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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  • Pale Rider - Thursday, September 11, 2008 - link

    Yes I can blame them. Those nVidia products are featured in their own reviews WITHOUT ATI product information.

    nVidia has AT in their pocket.
  • whatthehey - Thursday, September 11, 2008 - link

    The great thing about accusations like this is that there's nothing Anandtech can say in response. It's just a complete bullshit assertion made by fanboys (or idiots, take your pick).

    I look at the 9500 GT and I read, "This is not an exciting launch. The 9500 GT doesn't offer much more performance than the 8600 GT it replaces." I see charts with the 3850 and 3650 included. I read comments about how both ATI and NVIDIA have released pretty weak hardware at the bottom.

    I read the 4870X2 article and I see sensible explanations about how Crossfire doesn't always work, the card is expensive, but when everything gels it's a very fast solution. Where's the bias there? Where's the "lies"? I'll tell you what, I've got my Crossfire system and I can say without a doubt that there are plenty of games that don't scale with CF. Especially new releases where ATI hasn't had a chance to update the drivers. Quite a few titles require you to run with CF disabled until the next driver update, or else performance is horrible. (Grid is a perfect example. I think I got about 3 FPS with Crossfire 3870 at launch, but around 30-40 FPS when I disabled CF.)

    Or what about the totally NVIDIA biased review of the GTX 280? "As impressive as the GT200 is, the GeForce GTX 280 is simply overpriced for the performance it delivers. It is NVIDIA's fastest single-card, single-GPU solution, but for $150 less than a GTX 280 you get a faster graphics card with NVIDIA's own GeForce 9800 GX2. The obvious downside to the GX2 over the GTX 280 is that it is a multi-GPU card and there are going to be some situations where it doesn't scale well, but overall it is a far better buy than the GTX 280." And it's a good thing they don't mention ATI in NVIDIA reviews, like this statement: "The GeForce GTX 260 is a bit more reasonable. At $400 it is generally equal to if not faster than the Radeon HD 3870 X2, and with no other NVIDIA cards occupying the $400 pricepoint it is without a competitor within its own family. Unfortunately, 8800 GT SLI is much cheaper and many people already have an 8800 GT they could augment."

    The fact that ATI is second on a lot of launches is the cause for the comparisons that are done. (GT200 came before the HD 4800 launch, so it was compared to 3870X2; 4670 followed 9500; plenty more examples that I won't bother to list) What about the "totally anti-AMD" article praising the 4850 and 4870: "The Radeon HD 4870 and 4850 are both solid values and cards we would absolutely recommend to readers looking for hardware at the $200 and $300 price points." That makes sense, and the conclusions in this article make sense to me as well.

    For the price, you get a decent card, but there's no denying the 4670 will struggle in quite a few games, particularly at higher resolutoisn. I can't imagine running anything less than a 22" 1680x1050 display these days, and the only people running 19" LCDs are already using older hardware. Once you go widescreen, you'll never want to go back... at least not until you encounter one of the titles that refuses to include WS support.

    So sure, if you're limping along with older hardware this makes sense. If you don't care too much about gaming performance, it's a great HTPC card, but do most people actually use HTPCs!? I think it's just a really vocal minority that chooses to bitch about HTPC issues, because I'd take my DVR over any of the PC solutions for $10 a month and the ease of use and integration! I can't remember the last time anyone in my family asked me for help trying to connect their PC to a TV - HD or otherwise. The real truth is that the only people that really need discrete GPUs are enthusiasts and gamers. If you're a gamer, get something faster for a bit more money. If you're like Anand and building a $50000 home theater, I suppose it's just too much to consider that extra money for more performance? If I had a nice setup for watching movies, I'm certain I'd want to use it to play games on occasion as well.
  • strikeback03 - Thursday, September 11, 2008 - link

    The 9600 GSO has been around for at least 3-4 months, just was not exciting enough to warrant mention. Look on the bright side - every GPU AMD has released recently has been important enough to get a full review, while we have rehashed NVIDIA GPUs that are not mentioned until they compete with something from AMD.
  • superflex - Wednesday, September 10, 2008 - link

    Thanks for another biased anti AMD review Anand. The 4870 and 4870 X2 reviews must have been your template.

    The reviews on this site are becoming a joke. Graphs and text dont match, bias is evident, and conclusions are skewed.

    I agree using a quad core CPU is stupid when evaluating a <$80 GPU. No one who spends that kind of jack on a CPU, mobo and memory is going to cheap out on the GPU.

    The test system ought to be someting the average joe would have. Not Anand's dreamy Intel (read not AMD) system.
  • themadmilkman - Wednesday, September 10, 2008 - link

    Using a quad core CPU isn't stupid, it's good methodology. The whole idea is to try and avoid any external limitations on the card's performance, so that the only change we see IS the card's performance.

    Seriously, this is a technical website. If you don't want to see things done by the appropriate technical method, go read cnet.
  • geok1ng - Wednesday, September 10, 2008 - link

    Again the very same crap: NVIDIA selling the same hardware with a new name.

    Maybe seeing the market share going away at the top, mid and low end market they will start to offers us better and cheaper cards.

    As for ATI: excellent pricing for a great card! Now how about putting some money on the drivers division?! All ATI cards need better drivers ASAP!
  • MrPickins - Wednesday, September 10, 2008 - link

    The real reason I'm waiting for this card is for my HTPC so I can use HDMI for video and multichannel audio, in a low power card. :D
  • helldrell666 - Wednesday, September 10, 2008 - link

  • Spacecomber - Wednesday, September 10, 2008 - link

    Is it safe to assume that all the cards that were discussed in this review (not just the 4670 and 4650, but also the cards they were compared to) are equal in their video acceleration capabilities? Maybe this is a given, but I wasn't sure.

    It seems like the capabilities of these lower end cards for doing things besides 3D gaming become more important, since they aren't really of much interest to a dedicated gamer. Something like a HTPC seems like a more likely home for one of these cards, or a general purpose home computer that might get pressed into service for some home video editing (though I'm assuming CPU power is what still counts the most for this sort of work).
  • tripomarto - Wednesday, September 10, 2008 - link

    i really dont understand why you benchmark a 80$ gpu in a system with a 1000$ cpu, may be you can make 3 reference system, one for high, one for medium, and one for low budget, it may reflect the real performance that people buying this card will see...

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