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Thursday, 02 April 2009 22:27

Sapphire and HIS Radeon HD 4890 under the glass - 3. Benchmarking and Conclusion

Written by Sanjin Rados


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Review: Just short of 1000MHz


Benchmarking

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 );

Today we can see how the HD 4890 fares against the HD 4870, but also against the GTX 260. We included one of the fastest GTX 260 cards into our charts, Gainward's GTX 260 GLH (650 GPU / 1100MHz memory), and in many tests it was faster than AMD's new card, but the GHL is also pricier.

 

3DMark06

3D Mark06 sees the Sapphire snatching a nice start by beating the HD 4870 1GB by about 7% and the GTX 260 by 3%. HIS' overclocked card does a better job, but neither it nor Sapphire managed to beat Gainward's GLH card.

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3DMark Vantage reports the HD 4890 1GB to be faster than the HD 4870 1GB by 10-13% in average. Gainward's GLH is constantly on top, beating both HIS' overclocked and Sapphire's card at extreme settings by 8% and 4% respectively.

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FarCry 2

FarCry 2 is a game you could easily consider being a card-rapist, but nevertheless the HD4890 fares great. It leaves the GTX 260 Core 216 in the dust at every single resolution, the highest advantage being at 1920x1200 where the GTX 260 Core 216 loses by as much as 20%.

Gainward's overclocked GTX 260 GLH however has proven to be a tough cookie and the cards ended up exchanging lead positions, but note that Gainward's card usually came out on top in 4xAA and Game AF scenarios. HIS' card could be considered the winner in this test, as it kept its lead or parity with Gainward in all the tests but 1680x1050 4xAA Game AF and 2560x1600 4xAA Game AF.

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Left4Dead

It seems like Left 4 Dead has developed a taste for AMD's cards, as it beats the reference GTX 260 Core216 card at all the resolutions. We also see it beating Gainward's GLH card up until the high 2560x1600 resolution.

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HD 4890 is faster than the GTX 260 Core216 by 10-20% in average and it seems like ATI has hit a jackpot. HIS' card outran its non-overclocked sibling by 1-4% in average.

World in Conflict

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Power Consumption


Although AMD has reduced idle power consumption, the GTX 260 is still more power efficient. As we already said, the fact that the HD 4890 keeps its memory clocked at 975MHz at all times is partly to blame. The GPU, on the other hand, drops from 850MHz to 240MHz.

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Overclocking

AMD was mentioning the card being capable of an overclock to as much as 1000+MHz, but our cards couldn’t manage that.

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Unfortunately, we only had enough time to push Sapphire’s card to stable 960MHz core and 1100MHz memory, but you can read more on our overclocking in our following review, where we’ll include results scored by XFX HD 4890 900M XXX, which runs at 900MHz for the core.

Overclocking the core to 960MHz and the memory to 1100MHz (4400MHz effective), increases the lead to 17 percent.


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Conclusion

The new Radeon HD 4890 looks much like its older brother the HD 4870, but it runs faster and consumes less power in idle mode. It’s surprisingly good in overclocking but even without it it still runs 100MHz faster than the HD 4870. The memory on the reference cards runs at 975MHz (3900MHz effectively) but it stays at same clocks in idle mode, which can’t be good for consumption. Still, AMD managed to get the HD 4890 to consume less in idle mode, to 60W according to the spec.

The card packs 1024MB of GDDR5 memory, helping it in scoring good results at higher resolutions. We’ve measured more than 12% higher results compared to the HD 4870 1GB card, but the price premium you’ll have to pay for the 12% better performance might not be adequate for everyone. Namely, the card costs €60 more than the HD 4870, but if the price gets any lower then this should be considered as a great gaming card. You have to have in mind that price will go down with the time, and as GTX 275 will be a fearsome competition we are sure that this will happen sooner, rather than later. 

Its overclocking potential is something that should definitely be utilized, and although this card packs a fine share of potential, you should be careful as it of course isn’t covered by the warranty. Close to 1000MHz should be possible but you can definitely expect 900+. If you are ATI man and you want the fastest single card, this is an answer to your prayers and if you care about the price, there is plenty of cheaper one to chose from.






(Page 3 of 3)
Last modified on Saturday, 04 April 2009 00:59
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