Update: AMD has confirmed to us that there were some issues with the BIOS on our sample board. Rather than 2 disabled SIMD units, our review sample 4830 had 3 disabled SIMD units. AMD has assured us that no retail boards will be affected and this is only a problem that affected reference boards built as review samples. We are working on resolving the issue with our review sample and will complete updated tests as soon as we can. This will affect our performance results, but until we run the tests we can't be sure how much more performance we will get out of retail 4830 hardware.


Update 2: We have updated all the performance graphs in the article with data re-run on a card that actually has all the SIMD's available. There was a difference, but it hasn't changed the overall conclusion of the article. For more information, see our update article with details on the problem, the situation, and performance differences.

Since the launch of the RV7xx GPU, AMD has been steadily filling out a top to bottom Radeon HD 4000 series lineup. The first markets addressed were gamer centric with the 4850 and 4870. Next in line was the hardcore enthusiast class with the dual-GPU 4870 X2. Since then we've seen the 4670, the 4550 and the 4350 filling out the bottom end value and mainstream segments. But there was a bit of a performance and price gap between the 4670 and the 4850. This gap has now been filled.

Today we see the introduction of the Radeon HD 4830 which is to be priced at or below $130. This part is poised to split the difference between the 4670 and 4850, and filling in this market segment should finish rounding out AMD's line up of RV7xx based cards for now. At least we hope.

In the past both ATI and NVIDIA have flooded the market with way too many different models that overlap in price and performance in ways that just confuse their customers. While AMD has been releasing cards at a fairly steady pace, all these parts have been well positioned and have served to disseminate their new architecture. We have been really happy to see how quickly AMD has gotten their new GPU out into the world.

By now, we've covered the architecture and other versions of the hardware quite a bit. The really interesting bit about this launch is the price and the prices of competitive hardware.

All About Price and Rebates
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  • crimson117 - Tuesday, December 30, 2008 - link

    It's all relative... both are Powercolor brand...

    Best price AGP 3850: $118.24 shipped after $10 MIR.
    Best price PCIe 3850: $68.24 shipped after $10 MIR.

    So no it's not $200, but in this low-price example AGP is still a $50 price premium over PCIe.

    If current performance is acceptable, and preserving your current system is worth the price premium, then stick with AGP and delay your move to PCIe. But if you'd like to put that cash towards performance instead of legacy preservation, and don't mind spending extra time reinstalling everything, then take the plunge and upgrade your mobo and all your legacy components.

    I built a ~$800 computer for a friend in July 2006 right when the C2D came out. Because we went with the newest technology at the time (PCIe, DDR2, socket 775), he's been able to use it for 2.5 years now. He also just easily upgraded the GPU from a 7300LE to a 9800 GT for about $100 (unlike in 2006, he now likes to play PC games), and is considering moving to faster and more DDR2 ram to take advantage of the current low prices. He could also grab a new C2D if he wanted to. He's left with tons of easy upgrade options, none of which require a reinstall, even 2.5 years after it was first built, and chances are it'll last him another year or two if he wants.

    For your situation, however, considering that the Core i7 uses a new socket and a new ram type (DDR3), and there'll be no PCIe 3.0 graphics cards until at least 2010, it's a great time to bite the bullet and upgrade all your components at once, even if it means an OS reinstall today. IMHO it's okay to skip one major product cycle, but you're tying your hands too much if you try to preserve legacy components when they're two, three generations old.

    (of course, this depends on your other parts - perhaps you have all the latest stuff like DDR2 and socket 775, but just kept AGP for some reason - in that case upgrading everything is slightly less compelling).
    Reply
  • DerekWilson - Thursday, October 23, 2008 - link

    i haven't heard anything about AGP availability ... i sort of doubt it, but anything is possible. it would definitely be up to a vendor to add a bridge to the board, as this isn't likely to be something AMD will push themselves. Reply
  • chrone - Thursday, October 23, 2008 - link

    nice review Derek :) Reply
  • leexgx - Thursday, October 23, 2008 - link

    the card you got may be an card with only 540 sp (5 out of the 8 working) please run GPU-z on it and check that thay are all working or all of the results will not be correct as the powercore one that 2 other web sites have tested have come into this problem from cards from ATI test cards but not from OEM makers

    http://www.bit-tech.net/news/2008/10/23/amd-introd...">http://www.bit-tech.net/news/2008/10/23...roduces-...
    Reply
  • Spoelie - Friday, October 24, 2008 - link

    http://www.techpowerup.com/articles/other/155">http://www.techpowerup.com/articles/other/155 is linked in there with a better explanation.

    Apparently there's a bios fix.

    Any word on what version AT used?
    Reply
  • leexgx - Friday, October 24, 2008 - link

    note has been added

    as there is likey to be an 4810 or something like that can you just add the results to the charts (like all the other sites have) of the fixed bios or an retail card that does not have this problem

    not sure what about the comments tho on each page as the card is going to operate an bit faster and is going to move the card up the chart an bit
    Reply

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