sunday, June 29th 2008

Diamond Releases Radeon HD 4870 XOC Unlocked Black Edition

Diamond Multimedia (diamondmm.com), a leading manufacturer of PC graphics cards, sound cards and communications products, launched today along with boutique system builder Smoothcreations, and Water cooling mavens, Danger Den the ATI Radeon™ HD 4870 XOC Black Edition graphics card. This card offers exquisite gaming capabilities combined with state of the art efficiency.

The HD 4870 is a smoking gun dual slot card, PCIE 2.0, with 512MB of DDR5 memory and a clock speed of 800 MHz. The memory speed is 1100 MHz and is designed with 800 stream processors. The HD 4870 provides plug-and-play ATI CrossFireX™ upgradeability with up to quad-GPU support. Continuing with ATI’s Power Play and 55nm processing technology, this card is the fastest and efficient. “The Diamond Radeon HD 4870 XOC Black Edition was clocked to kick some ass”. We didn’t just want a fast card out in the market, we wanted the fastest card that could kick the living daylights and bust some performance records, say Mario Gastelum, Director of Product Development & Engineering. “we wanted a card that kicked the competitions teeth into the curb”, and that’s exactly what our engineers accomplished”. “The firmware was custom designed to enable end users to go beyond the normal over clocked speeds and allow them to push their cards for higher performance via the catalyst control center.” The GPU’s custom firmware has been unlocked to push cards to GPU settings of up to 950 MHz and Memory of up 1200 MHz.

Update: Diamond has decided to make "these cards available in ecommerce in the next few days".

Diamond Teamed up with Premier Boutique system builder, SmoothCreations, to offer these powerful graphics cards to Smoothcreations legendary beauty and performance pc system platforms. “We wanted to complement beauty, artisan craftsmanship, and performance power to a gaming system, and Diamond helped us accomplish that”, says Jim Saling, CEO of SmoothCreations. In collaboration with Danger Den, Smoothcreations will be offering a water cooled edition as well.

All Diamond video cards carry the Diamond guarantee of quality assurance. Unlike many cards that are simply first to market, Diamond carefully tests and retests every new model for its ratio of performance to reliability. Diamond is legendary in the PC video card business for its less than 1 percent return rate. Diamond cards use superior connectors, cables and components, as well as undergo more thorough testing for heat susceptibility and durability.

Availability
Diamond Multimedia’s ATI Radeon HD 4870 XOC Black Edition will be available for purchase starting July 01, 2008 and will be available Exclusively at Premier Boutique System Builder Smoothcreations.
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47 Comments on Diamond Releases Radeon HD 4870 XOC Unlocked Black Edition

#1
cdawall
where the hell are my stars
newtekie1 said:
I have three problems with that:

1.) They said firmware. CCC is not firmware, it is software. I still think they are talking about an unlocked BIOS, not just a modified CCC. To me Firmware means the cards BIOS.
2.) If it is just a modified CCC, what is the big deal? You can use another overclocking program to overclock the card beyond what CCC lets you anyway, and what is so special about this card then?
3.) If it is CCC, does that mean I have to rely on Diamond every time I want to update my drivers and CCC? I don't like having to wait on the manufacturer to release special drivers for the card. I want to be able to go to ATi.com and get the latest drivers the day they come out.
Para_Franck answered you pretty well on that ;)
Posted on Reply
#2
newtekie1
Semi-Retired Folder
cdawall said:
Para_Franck answered you pretty well on that ;)
So it goes right back to my original statement. ATi is purposely locking the BIOS to try to limit overclocks. Massive BS, IMO.
Posted on Reply
#3
cdawall
where the hell are my stars
newtekie1 said:
So it goes right back to my original statement. ATi is purposely locking the BIOS to try to limit overclocks. Massive BS, IMO.
no ati is locking CCC to limit oc's like you said you can use another software to oc it ;)
Posted on Reply
#4
newtekie1
Semi-Retired Folder
cdawall said:
no ati is locking CCC to limit oc's like you said you can use another software to oc it ;)
No, ATi is locking the firmware on the cards to limit the overclock. If the firmware controls the overclocking limit, then the firmware is locked, not CCC.

