The Cards and The Test

In the AMD department, we received two cards. One was an overclocked part from HIS and the other was a stock clocked part from ASUS. Guess which one AMD sent us for the review. No, it's no problem, we're used to it. This is what happens when we get cards from NVIDIA all the time. They argue and argue for the inclusion of overclocked numbers in GPU reviews when it's their GPU we're looking at. Of course when the tables are turned so are the opinions. We sincerely appreciate ASUS sending us this card and we used it for our tests in this article. The original intent of trying to get a hold of two cards was to run CrossFire numbers, but we only have one GTX 275 and we would prefer to wait until we can compare the two to get into that angle.

The ASUS card also includes a utility called Voltage Tweaker that allows gamers to increase some voltages on their hardware to help improve overclocking. We didn't have the chance to play with the feature ourselves, but more control is always a nice feature to have.

For the Radeon HD 4890 our hardware specs are pretty simple. Take a 4870 1GB and overclock it. Crank the core up 100 MHz to 850 MHz and the memory clock up 75 MHz to 975 MHz. That's the Radeon HD 4890 in a nutshell. However, to reach these clock levels, AMD revised the core by adding decoupling capacitors, new timing algorithms, and altered the ASIC power distribution for enhanced operation.  These slight changes increased the transistor count from 956M to 959M. Otherwise, the core features/specifications (texture units, ROPs, z/stencil) remain the same as the HD4850/HD4870 series.

Most vendors will also be selling overclocked variants that run the core at 900 MHz. AMD would like to treat these overclocked parts like they are a separate entity altogether. But we will continue to treat these parts as enhancements of the stock version whether they come from NVIDIA or AMD. In our eyes, the difference between, say, an XFX GTX 275 and an XFX GTX 275 XXX is XFX's call; the latter is their part enhancing the stock version. We aren't going to look at the XFX 4890 and the XFX 4890 XXX any differently. In doing reviews of vendor's cards, we'll consider overclocked performance closely, but for a GPU launch, we will be focusing on the baseline version of the card.

On the NVIDIA side, we received a reference version of the GTX 275. It looks similar to the design of the other GT200 based hardware.

Under the hood here is the same setup as half of a GTX 295 but with higher clock speeds. That means that the GTX 275 has the memory amount and bandwidth of the GTX 260 (448-bit wide bus), but the shader count of the GTX 280 (240 SPs). On top of that, the GTX 275 posts clock speeds closer to the GTX 285 than the GTX 280. Core clock is up 31 MHz from a GTX 280 to 633 MHz, shader clock is up 108 MHz to 1404 MHz, and memory clock is also up 108 MHz to 2322. Which means that in shader limited cases we should see performance closer to the GTX 285 and in bandwicth limited cases we'll still be faster than the GTX 216 because of the clock speed boost across the board.

Rather than just an overclock of a pre-existing card, this is a blending of two configurations combined with an overclock from the two configurations from which it was born. And sure, it's also half a GTX 295, and that is convenient for NVIDIA. It's not just that it's different, it's that this setup should have a lot to offer especially in games that aren't bandwidth limited.

That wraps it up for the cards we're focusing on today. Here's our test system, which is the same as for our GTS 250 article except for the addition of a couple drivers.

The Test

Test Setup
CPU Intel Core i7-965 3.2GHz
Motherboard ASUS Rampage II Extreme X58
Video Cards ATI Radeon HD 4890
ATI Radeon HD 4870 1GB
ATI Radeon HD 4870 512MB
ATI Radeon HD 4850
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 285
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 280
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 275
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 260 core 216
Video Drivers Catalyst 8.12 hotfix, 9.4 Beta for HD 4890
ForceWare 185.65
Hard Drive Intel X25-M 80GB SSD
RAM 6 x 1GB DDR3-1066 7-7-7-20
Operating System Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit SP1
PSU PC Power & Cooling Turbo Cool 1200W
New Drivers From NVIDIA Change The Landscape The New $250 Price Point: Radeon HD 4890 vs. GeForce GTX 275


View All Comments

  • helldrell666 - Wednesday, April 8, 2009 - link

    Stick that fudzilla bench up in your.....
    Fudzilla is the number one nvidia troll site.Put aside, the fugglier nvidia sponored sites, like Hardocp, neoseeker, Driverheaven, Bjorn3d.................And you go on.

    Your one ugly fugly creataure.
  • SiliconDoc - Wednesday, August 5, 2009 - link

    helldrell666 - then here's another long set of wins for the GTX275 against the 4890 - you can go tell johnjames on pg. 29 to stick all of them up his... since you're so "red" with embarrassment...">">">">">">">">">">">">

    There you go - now I'm sure every one of those sights is filled with green bias, huh , the worst kind...
  • mav3rick - Wednesday, April 8, 2009 - link

    ehehe.. he goes around name calling almost everyone a red rooster.. wonder if he sees himself as the green goblin? :D

    jokes aside.. seriously, why limit yourselves to just one camp?? why be fanboys? just get whatever card which give the most bang for your budget and also your needs. i started out with a Matrox G200 (eheh.. you can basically guess how 'young' i am). This was followed by the NVidia GeForce2 MX. The next upgrade was the Radeon 9500.. plus.. managed to unlock the 4 pipelines to make it the legendary 9700.. what more can you ask for. next came the X1800GTO, again managing to unlock 4 disabled pipelines and it became X1800XL. and before silicondoc calls me a red rooster.. lolz.. my current card is the 8800GT. real great buy with it oc capabilities and longevity..

