Meet The Radeon 4770

With 826 Million transistors, the RV740 GPU that powers the Radeon HD 4770 features a native 640 SP (128 five-wide vector units arranged in 8 SIMD cores) as opposed to the 640 cut-down-from-800 SP 4830. Among the other differences is the fact that the 4770 hooks into GDDR5 over a 128-bit memory bus at almost the same clock speed (producing just a little bit less bandwidth at half the pinout).

AMD reports average TDP to be about 80W, so despite the fact that this is a 40nm part that pulls a little less power for the same job than its older brothers, the Radeon HD 4770 still requires a 6-pin PCIe power connector. This isn't a huge amount of power, and AMD has single slot boards that fall in to this range. Of course, it likely gets a little more complicated at 40nm when you have less surface area to dedicate to heat transfer. Thus this is a dual slot part rather than a single slot part. Such is life.

So, rather than a totally killer single slot card with no power connector at $99, we've got a dual slot card with a power connector at $110. Not ideal, but we can work with that. Rather than the 40nm process, form factor or targeted design being the selling point, the real issue is going to be the competition.

We will be comparing the Radeon HD 4770 to the GeForce GTS 250 512MB (aka the 9800 GTX+) and the GeForce 9800 GT. These two cards sort of sandwich the Radeon HD 4770 in terms of price with the 9800 GT coming in at $100 and the GTS 250 512MB at slightly more than $120. So the question will continually be: does the extra +/- $10 make a difference.

This part essentially improves upon and usurps the position of the Radeon HD 4830. Word from AMD was that we should see the 4830 start to fall by the wayside. For our analysis we are including the Radeon HD 4830 and the Radeon HD 4850. Here's a breakdown of how the AMD hardware stacks up:

ATI Radeon HD 4770 ATI Radeon HD 4850 ATI Radeon HD 4830
Stream Processors 640 800 640
Texture Units 32 40 32
ROPs 16 16 16
Core Clock 750MHz 625MHz 575MHz+
Memory Clock 800MHz (3200MHz data rate) GDDR5 993MHz (1986MHz data rate) GDDR3 900MHz (1800MHz data rate) GDDR3
Memory Bus Width 128-bit 256-bit 256-bit
Frame Buffer 512MB 512MB 512MB
Transistor Count 826M 956M 956M
Manufacturing Process TSMC 40nm TSMC 55nm TSMC 55nm
Price Point $110 $130 $100

It's worth noting that the bandwidths of the 4770 and the 4830 are 51.2GB/s and 57.6GB/s respectively.

We have also tweaked a couple of our tests to better target the ~$100 segment. The biggest change was with our Crysis test where we dropped everything down by one quality level ending up with all mainstream settings except for gamer shaders. The other was just a small tweak: not pushing things beyond the high quality default settings in Age of Conan (though we did enable 4xAA).

In the middle of testing, we accidentally let our copy of Left 4 Dead update itself rendering our benchmark un-timedemo-able. Thus we have to leave Left 4 Dead performance out of this article, but we can say that at the highest quality settings the 4770 is capable of playable framerates at up to 1680x1050.

Our test setup is still the Intel platform with a top of the line CPU in order to remove any other bottlenecks from the system. These performance numbers show the potential the graphics card has to offer. If the rest of a system is unable to achieve performance levels along the lines of what we show here, then it doesn't matter what graphics card we plug in at this price: it will end up performing pretty much the same as any other option (at the system bottleneck level). These tests show the potential of a graphics card when the potential of the graphics card makes a difference. That said, most Phenom II, Core 2, and Core i7 systems will be very close to these numbers at the common resolution of 1680x1050 with the tested hardware; the fast system/CPU generally only becomes a factor at lower resolutions or with multiple GPUs.

Test Setup
CPU Intel Core i7-965 3.2GHz
Motherboard ASUS Rampage II Extreme X58
Video Cards ATI Radeon HD 4770
ATI Radeon HD 4830
ATI Radeon HD 4850
NVIDIA GeForce GTS 250
NVIDIA GeForce 9800 GT
Video Drivers 9.4, 9.4 Beta for 4770
ForceWare 185.68
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

Without further ado, here's the performance numbers.

Index Age of Conan Performance
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  • yacoub - Tuesday, April 28, 2009 - link

    A 256-bit version (and thus able to run lower clockspeeds but get the same performance) would make a great passively-cooled GPU.
  • PrinceGaz - Wednesday, April 29, 2009 - link

    By 256-bit version, do you mean the memory-bus width? All that would achieve is allow them to use slower memory (GDDR3 instead of GDDR5) and would have no effect on the speed the GPU itself needs to be clocked at, and therefore the temperature it would run at.

    Speaking of which, I don't think temperatures were mentioned in the article (goes to check).
  • Veteran - Tuesday, April 28, 2009 - link

    I read the review completely and i clearly saw the 4770 leading the GTS 250 in most games. After reading the conclusion i was a little bit dissapointed at Anandtech. The 4770 which costs around 100$ clearly outperforms a 130$+ part while consuming lower power. Still the conclusion is not very positive... How can this happen?
    This is on of the best cards at the moment price/performance wise, so why doesn't Anandtech recommend this card? Scared to loose good relationships with nVidia? The last couple of months you can clearly see where anandtech is going to... It's really sad, since this was one of the best around.
  • crimson117 - Tuesday, April 28, 2009 - link

    You don't think this is a AMD-supportive conclusion?

    "It isn't clear when NVIDIA will have a part in this generation of their architecture that competes in the near $100 market, but in the meantime the option is certainly clear: the Radeon HD 4770 is the way to go for now."
  • flipmode - Tuesday, April 28, 2009 - link

    Maybe you're high? Read:

    "As for the competition, the 4770 comes out on top in the games we tested."

    "the option is certainly clear: the Radeon HD 4770 is the way to go for now."

    What more do you want? A all out denouncement of Nvidia?
  • strikeback03 - Tuesday, April 28, 2009 - link

    Well, checking Newegg right now, there are 4 4770 options available (interestingly enough, all using the same non-reference cooler) all at 109.99. There are 12 GTS250 512 cards, one of which is 120 shipped, and three others at 110, 115, and 120 with rebates. Given the relatively small performance difference and the relatively small price difference, a relatively mild recommendation seems warranted. I'd imagine this will end up becoming a case of "Pick whichever brand you like better or whoever has the better price at the moment." I personally would pick an nvidia card for an extra $10 just due to the driver issues I have experienced with AMD.
  • aapocketz - Wednesday, April 29, 2009 - link

    [quote]interestingly enough, all using the same non-reference cooler[/quote]

    yeah I cant find any that use the reference cooler reviewed in the articles on this site or others. I would prefer if its going to have a dual slot solution, that it vents the exhaust outside the case! The cooler thats on newegg is ugly too... I would have picked one up today if it looked like the ones in the article!

  • balancedthinking - Tuesday, April 28, 2009 - link

    Do not forget the 10$ mail in rebates @ newegg, so the 4770 IS cheaper.

    The 4770 also uses way less power and it is even more more strange to see Derek bitching about the naming of the card instead of looking at the OC ability.

    The German site was able to reach a massive overlock, leading to a stunning 25% performance improvement.
  • RagingDragon - Wednesday, May 13, 2009 - link

    I guess the reviewer didn't have time for OC testing, and thus chose to fill the space with ranting instead.
  • strikeback03 - Tuesday, April 28, 2009 - link

    Those $10 MIRs were not there when I checked before writing that. I also wouldn't be surprised to see bigger rebates on the nvidia hardware within a day or two.

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