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


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


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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  • strikeback03 - Thursday, September 11, 2008 - link

    Plus, there is the fact that CRTs blurred everything. The LCD image is so much sharper (at native resolution) that jaggies are much more apparent.
  • razor2025 - Wednesday, September 10, 2008 - link

    4670 looks to be a great low-mid range card. I've been wanting to get a slimline PC, but the current choices in low-profile GPUs are still lacking. Sure there's the 9600GT low-profile, but that requires 400watt PSU and it's already a hot card in full-length form. If there's a 4670 low-profile, I'd buy it in a heartbeat as long as they keep it under $80.

    As for the review itself, it was terribly written. AT articles seems to be on a decline in recent times. Horrible graph choices and questionable writings. Also, a entire page dedicated to talking about a competitor's product. How low can we go AT? Oh and when can we have a decent motherboard roundup? You know, the one that was promised since last summer (when 690G came out)?
  • Pale Rider - Wednesday, September 10, 2008 - link

    <<<<<< Now, if we could get a 3870 for about $100 (a 9600 GT fits the bill here, as 3870 cards can't be found for that price), >>>>>>>

    This is just flat out misleading information.
  • djfourmoney - Wednesday, September 10, 2008 - link

    Okay honesty is the best policy time -

    When a co-worker wanted to purchase a new PC, he consulted me. I told him to "future proof" himself and get a Quad Core. Being a parent of 2 children and the only one working in the household, he can't afford to upgrade every 2-3 years like hardcore gamers, power users, overclockers.

    Now its your typical $900-1000 Dell and of course he could have gotten equal performance for much less if he DIY'ed it. Let's be honest people, when you consider there's still an intimidation factor with any electronics let alone PC's which seem to crash on their own (of course that's not always true either) you can understand that most people value pre-builts and being able to call up Dell tech support if something happens.

    At least when benchmarking, they should use not only the most powerful system they can find, but use one that a typical end-user would have and that's slow speed dual cores and even late of era single core CPU's like the Pent D and AMD 64's.

    I bought my Dell back in 2003, I didn't build a new system until I found I couldn't get more out of my old system, that was about 8 months ago (2008). So five years between systems and if wanted to watch HD content the regular way, my old Dell was just fine the way it was and did play HD@720p without issue.

    This new system is middle of the road in terms of power and crushes most PC's between $600-700 available from HP/Compaq or Dell (3.1Ghz 5000+ BE).

    My point is, that most people don't have PC's with $200-$1200 GPU's and couldn't fathom spending $500 for a video card, not even $200, $100 is the threshold for most people and that's pushing it, only 20somethings and teens would even think its "reasonable" for gaming performance to spend $100 on a card.

    I'll go ahead and do what all these other sites aren't doing, I'll give you a user review of the HD 4670 on a basic system (Dell 530) on a 19" LCD, depends when I get one. Currently only New Egg has it and I won't be able to order until Friday.

    If you have a modern CPU, with only a 128-bit bus, I doubt an older dual core or even a single core would bottleneck performance. It really depends on what games you play. FPS are more GPU dependent than CPU. Racing games because of physics and AI tend to use a fair amount of CPU power, which is why GRID recommends 3.0Gz single cores but on Bit Tech they tried it with both a single core and dual core and it clearly ran faster with a dual core CPU.

  • tacoburrito - Wednesday, September 10, 2008 - link

    Seriously, does people really expect a $79 card to perform anywhere near the level of a $180 card, i.e. the 4850? AMD would be stupid to do that. If that happens, who would want to buy the 4850 or 4870? AMD crippled the 4670's performance for a reason, i.e. not to cannabalize the sales of its higher end cards.
  • The0ne - Wednesday, September 10, 2008 - link

    This article could be one that girls/women would avoid. Just seeing the term "epic fail" is already a turn off for me. Just seem so childish and in the same terminology I guess, childish for a review.
  • Laura Wilson - Wednesday, September 10, 2008 - link

    ok i'm a girl/woman and my favorite part of this article was the term "epic fail," but perhaps i'm stunted in my fifth grade humor...
  • Pale Rider - Wednesday, September 10, 2008 - link

    I agree. What are we in the 5th grade? I bet the neffers in OT love it.
  • Pale Rider - Wednesday, September 10, 2008 - link

    Once again AT has an ATI review that has an entire page reserved for nVidia product information. Every ATi review we get from AT seems to have an entire page dedicated to nVidia products. Funny how the nVidia reviews NEVER have entire pages dedicated to ATi products.
  • KikassAssassin - Thursday, September 11, 2008 - link

    That's because with every ATI release, nVidia scrambles to put out a new (usually re-hashed) part as an answer to ATI's new product, so the review sites naturally compare the two cards together. ATI doesn't have OCD about putting out a direct answer to every single product their competitor releases like nVidia does, so review articles on nVidia products don't usually have anything new from ATI to talk about.

    You can't blame the review sites for this one. They're just reporting on what the companies are doing. Instead, blame nVidia for saturating the market with a ridiculous number of redundant products.

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