When AMD released its Radeon HD 4870 and 4850 the price/performance advantage over NVIDIA at the time was so great that we wondered if it would extend to other GPUs based on the same architecture. Inevitably AMD would offer cost reduced versions of the 4800 series and today we're seeing the first example of that; meet the RV730 XT, otherwise known as the Radeon HD 4670:

The Radeon HD 4670 is priced at $79, which in the past hasn't really gotten you a very good gaming experience regardless of who made the chip. Today's launch is pretty interesting because the 4670 has the same number of stream processors as the Radeon HD 3870 (320), which at the time of its launch was reasonably competitive in the $180 - $200 range. Let's have a closer look at the 4670's specs:

  ATI Radeon HD 4870 ATI Radeon HD 4850 ATI Radeon HD 4670 ATI Radeon HD 4650 ATI Radeon HD 3870
Stream Processors 800 800 320 320 320
Texture Units 40 40 32 32 16
ROPs 16 16 8 8 16
Core Clock 750MHz 625MHz 750MHz 600MHz 775MHz+
Memory Clock 900MHz (3600MHz data rate) GDDR5 993MHz (1986MHz data rate) GDDR3

1000MHz (2000MHz data rate) GDDR3

or

900MHz (1800MHz data rate) DDR3

500MHz (1000MHz data rate) DDR2 1125MHz (2250MHz data rate) GDDR3
Memory Bus Width 256-bit 256-bit 128-bit 128-bit 256-bit
Frame Buffer 512MB 512MB 512MB GDDR3 or 1GB DDR3 512MB 512MB
Transistor Count 956M 956M 514M 514M 666M
Die Size 260 mm2 260 mm2 146 mm2 146 mm2 190 mm2
Manufacturing Process TSMC 55nm TSMC 55nm TSMC 55nm TSMC 55nm TSMC 55nm
MSRP Price Point $299 $199 $79 $69 $199
Current Street Price $270 $170 $80 N/A
$110

 

Clock speeds are a bit lower and we've got much less memory bandwidth, but the hardware has some advantages. The RV730 XT is a derivative of the GPU in the 4800 series cards, and it carries over some of the benefits we saw inherent in the architecture changes. Of these, antialiasing saw a major benefit, but we also see changes like increases in cache sizes, texturing power, and z/stencil ability. We won't see performance on par with the 3870 in general, but the 4670 will do some damage in certain situations, especially if AA comes into play.

AMD is also announcing (but we're not testing) the Radeon HD 4650 running at a meager 600MHz and using 500MHz DDR2 memory. The 4650 will chop another $10 off the 4670's pricetag.

AMD lists board power of the 4670 and 4650 at 59W and 48W respectively and obviously they're single slot (with no PCIe power required). To make things better, both of them include the same 8-channel LPCM support for HDMI from the 4800 series. We're waiting to sort out some issues with HDCP and our latest test version of PowerDVD Ultra before confirming the support, but we know first hand that it works on the 4800 series and we see no reason that it wouldn't on the 4600 series.

We are quite happy to see AMD pushing it's latest generation technology out across its entire product line. It's great to see new parts making their way into the market rather than a bunch of old cards with slight tweaks and new names. Of course, AMD is fighting back from a disadvantage, so they don't have the luxury of relying on their previous generation hardware to trickle down the same way NVIDIA can. But we certainly hope that AMD continues to follow this sort of trend, as the past couple years have been very hard on the lower end of the spectrum with a huge lag between the introduction of a new architecture and its availability in the mainstream market.

Also of interest is the fact that AMD has added support in the RV730 for 900 MHz DDR3. The move away from GDDR3 toward the currently ramping up and dropping in price system memory solution is quite cool. Let's take a look at that in a little more depth.

Non-G DDR3? Sure, Why Not
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  • Spivonious - Wednesday, September 10, 2008 - link

    The real advantage to this card over the similarly-priced 3870 is that it doesn't require any extra power connectors. I imagine it also runs much cooler, therefore not needing a loud cooling solution.

    Are there any fanless versions of this card in the works? It seems like it would be fantastic for the casual gamer who doesn't want a screaming beast of a machine.
    Reply
  • mczak - Wednesday, September 10, 2008 - link

    is obviously wrong in the chart, should be 192mm^2 or some such (118mm^2 could be the size of rv635 maybe). Reply
  • toyota - Wednesday, September 10, 2008 - link

    its 146 mm. http://www.firingsquad.com/media/article_image.asp...">http://www.firingsquad.com/media/article_image.asp... Reply
  • toyota - Wednesday, September 10, 2008 - link

    oops I think you were talking about the 3870 in that chart... Reply
  • nafhan - Wednesday, September 10, 2008 - link

    In case anyone else is curious, here's a rundown of current lowest prices (from Newegg, shipping not included):
    3650 $40
    2600XT GDDR4 $44
    9500GT $54
    9600 GSO $75
    3850 $75
    9600 GT $80
    3870 $90
    8800 GT $105
    4850 $150

    So, as long as 4670's slot in below $75 they should sell fairly well. If MSRP is $79, that shouldn't be a problem.

    Interestingly, it looks like they are starting to put 768MB of RAM on some 9600 GSO's. Not to interesting though, since that jacks it up to the price of an 8800GT...
    Reply
  • reader1 - Wednesday, September 10, 2008 - link

    I'm looking for a low power Intel C2D motherboard. What board did you use for the power consumption tests? It says an Intel G45 in the article but neither of your test bed boards are G45 boards.

    Reply
  • computerfarmer - Wednesday, September 10, 2008 - link

    Does it CrossFire?

    Good Card for the money.
    Reply
  • derek85 - Saturday, September 13, 2008 - link

    Yes it does Reply
  • npp - Wednesday, September 10, 2008 - link

    I don't care if the review is biased or not, just don't have so much time to analyze every single word or sentence and extraxt the bias towards nVidia from it... I found it useful, and the 4670 seems a very, very good card for its money - and considering the already low power consumption of the 3850, the 4670 is an instant HTPC favourite, consuming even less. By the way, I never thought of sub-100$ cards as of something more than just a IGP extension, gaming performance is by no means the decisive factor here. If it can run passively, accelerate H.264 and handle some basic graphic tasks, than it's fine for me. If you can play some games with it - you got a nice bonus. Reply
  • Gastrian - Wednesday, September 10, 2008 - link

    A few of my famlymembers and myself were looking to upgrading our PCs over the next six months so I've been keeping an eye on new hardware, especially graphic cards.

    We are only looking at budget systems and seeing the benchmarks for the 4670, especially Crysis, at that pricepoint and I was about to recommend it to my family based on the review. I re-read the article and noticed your test setup, the Q9770 alone costs almost £1000!

    I know the point of the article maybe to compare the various GPUs as fairly as possible but these aren't real world figures because I think you'd be hard pressed to find someone in the real world who will use a budget GPU with an ultra high-end CPU.

    Myself, like most sane people, would couple this GPU with an entry level Celeron, Core2 or AMD X2 CPU and these charts don't say how much real world performance I'm going to get on this card.

    While I'm not expecting to get Crysis playable on the low end I am interested in the likes of Diablo3, Starcraft2 and Dawn of War2 and am severely disappointed at the lack of RTS games in your benchmarks, especially on the mid to budget reviews as these are generally the games you'll get played on lower systems.
    Reply

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