I know you can use another OC program if you want to, and I prefer to anyway. But locking the BIOS on the card to attempt to limit OCs is pretty low, IMO.
Posted on Reply
#5
Megasty
When the 3870 first came out, it had a 'locked' bios. The cards actually didn't have the volts to support a heavy gpu OC. Most would do 850-875. Then Diamond came around with their 'unlocked' card that had the voltage to support up to 1000/1400, not that the cards could clock that high cause you would need some pretty ridiculous cooling. Later on all the newer released cards could OC great do to the newer bios. This is just another form of this. You can use CCC to get around all of this except for the voltage. If you set an OC in CCC that doesn't have the voltage support, it won't take. The card would either crash & reset or do nothing. It would crash when its right on the edge of the voltage requirement & do nothing when the OC is so insane that CCC wouldn't even try to implement it. All of those settings are available in the xml file.
Posted on Reply
#6
AsRock
TPU addict
Shame well if i was in the market for a 4870, as i don't even spend 2K on a system when i upgrade to start with, Never have never will. So there's a sales loss already.

Shame to, sounds pretty kick ass too.
Posted on Reply
#7
W1zzard
newtekie1 said:
No, ATi is locking the firmware on the cards to limit the overclock. If the firmware controls the overclocking limit, then the firmware is locked, not CCC.

I know you can use another OC program if you want to, and I prefer to anyway. But locking the BIOS on the card to attempt to limit OCs is pretty low, IMO.
ati is limiting overclocking via ccc. the maximum frequency setting available in ccc is defined in the bios. please look up what "lock" means
Posted on Reply
#8
W1zzard
those cards will appear in retail soon:

Diamond Multimedia
Due to popular demand we are making these cards available in ecommerce in the next few days.
Posted on Reply
#9
Cold Storm
Battosai
W1zzard said:
those cards will appear in retail soon:
Nice, Glad that they decided to do that! I would hate have to buy a system I didn't even need in order to get one of those!
Posted on Reply
#10
Megasty
Cold Storm said:
Nice, Glad that they decided to do that! I would hate have to buy a system I didn't even need in order to get one of those!
They catch on pretty damn fast don't they - when it comes to the green ;)
Posted on Reply
#11
Cold Storm
Battosai
Megasty said:
They catch on pretty damn fast don't they - when it comes to the green ;)
Yeah, and probably have someone watching forums seeing that everyone hates the fact that it would cost a Mim. of 2 grand to get one of them in a system...
Posted on Reply
#12
newtekie1
Semi-Retired Folder
W1zzard said:
ati is limiting overclocking via ccc. the maximum frequency setting available in ccc is defined in the bios. please look up what "lock" means
We aren't arguing over what lock means, that has nothing to do with it. We are arguing about where the lock resides. I say if the Firmware(BIOS) limits what CCC allows you to overclock to, then the BIOS is locked, not CCC. CCC has nothing to do with it, there isn't anything in CCC that is limiting the overclock. The Firmware is telling CCC what clock speeds are acceptable, and that is what CCC allows. The firmware is locked, not CCC.
Posted on Reply
#13
InnocentCriminal
Resident Grammar Amender
CCC is locked due to the BIOS, couldn't agree with you more newtekie1.
Posted on Reply
#14
cdawall
where the hell are my stars
newtekie1 said:
We aren't arguing over what lock means, that has nothing to do with it. We are arguing about where the lock resides. I say if the Firmware(BIOS) limits what CCC allows you to overclock to, then the BIOS is locked, not CCC. CCC has nothing to do with it, there isn't anything in CCC that is limiting the overclock. The Firmware is telling CCC what clock speeds are acceptable, and that is what CCC allows. The firmware is locked, not CCC.
which means ATi really has nothing to do with it the lock resides totally with the manufacturers
Posted on Reply
#15
newtekie1
Semi-Retired Folder
cdawall said:
which means ATi really has nothing to do with it the lock resides totally with the manufacturers
You are correct. I'm not really concerned with who is to blame though, it is still BS, regardless of who is doing it.
Posted on Reply
#16
cdawall
where the hell are my stars
newtekie1 said:
You are correct. I'm not really concerned with who is to blame though, it is still BS, regardless of who is doing it.
right up until you install rivatuner ;)
Posted on Reply
#17
W1zzard
it works like this .. ati gives you (aib) the reference bios, you can mod it using software provided by amd but you need to send it in to ati to get it approved. if the overdrive limit is set too high ati will refuse the signature. then you can go talk to ati like diamond did and figure out some kind of special deal to get approval
Posted on Reply
#18
newtekie1
Semi-Retired Folder
W1zzard said:
it works like this .. ati gives you (aib) the reference bios, you can mod it using software provided by amd but you need to send it in to ati to get it approved. if the overdrive limit is set too high ati will refuse the signature. then you can go talk to ati like diamond did and figure out some kind of special deal to get approval
Thanks. I hate political crap like that. I know it is nessessary, but it is still BS. And by political crap I mean the whole "you can use my product to make your product as long as you follow my rules for how it is used", and I'm not just saying that about ATi either, I know nVidia just exactly the same thing.
Posted on Reply
#19
wolf
Performance Enthusiast
thats really annoying, i was considering a 4870, but i think i will wait a few months for a 1gb version that i can actually oc decently. if the 3870 is anything to go by, 850mhz core shouldn't be too much to ask of it, and given the extra FPS at 790 core, it should be awesome.

