MSI HD 4870 ‘’b’’While most MSI Radeon HD 4870s use the stock design, the manufacturer has just introduced its own variant. Unfortunately it hasn’t changed the name of the product and this makes it difficult to know which model is on sale in any given shop. The new card has the same clocks as the stock card: 750 MHz for core and 900 MHz for memory. It is available in 2 versions:
R4870 512 MB: €230
R4870 1 GB: €240
The prices given here are the prices of the classic versions. They should be the same for this new model. We tested the 512 MB version.
For this R4870, MSI has developed a new PCB and has opted for a different cooling system. This one is made up of an aluminium heatsink connected to a copper base via 4 copper heatpipes. There is a fan in the middle of the heatsink and a metal casing to cover it all. Given that only the GPU is in contact, a second small aluminium heatsink has been placed on the components at power supply level.
The card takes up 2 slots but the heatpipes are positioned near the bottom which means they don’t stick out over the top of the card, which therefore remains relatively compact. There is nothing to strengthen the card.
MSI delivers its card with 2 small manuals, a CD for the pilots and utilities, an adaptor cable for the TV S-Video outs, a cable for the analogue HDTV out, a DVI to VGA adaptor, a DVI to HDMI adaptor, a CrossFire connector and a double molex to 6-Pin PCI Express power supply connector cable.
The card has a 2-year guarantee.
Graphics card at rest.
Graphics card in load.
System at rest.
System in load.
The MSI Radeon HD 4870 is relatively hot at rest. It is also hot in load but the power supply zone remains at a very reasonable temperature.
Temperature and noise readings
The readings show that MSI’s own R4870 is one of the least cooled cards. Although the card does expel hot air from the PC, most is directed inside, which makes other components heat up. As far as noise levels go, the card is silent at rest but becomes quite noisy in load.
With its own R4870, MSI has not really improved on the stock card. True the GPU is a little better cooled, but at the cost of a fair amount of noise pollution and in fact in terms of the cooling of the rest of the PC, the situation is worse because most of the hot air is not expelled outside. We therefore prefer the stock model.