AMD Radeon HD 4830: Affordable Performance And Heavy Competitionby Derek Wilson on October 23, 2008 12:01 AM EST
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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!