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AMD ATI Radeon HD 4770 review

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Summary

Our Score:

8

The £200-£250 price range for graphics cards has been really exciting as of late with both the ATI HD 4890 and the nVidia GTX 275 providing oodles of performance for a great price. However, there's no denying it, £200+ is still a huge amount to spend on a graphics card - especially when you can get an entire games console for that sort of money. So, if you only occasionally use your PC for gaming, have a small monitor, or just generally are a bit strapped for cash, the price ceiling is more like £100. In which case a prime candidate for your money should be this new card from ATI.

The HD4770 is built around the RV740 GPU, which is the world's first graphics chip to be built on a 40nm process, whereas most other cards from both ATI and nVidia currently use a 55nm process. This smaller manufacturing process makes for smaller transistors, meaning more can be fit into the same size piece of silicon. In the case of the RV740 it has 826million in a piece of silicon only 143mm^2. In contrast, the RV770 (as used by the HD4870 and HD 4850) uses the 55nm process and contains 965million transistors. The resultant slab of silicon is 267mm^2 - quite some difference, I'm sure you'd agree.

In terms of features, the HD4770 is based on the same architecture as the HD48x0 series, but with tweaks here and there to the amount it has of each constituent part. Namely, there are 128 five-way superscalar shader units that make for a total of 640 stream processors (twice that of the HD46x0 series and somewhat less than the 800 of the HD48x00 series) and 32 texture units. Accompanying these are 8 ROPs that use a 128-bit interface to talk to 512MB super fast GDDR5 memory. So, essentially, the HD4770, has nabbed a little bit from both the HD48x0 series and HD46x0 series and ATI has both priced and named the part accordingly - an observation that sounds obvious but, in the world of computer-part naming conventions, is something of a rarity.

Considering the basic architecture of the HD4770 is stuff we've covered before, we'll keep our discussion of the technicalities to a minimum (check out our in-depth study of the 4xx0 series architecture if you'd like to learn more) and actually let our test results do the talking with regards performance.

supersizeme

May 1, 2009, 3:01 am

I am surprised at 8/10, I mean this card is considerably faster and cheaper than the 9800GT. I am so glad that AMD/ATI are posing a good challange to Nvidia in arguably the most popular price range 㿨-㿼

Bill Broadley

May 1, 2009, 4:56 am

Very frustrating. The review is for a card that sounds great, especially in the quiet department, "on the whole this card was incredibly quiet with it being whisper quiet when idling and for most of the time when under load as well". It *GASP*, actually improves the cooling in a system by sucking air through the GPU and pumping it out the back. Alas this isn't the card you can buy, the ones available for sale seem to have a radically poorer cooler design. Just a fan, in most cases the heat is circulated in a small area blocked on 5 sides by the case bottom, case back, motherboard, case side, and of course the GPU itself.





So while the reviewed card should make it relatively easy to have a silent desktop, the cards you can actually buy are likely to be much worse. I'd hope that in the future that trusted reviews would review video cards we can actually buy. I see 8 vendors or so in stock at newegg, none like the reviewed card.

Kinn

May 1, 2009, 6:37 am

Shame about the fan noise. Been looking to get a quiet card for the media center.





Would be great if you guys did a roundup of some quiet/fanless cards.

anshul

May 13, 2009, 3:05 pm

i have a pentiumD 820 can i even get 60-70% performance as most games are gpu dependent.i am quite satisfied running games at 1280X720

Jens Kjærsgaard

July 17, 2009, 8:20 pm

If noice is an issue - use passive coled graphics cards.


I use ASUS - and play fps-games (Bioshock, GTA4, Battlefiels etc.) with no problems...


Inspiration:


http://www.endpcnoise.com/cgi-...


http://www.silentpcreview.com/...





Regards Jens Kjærsgaard

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