    currently with the flurry of releases, i'm targeting either the GTX 260+ or the 1GB 4870 as i only have a 22" flat screen. Performance between both cards are comparable. the difference of a few framerates are barely noticeable.. so its down to pricing. Waiting now to see if there are any further reductions :p As for PhysX, it doesnt seem to have really taken off yet.. game developers are not stupid. if they wanna sell more copies, they will have to make sure it works on as many cards as possible.
  • SiliconDoc - Friday, April 24, 2009 - link

    Green Goblin, ahh... many that is ugly...
    Now, one problem with what you said - you definitely should note I don't call everyone a red rooster - just the liars - there are quite a few posts here that make fine points for ati that aren't steeped in bs up to their necks and over their heads.
    You should also note I make the proper POINTS when I post, that prove what is and has been said by this brainwashed crew of red rooster just isn't the truth, period.
    See that's the problem -
    I certainly don't mind one bit if the truth is told, but if you have to lie so often to keep your favorite looking good, well, that's just stupidity besides being dishonest.
    I've made quite a few points the in the box cluckers cannot effectively, fairly, or honestly counter - and the months and months of brainwashing won't unwind right away - but at least it's going into their noggins, and will eat away at the lies, little by little the small voice inside will spank their inner red stepchild into shape.
    Hey, I'm a helpful person. Reality should win.
  • tamalero - Thursday, April 9, 2009 - link

    dont forget the X800GTO2 that could unlock extra pipes to become X850XT
  • Jamahl - Tuesday, April 7, 2009 - link

    Oh wait lol no they aren't. If they were they wouldn't have a failing chipset side of their business and revenues down from 1.2bn to 480m in the last quarter.

    They don't have an x86 licence and intel are suing them. How bad do you have to be for intel to sue lol. Oh yeah, on intel - that reminds me, who was it that took the playstation away from Nvidia again? Seeing as we're talking about consoles now, how about we talk about the 50 million wii's sold with ATI graphics inside?

    Fusion is the party of the future and Nvidia aren't invited. To sum up, this desperate little company is going down the tubes and taking all of its clueless fanbois with it. It will be great in the near future when you are all forced to game on ATI graphics lol.
  • SiliconDoc - Tuesday, April 7, 2009 - link

    January 2008 - and perhaps as bad or worse since then.
    " Without the charge, AMD came close to breaking even in the quarter, listing an operating loss of $9 million. Revenue for Q4 was $1.77 billion, up 8% sequentially and virtually flat compared to Q4 2006. The ATI write-down resulted in a total loss of $3.38 billion for the year, with total non-cash charges adding up to $2.0 billion. 2007 sales were $6.0 billion, up 6$ from 2006. "">
    That looks like ATI writedown was 3.38 billion - gee, 2 billion loss for one year.
    Oh well, they can crush nvidia with their tiny core vs nvidia's big core by dropping prices, right ?
    Thanks for nothing but lies, red roosters.
  • SiliconDoc - Tuesday, April 7, 2009 - link

    Oh and let's not forget the Dubai ownership portion of ati/amd.
    Not trusted for US ports by the American people, but fanboys love it anyway.
  • helldrell666 - Tuesday, April 7, 2009 - link

    Yes, whether you believe me or not, it's true.I had had much more driver problems with my 8800gtx than what i have had with my current 4870.

    As for the arabs, they don't own the company.AMD just bought part of it's manufacturing business to the arabic company,ALMUBSDALA.
    And to be more specific, AMD decided to share it's manufacturing business with another "foregin" company because it can't afford the manufacturing costs.

    I don't see anything wrong with that.But in case you don't know, i have to give you some informations about who owns what.
    Did you know that 2 russian "jewish" billionaires, "Naoom Birizofski and Jacob Trotski", own 79% of INTELs shares.

    Did you know that JEWs own all the major technological companies in the WEST. From IBM, Ford, Boeing, Le Stabrolle, ADIDAS, Mercedes, OPEL, NPD Petrochemicals ......

    Put aside the US Media, that is totally owned and controled by jewish businessmen..

    The whole western civilization in it's all glory is getting purchased by jews.So if you think that those Arabs will/have any kind of effect on anything, then your wrong.
    AMD was in big trouble and no other company offered any kind of help.AMD simply wasn't able to keep both it's manufacturing and designing business and make a revenue.
    Now, with their manufacturing business is getting fixed and grown, the company is definitely in a better state.As you know, or maybe don't, the global foundaries is expanding now by building two other fabs in NY and Malta.Beside, they fixed and did a lot to AMDs to fabs in Germany. so what AMd has done is establishing a new manufacturing
    entity, that will provide thousands of jobs for those great minds in both Europe and USA, and will compete efficiently with those Taiwanese manufacturing companies.

    But you, with your stupid little brain, can't recognize all think that your nvidia, that small little company with it's 5000 workers, is more important than anything else.

    What about competition?
    What about innovation?
    what about prices? Are you aware of what the state of the prices of gpu, cpus... or any other products would become without competition?

  • SiliconDoc - Wednesday, April 8, 2009 - link

    Here's the other thing, no matter how much you give your opinion on amd/ati, ati lost them billions, and nvidia, even though you pretend otherwise, actually "puts to work" more people than ati making and selling their gpu's, even if they don't have some holding corporation monster over the top of them, bleeding billions as well.
    So, you went into your love for amd, and I guess your love for ati, which according to you "saved the loser" called amd. Like I said, you're more fanboy than one could initially have surmised, and your bias is still bleeding out like mad, not to mention the crazy conspiracy talk.

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