Radeon HD 4890 review | test
Posted by Hilbert Hagedoorn on: 04/01/2009 01:00 PM [ 0 comment(s) ]
So guys, there you have it. For this conclusion there are two things I'd like to focus on. See, the interesting thing is this: my first remark will not be about the Radeon HD 4890 at all.
The introduction of the Radeon HD 4890 has a very positive side-effect on another product. The Radeon HD 4870 armed with 1024MB of graphics memory has been repositioned at a pretty sweet 199 USD price level. Let's face reality here, that product really is not that far off the Radeon HD 4890 in terms of performance and features. So what I like to have you guys keep in mind is that the Radeon HD 4870 1024MB can be purchased for 199 USD, perhaps even lower. You have no idea how much value you are getting there really.
So when you look at it from that point of view, it is a little bit more difficult to really recommend the Radeon HD 4890, as it will be priced 70 USD more expensive at 269 USD. In EUR we can expect a pricetag of roughly sub-250 EUR. All in all, these are fair prices considering we are playing with high-end performance level cards.
What caught me off-guard while re-testing all benchmarks for all cards is the amount of driver optimizations we noticed. Ever since Catalyst 9.1 was released the bigger titles absolutely show large gains in overall performance, COD5 and Crysis WarHEAD are proof of that pudding where we noticed 20% performance increases compared to January/December drivers.
Also, some icing on top of the cake is the Radeon HD 4890's tweakability. Looking at the GPU clock frequency, 850, 900, 950 perhaps even 1000 MHz on the core GPU clock is a possibility. It's exactly there where the product really starts to shine. The same can be said about the GDDR5 clock frequency, it's very tweakable and can be clocked a vast amount higher. If you clock it at 950 MHz on the core and 4400~4600 Mhz on the memory, the card will surpass GeForce GTX 285 performance.
With all the tweakage in mind, the Radeon HD 4890 will be a bit of a niche product for the really enthusiast gamers out there who just like to overclock and tweak a little. Well, since you are reading this article on Guru3D, that's pretty much means all of you hehe :)
So let's wrap things up here. Overall I do not find the release of the Radeon HD 4890 to be tremendously jawbreaking over the Radeon HD 4870 1024MB, but it does offer a much welcomed performance increase. Once you start to tweak a little you'll be surprised by the sheer amount of headroom though.
The card at reference clocks viciously takes the 219 USD ~ 190 EUR GeForce GTX 260 as prisoner, even the SP216 model is no match whatsoever. All thanks to the faster clocks the 4890 offers, yet also to a tremendous heap of performance increases to be found in the latest Catalyst drivers.
Of course NVIDIA will react equally and responsively with another product as well. It is called the GeForce GTX 275, and expect a review on that card head to head with the Radeon HD 4890 today (update - check that article here).
While I feel the Radeon HD 4890 is a classy product, I would like to see the price go down a little bit more. The reference clocked version will cost 269 USD, we expect the OC edition to be 10~20 USD more expensive. But heck, the Radeon HD 4890 surely is an exciting product, it is feature packed and is just oozing nice game performance. As such we can highly recommend it. I for one can't wait to see AIC/AIB partners release different configurations, with custom coolers and even more extreme overclocked models.
Actually, right now the first cards have popped up in some EU shops at 219~239 EUR. That's a kick'ass price.
I say dump the darn consoles, power to PC gaming!
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