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Friday, 02 January 2009 14:12

Gainward Radeon HD 4830 tested

Written by Sanjin Rados


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Review: Dual-slot cooling keeps the core 30°C cooler

 

We’re no strangers to the HD 4830, as we’ve tested a couple of them so far, and it’s evident that this card offers great bang for your buck. It’s more than enough for less-demanding weekend gamers, as it will enable pleasant gaming on lower resolutions. It’s currently priced at around €90, which is less than HD 4850 and slightly more than 4670, so it fills this performance gap quite nicely.

The card is based on RV770 graphics processor, the one you’ll see on models from HD 4850 all the way up to HD 4870 X2. It’s a common practice to cripple the chip for use on weaker cards, so HD 4830 features 640 stream processors. Although 640 stream processors doesn’t sound like much after considering that RV770 features 800 stream processors, bear in mind that it’s still 2x more than ATI’s last year’s top card HD 3870.

The HD 4830’s core runs at 575MHz with the memory running at 900MHz. Our today’s card, Gainward HD 4830 kept the reference speeds, so no surprises there.

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The card features a large cooler with the fan in the middle. Unlike the reference single-slot card, Gainward HD 4830 takes up two slots. Gainward also moved the power components to the unused area of the PCB, toward the DVI outs, so the printed board is shorter than the reference one. We see that two phases are used for the GPU and one for the memory. 

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HD 4830 is 19cm long, whereas the reference HD 4830 is a bit more than 23cm. Although reference cooling is good and gets the job done, Gainward still ended up using the aforementioned dual-slot cooling with a 6,8cm fan. It’s a bit louder than the reference single-slot solution, but it does a much better job of cooling. Of course, you can use the Catalyst Control Center to control the fan’s RPM, but even at minimum 20%, it’s still as loud as the reference cooler.

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Our results show that Gainward’s cooler does a much better job - 30 C° less when the core is under a workload. Overclocking the core from 575MHz to 700MHz didn’t affect the temperatures much.

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The memory chips aren't in direct contact with the cooler, but we still managed to overclock the memory from 900MHz to 1000Mhz. This is a great result, since this Hynix's memory is rated at 900MHz.

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Gainward HD 4830 features standard 512MB of GDDR3 memory, divided into eight memory chips. Memory interface is 256-bit, which coupled with 900MHz results in 57.6GB/s bandwidth.

Powering is done via one 6-pin PCI-Express power connector placed at the end of the card, in the upper corner.

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The other side of the card houses two dual-link DVI outs with HDMI support, but HDMI support will require a DVI-to-HDMI dongle, which Gainward unfortunately didn’t bundle with the card, so you’ll have to purchase it separately. Between the two DVI outs, you’ll find the analog out for S-video, component and composite out via the dongle.

Two Crossfire interconnectors enable Crossfire setups of two HD 4830 or CrossFireX with 4 cards.

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Note that the latest version of Catalyst Control Center comes with the Avivo converter. This converter is a useful tool for video format conversion, and it mainly relies on the GPU for power. Its main advantage compared to other video converters is speed, as other converters need the CPU for those purposes. Avivo runs on HD 4800 and HD 4600 cards and will free up the CPU during conversion.

For this card, Gainward used the same packaging seen on Gainward HD 4850. We might not have mentioned this, but looks-wise, HD 4850 and HD 4830 are almost identical. Both cards use the same single-slot cooling and the same-sized and colored PCB.

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Last modified on Monday, 05 January 2009 04:13
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