So here is where we check out the goods from MSI with their Radeon HD 4890 Cyclone SOC edition. We've just discussed what the reference product is all about and what its features are. But the MSI Radeon HD 4890 Cyclone SOC has a few additional tricks up its sleeve.
MSI will release the Cyclone series 4890 graphics cards in three models:
We'll be testing the SOC SKU with the 1 GHz core frequency, and well .. that is straight up our alley. Several improvements have been made to the board design. You'll of course notice the huge phat heatpipe based cooler, this cooler is called the Cyclone. The design incorporates no less than four heatpipes with a thermally controlled (PWM) 10CM fan. Two of the heatpipes are actually 8mm thick (!).
As such the performance of the cooler, especially on the 850 and 880 MHz SKUs is really good. On the SOC edition we're testing, the GPU voltage had to be increased and we have the product clocked at 1 GHz, but the temperatures are pretty darn good with this cooler. More on that later though.
Overall PCB / board design has been changed a little as well. It's good to see all companies jump on product lifespan a lot and as such we see the components usage shifting from cheap, towards quality. This is not different on the Cyclone series cards as they come with :
Hi-c CAP (High conductive capacitors) for better GPU stability & overclocking ability. These puppies have 15x less leakage than your average capacitors.
Solid Chokes - This I really want to see on any card. you guys probably heard your graphics card making a Buzz noise while gaming right ? Especially NVIDIA cards have this caveat a lot. By using Solid Chokes not only you prevent that issue from happening, it will also get you some better protection and sure ... it helps a little with overclocking as well.
Solid Capacitors - New improved quality solid capacitors are used for a longer lifespan, these new caps according to MSI can last 10 years under continued full load usage at 80 degrees C. Yeah, that's ten years 24 hrs/day continued hefty gaming.
Now, if we go all the way back to the Radeon HD 4870 with the same features and nearly identical chipset... this MSI Radeon HD 4890 Cyclone SOC is clocked 250 MHz faster. In GPU land that is a heck of a lot you guys.
The memory clock then, the original Radeon HD 4870 was clocked at 3600 MHz effective (3600/4= 900 MHz). The reference Radeon HD 4890 has that same memory clocked at 3900 MHz, and this MSI SOC card comes with a memory clock of 4000 MHz (effective). Again, really impressive stuff. At this rate we'll be hitting 5 GHz memory at the beginning of next year.
Connectivity wise we see a luxurious three connectors. We spot the old Sub-D (analog VGA) connector, the dual-link DVI connector and also a HDMI connector. That's just lovely.
All in all these facts combined bring a lot more features and performance to an already nice and fast product series. Below you can see that progression when you compare the different models a little.
ATI Radeon HD 4870
ATI Radeon HD 4890
MSI HD 4890 Cyclone SOC
# of transistors
Stream Processing Units
850 (and higher)
3600 MHz (effective)
3900 MHz (effective)
4000 MHz (effective)
Math processing rate (Multiply Add)
Memory & type
Power Consumption (peak)
Power Consumption (Idle)
So this is most definitely an interesting product series. With the RV790 ASIC ATI was also able to bring down heat levels at IDLE, and as a positive side effect was able to bring down power consumption another 30 Watts as well.
Package and bundle: unfortunately we do not have that info available just yet. We were sent an early sample and within the next week or so, the boxing and bundle will be ready.
This product (Cyclone SOC version) can be spotted for roughly 239~249 USD, and for the EU you can expect something in the 210~225 EUR price range. That is a little higher than the 'regular' model of the card, but remember what you receive in return for that; an awesome cooler and way more performance.
MSI gives you a two year warranty on their products. This warranty is applicable to the first buyer of the product, warranty has to be carried out by the dealer/reseller as well (carry-in).
But let's have a look at the product and then start up some preliminary tests on heat levels, power consumption and overall noise (sound pressure).
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