I've been buying Nvidia since .. OMG, the original Nvidia Riva TNT back when everyone was rocking a 3Dfx !! My only attempt to venture over to camp Red was on my last build when I bought one of the highly sought after Sapphire Toxic 6950s that unlocked to a 6970. What did I get for that ? A DOA card that was back-ordered at Newegg by at least two weeks. I threw in the towel and bought a GTX580 and never looked back.
I still would like to give ATI/AMD a try, and always wanted to grab one for cheap and toss it in a rig. Unfortunately the Bit/Litecoin craze has seen these cards skyrocket in retail price, so I gave up and awaited the inevitable 'Coin crash that would free up thousands of these cards on the market. I have long lusted after the 48x0x2s, and saw them selling on Ebay for more than anyone should pay for one. They are notorious for overheating, and any buyer needs to be aware of this and deal with it.
So I was in a project mood, scouring the FS/FT forums and happened upon a Diamond 4870X2 selling for all of $40, advertised 'as-is' and appeared to work fine in Windows, but would glitch and overheat in games. I could tell it needed a good cleaning, so I took a chance on it. It showed up today and I gave it a good cleaning but didn't bother to deal with replacing the TIM yet, just blowing dust out of the fans.
Out went the BFG GTX280 OC card, a card that scored a solid 7.3 on Windows 7's WEI performance score.
In went the 4870X2:
The Hell is that all about ?? It scored LOWER than the 280 ??!! A quick Google search shows that Windows WEI score does NOT recognize a second GPU (just like it won't recognize a second RAID'ed HDD) and that 7.1 score is the same score a single 4870 scores. Test it with games and it comes alive and shows it was a worthwhile upgrade.
The temps at idle were at 89-90° ... oh well, no surprise, I knew that going in. These things are ovens !!
The later AMD Catalyst utilities allows you to manually adjust the fan speed, so I installed that and bumped the fans from their default of 40% to a higher 60%. Temps dropped like a rock, all the way down to 56°, but fan noise was noticeable now. I settled on 55% and it is a nice balance of low temps and bearable fan noise. With the side panel back on, its no louder than any higher end card I've owned.
I wanted to use this card on my Win 8.1 preview rig, but its poor Apevia 650w PSU (remember that thing, KP ??) broke down in tears when I showed it the video card. It didn't have an 8 pin PSU power cable to bring the beast to life.