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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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Testbed

Motherboard: MSI P45D3 Platinum ( Provided by: MSI );
Processor: Intel Core 2 QX9770 Extreme edition at 3.6GHz ( Provided by: Intel );
Memory: Corsair Dominator 12800 7-7-7-24 ( Provided by: Corsair);
HDD: WD VelociRaptor 300G 10,000RPM ( Provided by: SmoothCreation );

Nvidia 180.48_geforce_winvista_32bit_english_whql
ATI CCC 8.12

Gainward HD 4830 runs at reference 575MHz for the core and 900MHz for the memory. The card features a large cooler that runs like a charm, so we had no problem in overclocking the core all the way up to 700MHz. Since we recently reviewed MSI’s HD 4830 that runs at 585MHz core and 900MHz for the memory, we included those results, too. We also overclocked the MSI card to 700MHz core and 1000MHz memory, so that it matches Gainward’s HD 4830 speeds, and those results were included, also.

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Vantage doesn’t report any significant difference between HD 4830 cards at 575MHz. Overclocking Gainward’s card results in 20% better result than reference HD 4830 and 2% better result than overclocked MSI card. Geforce 9800 GT lags behind the overclocked Gainward HD 4830 by 11%, but beats the reference HD 4830 by 7%.

Gaming

Far Cry 2

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At maximum settings, Far Cry 2 is playable with all the tested graphics cards. Gainward’s HD 4830 fared the best in this test, and we see that overclocking resulted in 18% better performance compared to reference HD 4830.

World in Conflict

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The highest advantage over the reference card is 23%, and we measured it after overclocking the Gainward HD 4830 at 1280x1024 with AA. We see that 1680x1050 resolution is playable without overclocking, but higher resolutions with antialiasing on are simply too much for this card.

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Conclusion

Gainward HD 4830 is another non-reference card, characterized by a large dual-slot cooler. The cooler does a great job and keeps the small 55nm core temperatures at about 50°C, which is 30°C cooler than the reference card with single-slot cooling. Although it does a great job of cooling, we can’t say that it’s very quiet, as noise levels are about the same as with reference cooling. By moving the power components to the unused part of the PCB, Gainward cut the length of the card from reference 23cm to 19cm.

The core runs at reference 575MHz and the memory at 900MHz. It’s a well known fact that HD 4830 is a nice overclocker and we had no trouble pushing it up to 700MHz for the core and 1000MHz for the memory. Core temperatures went up by only 4°C, which is still 29°C less than on the reference 575MHz card.

Gainward HD 4830 will provide some nice gaming potential, but don’t expect to be gaming at extra-high resolutions with filters on. If you’re on the prowl for a sub-€100 card, we sincerely recommend it.


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Last modified on Monday, 05 January 2009 04:13
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