You know what, I can't help it .. but I have a sweet spot for the Radeon 4890 series of graphics cards. They just offer a lovely price versus performance ratio and a rock solid feature set. What MSI is doing with the Cyclone SOC model is however outstanding. Now judging from the overclock results we have to say this, we do not expect to see a very high volume available of these cards at all .. they really can't be pushed much further. And a carefully selected and stringently tested SKUs like these means low yields.
None the less, the card as tested functions absolutely brilliant and if you can spot it in the stores we certainly can recommend it wholeheartedly. The only slight remark I heave really is that it's not the most noise friendly card, but it certainly is at the same level or better (noise wise) than the reference cooler.
But man, a perfectly stable 1 GHz core .. that's just impressive. The end result is a product offering you incredibly good game performance. Most of the games can be played easily up-to a monitor resolution of roughly 1900x1200 -- and that's including high levels of Anti-aliasing and Anisotropic filtering. A good example is the newest title we added to the software test suite, Anno 1404 Dawn of Discovery. With 4xAA 8xAF at 1920x1200 we still push an average framerate of roughly 50 frames per second with the very best image quality settings available. And for that game, trust me when I say .. that's impressive.
What we also like is the fact that MSI is upping build quality of their products. We see quality capacitors and core chokes, using components like such improves stability and lifespan. Also the usage of solid chokes prevents your graphics card from making weird buzz noises, which at one stage we probably all experiences with a product.
So the baseline specifications and features are good, the performance is excellent, and we just definitely like the cooler compared to the reference cooler which translates into better temperatures. The looks can be discussed I agree, but look at the product as a muscle car, well let me rephrase that -- muscle card.
If you can spot the product in the stores, expect the slightly higher price level to be roughly 239-249 USD. Sure, that's more expensive but remember. A 1000 MHz core clocked product, quality components, custom cooler and though petite in the grand scale of things .. it even comes with HDMI connector.
What's not to like? If you can spend an extra few tenners ... really need I say more? Go get it...
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