Final Words

After all the benchmarks and details, we really aren't sure how to conclude this article; this is a really tough one.

The performance gap at the $120-$130 price range for a target resolution of 1680x1050 between the 9800 GT and the 4830, in practical terms, isn't that much. Both are playable in the majority of games we tested. The exceptions are Age of Conan and Crysis which can get by at 1280x1024 (or with decreased quality settings). While you may get a smoother experience on the AMD card in general, you won't get a significantly more playable experience in most cases in the games we tested.

If the rebates trail off and/or don't favor the NVIDIA part, we've got to lean toward recommending the Radeon HD 4830. AMD's card also supports 8-channel LPCM over HDMI and can handle some games at 1920x1200, making it the cheapest viable option capable of dual purpose use for games and movies on an HDTV and 7.1 surround sound setup. But it's a really close call here.

With RebateFest '08 going on and the possibility to pick up a 9800 GT for about $100, even though it's lower performance, the card is compelling. But being that this is a rebate offer and not the actual street price of the card, that deal may or may not last. If you need to spend $100 on a part, the GeForce 9800 GT is not a bad option, especially if you can find an overclocked part at that price to help close the performance gap.

However, with AMD saying we should expect rebates on their parts as well, that's not even a lock. Honestly, as we always recommend, shop around and look for the best prices. Use our performance data as a guide and the prices you find to make the final decision. Things are changing fast and rebates, sales and other offers can change daily. This time more than any other we've seen has been hugely volatile.

Honestly, now is an amazing time for the consumer. The competition is incredibly fierce and it is entirely possible we'll see the fight heat up even more into the holiday season. It's terrific to see hardware at this price point that can really deliver a great gaming experience at 1680x1050. The fact that AMD and NVIDIA are battling so hard just makes it that much more exciting. Deals, specials and rebates will really need to be your deciding factor for the next couple months. Happy shopping!

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  • JonnyDough - Friday, October 24, 2008 - link

    Half the time you don't get the money back, or it takes half a year. Not only that, but they always make you jump through hoops. Even if you follow the directions to the T, sometimes they say you didn't.

    Furthermore, you have to cut up your box and include the UPC code, which sometimes means you suddenly have no serial number from the proof of purchase for warranty service.

    I refuse to purchase a product based on a "rebated price." I always look at the regular price. I was taught to do that over a decade ago in consumer mathematics in H.S. and it took me a bit of life experience to learn the value in that lesson.

    So as my title states, I would like to just re-iterate.

    Rebates BLOW. As long as people are purchasing products that have a rebate available, the companies will continue to rip us off with them. My advice, skip over anything with a rebate and don't buy it.
  • strikeback03 - Monday, October 27, 2008 - link

    I've probably filed over 100 rebates in the past 10 years, I have failed to receive 2. Only one was due to actual shadiness by the company (MSI), the other was due to a poorly worded rebate form and a customer-service rep who was also not properly informed. I've occasionally had to fight for rebated by re-sending copies of the materials, but have almost always gotten them.

    Given the choice, I'd go for the lower purchase price and if one seller is slightly higher but no rebate will choose that. But I don't ignore that rebates exist.
  • Mr Roboto - Friday, October 24, 2008 - link

    That's why I really like because they show the price BEFORE the rebate. Anything after that is just icing on the cake as it would seem NewEgg understands that a product with a rebate doesn't mean anything.

    Look at, almost every product has a little * next to it. TD has some of the worst rebate scams going in all of the internet. Just look at to see how badly they treat their customers. Of course I speak from experience. I bought an EVGA 680i and a BFG Tech 8800GTX from the local TD outlet a year and a half ago. When I got home both of the rebates were already expired. Very shady business.
  • Mr Roboto - Friday, October 24, 2008 - link

    AMD has confirmed worked with us to confirm 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.

    So does this mean that if I pick up a new 4830 there is a possibility of hacking the BIOS to enable all of the SIMD units? Well if this is the case than I will definitely be picking up what apparently is a 4850 in 4830 clothing.
  • Gary Key - Friday, October 24, 2008 - link

    I flashed the 4850 BIOS on my retail 4830 card today, no changes to the SIMD units or clock speeds. ;)
  • poohbear - Friday, October 24, 2008 - link

    why didnt u show the 4300 in Crossfire? would reall give us a great idea of whether picking 2 of em up is better than the 4850/4870.:0
  • Tiredoldfart - Friday, October 24, 2008 - link

    Very long time lurker, first time poster.