personally i think 1gb is much more suited to the 4870, it finally has the bandwith to actually make good use of it.
Posted on Reply
#20
Cold Storm
Battosai
I'm going to be waiting myself for 4870's... I'm hoping to hear from Evga about my card soon... That way I can start testing the GTX 280... Then probably sell it for ether quad sli or crossfire 4870's...
Posted on Reply
#22
Rash-Un-Al
512MB of GDDR5

Ragheed said:
At what point does 512MB become a hindrance? I know the 4870 can beat the GTX 260 with 896MB, but will performance continue to scale with speed increases absent a corresponding increase in frame buffer?
"ATI also gave each memory controller hub access to its own L2 cache which will further increase the data transfer speeds to and from the memory. This was done in order to take advantage of the massive bandwidth potential that comes with the implementation of GDDR5 onto some R770 cards. So, even though it looks like the HD4850 and HD4870 “only” have a 256-bit interface, because of the bandwidth afforded by this new memory design, it actually acts like a 512-bit interface." --www.hardwarecanucks.com

---

"The major difference is that the HD 4870 uses GDDR5 while the HD 4850 uses GDDR3. Certainly the biggest benefit of GDDR5 is that is offers twice the memory bandwidth than GDDR3 at the same clock."

"Please note that GDDR5 offers twice the bandwidth per pin at the same clock than GDDR3/4. So a 256-bit GDDR5 card has the same bandwidth as a 512-bit GDDR3 card at the same clock." --www.techpowerup.com

---

"That memory bandwidth perfection is due to the Radeon HD 4870 using GDDR5 memory instead of GDDR3, obviously. Though the real clock frequency is 900 MHz, the outcome in effective bandwidth is the sustained data rate x4. See, the memory frequency is double that of double data rate. This will give the 4870 an astounding 115.2GB/s at 3600 MHz, while still being on the 256-bit memory bus. That in fact is more memory bandwidth than the GeForce GTX 260 (111.9 GB/s) which has a much wider 448-bit memory bus, but uses GDDR3."

"There are some distinct advantages to be found for GDDR5 memory. It's has much higher frequency based memory versus tight timings. In the end this gives the Radeon HD 4870 a performance boost as GDDR5 memory will leverage overall peak bandwidth to a theoretical (roughly) 3.6 Gbps. And that's just crazy fast (GDDR3 on 4850 = 2.0 Gbps)." --www.guru3d.com

---

"The 4870's core clock is 750MHz, and even more importantly, it's paired up with 512MB of GDDR5 memory. The base clock on that memory is 900MHz, but it transfers data at a rate of 3600MT/s, which means the 4870's peak memory bandwidth is nearly twice that of the 4850." --www.techreport.com

---

"The move to GDDR5 is an important one for AMD as it helps to provided all 800 shader processors with enough bandwidth in order to compete with the new 512-bit memory controller that NVIDIA used on the GT200. Providing over 115 GB/sec of bandwidth on a 256-bit wide bus is pretty impressive considering the GT200, using a 512-bit bus, can push about 141 GB/sec of bandwidth." --www.pcper.com

