Folks familiar with Kanye West's music should by now have a pretty good idea of what ATI's new Radeon HD 4890 (HD 4890) is all about. But for those who don't, it is quite literally, as the lyrics go, a pumped up, beefed up version of the Radeon HD 4870. Think of it as a HD 4870 that has taken a steroid or two and has undergone many hours of intensive weight-training.
Since the release of the Radeon HD 4830, ATI has been fairly quiet on the GPU scene. And in between then and now, NVIDIA has released a slew of new SKUs. To be fair, most of them are rehashed products, but the super-fast GeForce GTX 295 and GeForce GTX 285 were two particularly outstanding SKUs that managed to put NVIDIA back in the limelight. In fact, word on the street is that NVIDIA has another high-end SKU up their sleeves and is finding ways to slim it down and improve their massive GTX 295.
It's time ATI fought back and the HD 4890 is their response. It is ATI's latest flagship GPU, but it still retains the 55nm core and 800 stream processors from the HD 4870. Happily, clock speeds have been bumped up. The core now clocks in at 850MHz, whereas the memory is now doing a stratospheric 3900MHz DDR. This is up from the HD 4870's 750MHz at the core and 3600MHz DDR at the memory.
To accommodate these massive increases in clock speeds, ATI has redesigned the core by adding decoupling capacitors to reduce signal noise. The company has also re-timed the chip and altered the chip's power distribution. Thanks to this new design, ATI claims that most boards tested in their labs were able to achieve clock speeds of 950MHz at the core and 4300MHz DDR at the memory. We'll definitely be putting this claim to the test.
In any case, we are expecting the HD 4890 to significantly outperform the older HD 4870. With that, we must now put the HD 4890 to the test to see if it is really any better, faster and stronger. But first, a quick look at its technical specifications and how it stacks up against comparable competitive SKUs.
|Model||ATI Radeon HD 4890 1GB||ATI Radeon HD 4870 512MB||ATI Radeon HD 4850 512MB||NVIDIA GeForce GTX 260 Core 216 896MB||NVIDIA GeForce GTX 285 1GB|
|Transistor Count||959 million||956 million||956 million||1400 million||1400 million|
|Stream Processors||800 Stream processing units||800 Stream processing units||800 Stream processing units||216 Stream Processors||240 Stream Processors|
|Stream Processor Clock||850MHz||750MHz||625MHz||1242MHz||1476MHz|
|Texture Mapping Units (TMU) or Texture Filtering (TF) units||40||40||40||72||80|
|Raster Operator units (ROP)||16||16||16||28||32|
|Memory Clock||3900MHz GDDR5||3600MHz GDDR5||2000MHz GDDR3||1998MHz GDDR3||2484MHz GDDR3|
|DDR Memory Bus||256-bit||256-bit||256-bit||448-bit||512-bit|
|PCI Express Interface||PCIe ver 2.0 x16||PCIe ver 2.0 x16||PCIe ver 2.0 x16||PCIe ver 2.0 x16||PCIe ver 2.0 x16|
|Molex Power Connectors||2 x 6-pin||2 x 6-pin||6-pin||2 x 6-pin||2 x 6-pin|
|Multi GPU Technology||CrossFireX||CrossFireX||CrossFireX||SLI||SLI|
|DVI Output Support||2 x Dual-Link||2 x Dual-Link||2 x Dual-Link||2 x Dual-Link||2 x Dual-Link|
|HDCP Output Support||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|