    As always the article is well detailed and plenty juicy on content.
    However this growing trend on the articles here at anandtech is truly annoying.

    Do we really need 2+ pages tellings that a possible rebate on the competition's card might make it a better deal by a few percentile points?

    Rebate talking has no place on tech articles, the people that come here are perfectly capable of recognizing a good deal when they see one.

    I came here to read about a part that fits perfectly into the video card niche i want, and end up slightly annoyed that a review of the 4830 ends up with a ton of "how a slightly better deal the 9800 series is if you get a rebate" references. Rebates are marketing doodah, its not a direct reduction in base price, your money is still tied in, dog knows for how many months.

    I initially came here to read anand's articles, a good deal years back, and they had a purity and razor edge objectivity to what was being reviewed that i find increasingly lacking anywhere i look these days. I'd really really like to see more reviews that focus more on the merits of the hardware, than on the fogginess of the "final price after xyz marketing tricks".

    I hope this doesnt sound too harsh, but this has been a pet peeve of mine for a long time now.
  • DerekWilson - Friday, October 24, 2008 - link

    i actually agree with you.

    it's frustrating for me though because to fight the battle better nvidia decided to employ a whole lot of massive rebates. i'm still not going to say one piece of hardware is better than another because of a rebate, but with the size of some rebates out there it is hard to ignore them as a factor.

    i tried to paint the picture but it's a tough situation.

    i agree that rebates are marketing tools and i've said as much in previous articles. but the if both AMD and NVIDIA are going to get into it, it benefits no one but the consumer.

    for practical reasons though, i really don't want to compare prices with rebates -- it changes and there are multiple different offers and way too many combinations to make a practical comparison.

    honestly, i wish these guys would all just stop offering rebates and lower prices. but they aren't going to do that cause that cuts into their bottom line rather than their marketing budget.

    it's just as frustrating on this side of it as it is for you guys to have to read about it ... but we do want to tell the whole story and the rebate battle seems like something of interest. maybe i was wrong.

  • Tiredoldfart - Sunday, October 26, 2008 - link

    Derek, i'd like to thank you for taking the time to reply.
    I like your work quite a bit, and am only replying to better clarify what i mean.

    My biggest concern is that the inclusion of the rebate system into the reviews of hardware has really been on the rise, on all the major sites.
    It is slowly becoming "set in stone" as something as valid as a base price drop, when its far far shadier.

    I understand that, as a reviewer, you cannot overlook something that affects the value of what you are reviewing.
    But major exposure on a major tech site like this ends up re-enforcing the rebate system as acceptable and valid.

    As far as reviews go, rebates can have the insidious effect of being there for the launch of an item, prompting the side with the larger marketing budget to get off more positive reviews. And once those initial reviews are out, nothing stops the company from changing the rules.

    Rebates are by definition something outside of base price, often outside the company itself, efficiently outsourced to other companies. No reputation harm to the big brands, fire and forget. Everyone's had bad experiences with them, they are not good for the consumer in the medium and long run, in my opinion.

    If there was a more stern position towards rebates by the consumers and those that inform/represent them, eventually alternatives to rebates would have to be found by the companies.

    In the end, i ask a difficult thing, i know this.
    For the people responsible to bringing us the news to mediate exposure of topics based on what serves the reader best.

    But that has always been the juggling of the media, how to deal with the part that wants to sell without compromising its position towards the part that is willing to buy.

    The amount of sway a review at anandtech has over both the consumers and the major tech companies these days is gigantic.

    So to sum up what i mean, and use a far too worn out quote to boot..

    "With great power there must also come — great responsibility!"

  • DerekWilson - Thursday, October 23, 2008 - link

    Hi guys --

    I thought I had tested the 4870 on the 790i board, but it was apparently tested on the intel x48 board instead.

    I reran the test because of what you guys were pointing out and I have updated the numbers in the charts. Power draw for the 4870 is higher in idle and load.


    I've also been following the issue where AMD samples have 3 SIMDs disabled instead of 2 ... We are talking to AMD about the problem and will update you when we know what's going on.

    Derek Wilson

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