The Card and The Test

The Radeon HD 4830 reference board we tested is based on a revised design put together for this part, but AMD built this chip to be able to fit into existing 4850 board designs as well. The maximum power envelope is the same, but actual power usage will be lower. AMD has informed us that initial boards based on the 4830 will be using 4850 boards, but that down the line we should start seeing boards based on the more compact 4830 reference design.

As for how the GPU stacks up against some of the other offerings from AMD, here's a handy chart:

  ATI Radeon HD 4870 ATI Radeon HD 4850 ATI Radeon HD 4830 ATI Radeon HD 4670
Stream Processors 800 800 640 320
Texture Units 40 40 32 32
ROPs 16 16 16 8
Core Clock 750MHz 625MHz 575MHz 750MHz
Memory Clock 900MHz (3600MHz data rate) GDDR5 993MHz (1986MHz data rate) GDDR3 900MHz (1800MHz data rate) GDDR3 1000MHz (2000MHz data rate) GDDR3
Memory Bus Width 256-bit 256-bit 256-bit 128-bit
Frame Buffer 512MB/1GB 512MB 512MB 512MB
Transistor Count 956M 956M 956M 514M
Manufacturing Process TSMC 55nm TSMC 55nm TSMC 55nm TSMC 55nm

Based on the information we know about the GPU, the 4830 is clearly just an RV770 with two SIMDs disabled. While AMD does have safeguards built into their GPUs to help improve yield, nothing is perfect. There will be ICs that come off the line that simply can't function properly at the desired speed or with all the hardware enabled to make it onto a higher end card. Chip makers will save these parts and bin them for possible use in lower end products later. We also sometimes see higher end binned chips released as special editions overclocked models, so it does work both ways.

The price of the 4830 means that it will see higher volume sales than either the 4850 or the 4870. That's just how it works: more people buy cheaper parts. The interesting twist here is that the RV770 is being used in 3 different parts ranging from $130 to $300 with very little time lapse between the initial release and the current situation.

While we still would really love to see a top to bottom launch on day one of a new architecture some time, this is very impressive in it's own right. The delay between the launch of the 4870 and the 4830 is likely due to the fact that AMD needed to maintain enough supply to meet demand for it's two higher end parts while steadily building up a supply of chips for use in the 4830. As demand will be higher, stockpiling chips that can't run at 4830 specification for a few months will certainly help meet the needs of the market.

Now that we know what we're testing, let's take a look at our test platform.

Test Setup
CPU Intel Core 2 Extreme QX9770 @ 3.20GHz
Motherboard EVGA nForce 790i SLI
Video Cards ATI Radeon HD 4870
ATI Radeon HD 4850
ATI Radeon HD 4830
ATI Radeon HD 4670
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 260 core 216
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 260
NVIDIA GeForce 9800 GTX+
NVIDIA GeForce 9800 GT
Video Drivers Catalyst 8.11 Beta
ForceWare 178.24
Hard Drive Seagate 7200.9 120GB 8MB 7200RPM
RAM 4 x 1GB Corsair DDR3-1333 7-7-7-20
Operating System Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit SP1
PSU PC Power & Cooling Turbo Cool 1200W
All About Price and Rebates Age of Conan Performance
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  • bunga28 - Thursday, October 23, 2008 - link

    Great article. It's a shame for a great site such as anandtech to make grammatical mistakes and yet it made fun of product manufacturers for their mistakes in the manuals. Case in point: http://www.anandtech.com/casecoolingpsus/showdoc.a...">http://www.anandtech.com/casecoolingpsus/showdoc.a... It will probably limit the site's potential for others take it seriously, journalistically speaking, of course. Here is what I'm talking about, in one of the sentences in the 2nd page, it was written "AMD could likely have charged a lot more for their hardware at launch..." Should be "AMD could likely have charged a lot more for its hardware at launch..." I don't want to be the grammar police but this has been happening quite a bit on this site, so I want to say something. Now, we all know what you meant when we read the piece. I just think it sounds much better and we think you're probably smarter too...:) Reply
  • strikeback03 - Thursday, October 23, 2008 - link

    All that and you didn't notice the "overlocked variants" in the 4th paragraph on the second page? Reply
  • MamiyaOtaru - Thursday, October 23, 2008 - link

    You need to educate yourself about formal and notational agreement. AMD is a collective noun, a singular that refers to multiple people. As a rule in the US we go for formal agreement, and refer to AMD with singular verb forms etc, but in the UK it is common to use notational agreement and refer to such a collective noun with plural forms ("the team are ready" for example).

    Next you're going to call someone out for spelling "color" with a "u" :( :( Go back under your rock.
    Reply
  • AssBall - Thursday, October 23, 2008 - link

    If you refer to AMD as the sum of its employees, then it makes perfect sense to use their.

    You wrote:
    "It's a shame for a great site such as anandtech to make grammatical mistakes and yet it made fun of product manufacturers for their mistakes in the manuals."

    Nice run-on sentence. Go grammar police somewhere else, please.
    Reply
  • chucky2 - Thursday, October 23, 2008 - link

    With these lower binned parts, is there any word on AGP cards for those looking for a last upgrade?

    DirectX 10.1, SM 4.0, LPCM, HDMI...if a cheap solution existed it'd be a nice last upgrade to keep some older systems that are still useful current.

    Chuck
    Reply
  • Jorgisven - Thursday, October 23, 2008 - link

    Actually, the street price of AGP cards has gone up considerably, especially for the late model ones, as no one makes them anymore really. I wouldn't hold your breath on a new one coming out...ever. (This is just my opinion, but the technology is limited and dated, and there's a good reason it was dropped, not having anything to do with collusion with the mobo manufacturers.) Reply
  • LTG - Thursday, October 23, 2008 - link

    They should make this in an AGP version.

    And Intel should also make a Core i7 adapter for 486DX boards.

    This way we can get the most out of our existing hardware.
    Reply
  • chucky2 - Thursday, October 23, 2008 - link

    Your absolutely right. I should junk a completely working system that is simply lacking some technology that would be beneficial to have in the next year, which would hold people I know over for another 2-4 years, and instead blow $300 or so on a new rig that for the most part (but not completed) will do the exact same thing as the AGP system they have now does.

    Yes, that makes far more sense than buying a $50-$70 modern AGP graphics card that will get them by for the next 2-4 years without hassle.

    Chuck
    Reply
  • Spoelie - Friday, October 24, 2008 - link

    pci-e mobo $50 + fitting cpu $50 + GPU $130 = $230
    GPU $130 + bridge chip + low volume markup = $180-200 if you're lucky

    ram is more difficult story, you can go even cheaper if you keep any ddr ram and go with a second hand mobo, or take advantage of the low-low ram prices..
    Reply
  • chucky2 - Friday, October 24, 2008 - link

    NewEgg Prices Today, AGP Video Cards supporting DirectX 10.x:

    3450: $53.25 shipped
    3650: $79.00 (includes -$20 for rebate) shipped
    3650: $87.00 shipped
    3850: $118.25 (includes -10 for rebate) shipped
    3850: $138.25 shipped

    After the initial price gouging, $180-$200??? I don't think so...not after a couple months.

    NewEgg user reviews alone on these DirectX 10.x AGP cards...>600. Clearly, there's still a market - small, but a market none the less - for these cards. If not 4830, then 4350 or 4550...

    Chuck
    Reply

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