Review: HDMI and DisplayPort outs
As of recently, Gigabyte's offer includes GV-R487D5-1GD, an HD 4870 card that apart from DVI connectors features both native HDMI and the new DisplayPort connector. Unlike Gigabyte’s card, that many might find much more appealing, the reference HD 4870 card features only the standard connectors – two dual link DVIs and a TV-out. The following pictures show the GV-R487D5-1GD, and the same card in the company of the reference HD 4870.
Instead of reference cooling, the GV-R487D5-1GD comes with dual-slot Zalman VF830 cooling that does a great job of cooling the RV770, but unfortunately it’s not exactly what we’d call quiet when in 2D mode. Although 3D mode results in the reference card being louder than Gigabyte’s card, our today’s guest keeps its fan at constant rpm as long as the card is running.
GV-R487D5-1GD’s PCB is painted blue, but apart from the color there’s not much difference between this one and the reference PCB. We found most changes to be made around the I/O panel where DisplayPort and HDMI connectors are now located, and Gigabyte chose to ditch the TV out. The opposite side, where the power components are located, didn’t go through any significant changes. Unlike the rest of the PCB which is quite tidy, here we see a bit of a clutter. The card is powered via two 6-pin PCI-Express power connectors, located in the upper corner.
Most of the power components feature thermal tolerance of up to 125°C, so Gigabyte only used a black passive heatsink for cooling.
GV-R487D5-1GD features 1GB/256bit high-speed GDDR5 memory that doesn’t feature any cooling besides the air from the fan. The cooler isn’t in contact with the memory but it’s close enough to keep it from overheating. Gigabyte used Qimonda’s memory codenamed IDGV1G-05A1F1C-40X, where 40X stands for data rate of 4.0 Gbps per pin. Compared to GDDR3/4 memory, GDDR5 memory offers twice the bandwidth per pin at same speeds, meaning that 512-bit GDDR3 card features the same bandwith as a 256-bit GDDR5 card, provided they’re clocked identically of course. While HD 4870 uses GDDR5 memory clocked at 900MHz and featuring 115.2GB/s bandwidth, Radeon HD 4850 with GDDR3 clocked at 933MHz will allow a bandwidth of only 63.6GB/s.
Radeon RV770 chip features almost a billion transistors (965 million, core surface 260 mm2); it’s built in 55nm process and on HD 4870 cards it features 800 shader processors. Compared to the previous HD 3800 generation, that’s 2.5x more shader processors, and the same goes for texture units as this card features 40 (16 on HD 3800). RV770 features ten SIMD clusters (Single Instruction, Multiple Data), each featuring 80 (ATI) shader processors, totaling at 800.
Although the clockes were left unchanged and the card still runs at 750MHz, additional 512MB of memory should help if you’re gaming at high resolutions (in some better programmed games) or during video editing. The memory runs at 900MHz, but due to GDDR5 memory effective speed is actually 3600MHz.
ATI Catalyst Control Center comes with integrated overclocking tool called Overdrive, but you can’t go further than 790MHz using it, which is only 40MHz more than reference. Fan control is unusable due to the fact that Gigabyte used a fan that doesn’t support rpm control, and the fan is connected to the card with only two wires. We easily overclocked the card to CCC’s maximum – 790MHz for the core and 1100MHz for the memory.
On their installation CD, Gigabyte included Gamer HUD Lite tool, which in its Lite version offers only the basic set of operations. Just like Catalyst Control Center drivers, it also featured a 790MHz limit for the core. Besides the ability to change clocks, Gamer HUD monitors core temperatures and usage levels.
Zalman’s cooling performs well keeping the GPU temperatures below 57°C in 3d and at around 37°C in idle mode. Gigabyte’s card runs on temperatures lower than on reference cards by no less than 30°C, both in operation and in idle mode.
HD 4000 cards feature newer UVD (Unified Video Decoder) 2.0 engine that enables dual-stream decoding, as well as 7.1 channel sound via HDMI. In order to enjoy HD content, both dual-link DVI outs on reference cards feature HDCP, which is the case with Gigabyte’s DVI and HDMI ports too.
Since all decoding and I/O functions are within the RV770 core, there aren’t many chips around it, and you can see the traces that lead to and from memory modules.
This PCI-Express 2.0 card features DX10.1 and shader model 4.1 support, as well as CrossFireX technology supporting up to 4 cards simultaneously (check here for compatibility). ATI’s latest toy is the Avivo converter that comes as an integral part of CCC driver. Converting your videos to other formats is really fast and simple, and the tool is free.
To see how the card did on our testing, check out the next page.