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Monday, 06 April 2009 11:44

Sapphire's HD 4670 with GDDR4 tested

Written by Slobodan Simic

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Review: GDDR4 and non-reference cooler do the job


Sapphire is well known for its non-reference cards, and today we have a chance to check out Sapphire’s HD 4670 with GDDR4 memory and non-reference dual-slot cooler. We were quite surprised by the price tag of this card as it is close to the price of the Sapphire's reference card and for few euros more you get an overclocked, non-reference cooled card with GDDR4 memory.

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ATI’s HD 4670 has received a lot of attention as this mid-range card managed to beat Nvidia’s 9500GT GDDR3 card in every test. Unfortunately, even today, the HD 4670 is about €20 more expensive than the lowest priced 9500GT, but it justifies its price with its performance.

As we compared it to the 9500GT card before, today we will put it up against some more expensive cards, for example the BFG’s Overclocked 9600GT and Club3D’s non-reference dual slot HD 4670 with GDDR3 memory. Unlike some of these cards, the HD 4670 doesn’t need an additional power connector and is much shorter.

The card is based on 55nm core, and its main advantage is low power consumption and no need for additional power. It is a PCIe 2.0 card that has DirectX 10.1 support, thanks to a core that’s a crippled version of RV770 architecture (HD 4800 series). UVD 2 engine and Realtek’s HD Audio 7.1 (integrated into the GPU silicone) are responsible for quality HD reproduction and processing capabilities.

The Radeon HD 4670 is based on the RV730 core manufactured by TSMC in 55nm. It packs 320 stream processors, 8 ROPs and 32 texture units. We already mentioned that RV730 is a weaker and cheaper version of RV770 architecture, and although it’s cooler, it’s nowhere near as powerful. As far as Radeon HD 4670’s features go, you’ll find that they’re identical to those of much pricier HD 4800 generation. Even with filters on, you should still be able to play games at 1280x1024, and maybe even higher but with filters off, of course. Just like the rest of HD 4xxx series, this card supports CrossFireX multi-GPU technology.

Sapphire has decided to change the card a bit and make it even better. Unlike the reference card that comes with GDDR3 memory and single slot cooler, Sapphire has decided to go for higher clocked GDDR4 memory and dual-slot non-reference cooler. Sapphire has also used its own blue PCB, and has changed some minor layout things. The cooler takes up two slots and has a large 92mm fan.

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As you can see from the picture, Sapphire has decided to cool the memory as well by placing small heatsinks. Unfortunately, two memory chips that are located underneath the GPU heatsink are not in direct contact with it so they are cooled only by the air that the fan produces.

The back side has nothing important, except for four memory chips with heatsinks.

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Best of all, the card has very low energy consumption, which is evident from the lack of an external power connector. So, PCIe slot power will be enough, as the card doesn’t draw more than 75W while under full throttle.

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The core of this card works at reference 750MHz, it has 320 stream processors and the mentioned 512MB of GDDR4 memory works at 1,100 MHz (2,200MHz effective). It’s important to note that HD 4670 comes with a 128-bit memory bus.

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The I/O backplate is also changed as this card features D-Sub, DVI and an HDMI output.

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The non-reference cooler that Sapphire has decided to use on this card was a pleasant surprise, as it is almost silent even when manually pushed to spin at 100%. In idle mode the fan spins at 34% and under load it only spins up to 47% when the card goes over 60°C, which we haven’t managed to do without overclocking, but we will get to that a bit later.

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As you can see from the results the card heats up to 35°C in idle and up to 58°C under load when the fan is set to spin at auto settings. When manually pushed to spin at 100% the cards temps drop down to 33°C in idle and 50°C under load. We must note again that even at 100% the fan is less noisy than some case fans and the CPU cooler fan that we had in our system.

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Our test sample was packed in a lite retail box, so the box is a rather small and modest, while the bundle only includes a driver CD, small Sapphire sticker and the manual.

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Last modified on Monday, 06 April 2009 13:35
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