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"...but the use of GDDR5 boosts memory bandwidth by 80% [versus the HD 4850]. The more bandwidth-limited a particular game and resolution setting is, the better the Radeon HD 4870 should do." --www.extremetech.com

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"GDDR5 introduces features and functions that go beyond previous GDDR standards and enables GDDR5 to operate at data rates up to 6 Gbps, three times the performance of todays high speed GDDR3. The memory ICs feature adaptive power management, error compensation, adaptive interface timings and date eye optimization. The ICs being used are part number IDGV1G-05A1F1C-40X, which are entry level GDDR5 chips and are rated for just 4 Gbps. ATI has them clocked at just 3.6 Gbps, so these should have some overclocking head room left in them." --www.legitreviews.com

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"ATI's been keen to pack as much power into a small a die space as possible, where each die's size directly reflects upon the cost structure, hence the continued use of a 256-bit memory controller. Doing so inexorably leads to bandwidth implications that are partially offset by using the latest technology, GDDR5." --www.hexus.net

---

"So, what's going to be different with GDDR5, is it just another marketing name for some further voltage and small under the hood changes? In a word: No.

"After playing a big part in GDDR4's development in the ATI days, it's not surprising to see GDDR5 also trumpeted as largely the baby of AMD who led both the development efforts and making sure the standard was adopted by both JEDEC and memory manufacturers. GDDR5 has been in development for around four years now, with around a year of internal development at ATI followed by a three year process of working with JEDEC to bash out the specification into a ratified standard, bringing us to today and the launch of the first graphics board sporting this new memory, the Radeon HD 4870.

"If there are three words you need to take home from this particular section of today's article, they are - Bandwidth per pin. If that's too tricky to remember, then make those three words - Bandwidth, bandwidth, bandwidth. While there are myriad improvements to GDDR5 over its predecessors, the one that will send a shiver down your spine is the memory bandwidth improvements offered by the standard.

"We're all used to taking the clock speed of GDDR memory on a graphics board and doubling it to glean its effective data rate, as data is sent on both the rising and falling edge of each clock cycle. However, with GDDR5 you can calculate its effective data rate by doubling the memory's clock speed... Then doubling it again.

"How has this been achieved? Quite simply, by increasing the amount of bandwidth per pin for GDDR5, thanks largely to a quarter data rate command clock. While GDDR4 topped out at offering around 4GB/second per pin, GDDR5 should be able to scale all the way up to offering 8GB/second per pin, and in essence the use of GDDR5 on a 256-bit memory bus should offer approximately equivalent bandwidth to pairing GDDR3 with a 512-bit wide bus.

"Away from (although partly to help with the enabling of) memory bandwidth, GDDR5 also offers myriad other improvements, with particular highlights including the ability of modules to 'train' themselves adaptively to adjust timings and so on dependant on the routing and the like of the device to which it is connected. GDDR5 modules also feature error detection, and an on-chip thermal monitor to keep an eye on temperatures.

"The aforementioned 'training' capability also removes many of the difficulties regarding routing traces on the PCB between the GPU core and DRAM - As each module trains itself on boot-up and then monitors and adjusts as necessary, it is designed to handle any mismatches or oddities in the routing between devices. In short, this makes PCB design for manufacturers using GDDR5 on their graphics devices much, much easier.

"While voltages are increased from GDDR4, they still average out at around 30% lower than the voltages required for GDDR3 - For example, while a GDDR3 module with 2GB/second per pin of bandwidth requires 2 Volts, an otherwise similar GDDR5 module which offers 4GB/second per pin only requires 1.5 Volts.

"Lastly, GDDR5 supports the creation of memory modules with 16 DRAM banks, allowing for twice as much memory capacity to be squeezed onto each module in theory, which could again potentially simplify board designs.

"Whichever way you look at it, GDDR5 looks set to be a sure-fire winner as time goes on and availability becomes more commonplace, grabbing the attention of the market where GDDR4 failed." --www.elitebastards.com

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In my estimation the answer is "yes", as:
  • Neither the frame buffer nor bandwidth currently serve as a bottleneck (sometimes even at resolutions beyond 1920x1200).
  • The GDDR5 frequencies that are being exercised with the introduction of the HD 4870 are conservative. GDDR5 is stated to be able to scale to nearly twice the current frequencies, in the future.
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