PALIT Radeon HD 4870 512MB Sonic Dual Video Card

Having already taken a crowbar to prices like a spree-killing Yellow Man, the 4870's refresh seems overdue.

The card, stonkin' as it is, has an annoying stock heatsink and a lot of untapped overclocking potential. There's a short list of non-stock, factory-overclocked 4870s that need reviewing.

First on my list is Palit's Radeon HD 4870 Sonic Dual. With its long heatsink and large fans, not to mention namesake, the thing promises quiet, and at the flick of a switch, overclocking. Not everything stood up to scrutiny. At least it's still inexpensive.

The board layout, under the heatsink, is appropriately rearranged. The two six-pin power connections are rotated 90 degrees, pointing up from the top of the card, not away, for better airflow around the power regulation hardware, which has a small dedicated heatsink through the main heatsink. The fins of the GPU heatsink are spread widely enough that it doesn't obstruct the MOSFET heatsink's air flow.

The fans aren't identical. The Tetris-block heatsink is lifted up over the MOSFET heatsink and leaves less room for cooling; this section is cooled by a 70x10mm fan, where the GPU heatsink is cooled by an 80x20mm fan. This is an issue.

Also, the card doesn't exhaust out the back of the case; the trade-off is connectivity. In addition to the twin DVI connectors, which are HDMI-ready via adapter, there's a DisplayPort connector and an innocuous overclocking switch. It's not a cool knife-switch, which would have instantly propelled this card to Must Have status.

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