|ATI Radeon HD 4770 RV740 DDR5 Video Card|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Video Cards|
|Written by Olin Coles|
|Tuesday, 28 April 2009|
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Radeon HD 4770 Conclusion
Benchmark Reviews offers a summary rating for each product we test. Although our rating and final score are made to be as objective as possible at the time of publication, please be advised that every author perceives these factors differently at different points in time. While we do our best to ensure that all aspects of the product are considered, there are often times unforeseen market conditions and manufacturer changes which occur after publication that would render our rating obsolete.
Beginning with the performance rating, our expectations for the ATI Radeon HD 4770 during gaming operation were slightly less impressive than expected. While the RV740 did well-enough to compete with the GeForce 8800 GT and Radeon HD 4850 in our benchmark test results, post-processing effects were not able to be tested on the more demanding games such as Crysis and Far Cry 2. For casual gamers and HTPC users, this won't become an issue since HDTV resolution and smaller monitors won't stress the matter. However, if you're running 1680x1050 or 1920x1200 resolutions, don't expect to have the settings all turned up high.
Judging the product appearance is a very subjective matter. Lately, almost everything has been encased in plastic housings with a contoured finish. This doesn't mean that you can't look sharp without the extra plastic body work, but there's a level of protection all of that stuff provides which goes missing on the Radeon HD 4770. One favorable factor is how the affordable HD4770 mimics the more-expensive HD4890 in looks and cooler design.
Construction is solid, but not without some concerns. I absolutely appreciate ATI for not placing memory module IC's on the back side of the PCB, but at the same time I am no fan of exposed electronic components such as the surface mounted capacitors found on the 4770. These are well known for being easily knocked off of the PCB, resulting in a dead product that could have been protected with an extra ten cents worth of plastic. Aside from these details, the ATI Radeon HD 4770 is a solid-built graphics card following suit after their top-tier product line.
The RV740 GPU isn't very different from the other chips in the Radeon 4000-series. Although it doesn't receive the added decoupling capacitors (DeCaps) along the outer edge like the RV790 does, it does benefit from the refined 40nm fabrication process. This makes a noticeable difference in appearance, since the RV790's 282 mm2 footprint is more than twice the size of the HD4770's 137 mm2 GPU, and this will impact cooling performance because of the reduced contact surface area. Although the GDDR5 memory buffer is warmly welcomed to the HD4770, I'm feeling a little disappointed in the narrow 128-bit memory bus supplied to it, which is also half the size of all other GDDR5 products.
As of April 28th 2009, the launch date for the Radeon HD 4770, ATI expects the HD4770 to sell for $100 after rebate. The price-point doesn't feel commensurate with the performance, because this is nearly the same price as select Radeon HD 4850's at NewEgg. It would be expected that prices for the HD4770 will drop shortly thereafter. because on one hand the Radeon HD 4770 is meant to directly compete with the GeForce GTS 250 (which is a relabeled 9800 GTX+, and the 9800 GTX+ is a refresh of the 9800 GTX, but I digress), which it does seem capable of doing quite well. But on the other hand, it's just a small notch below HD4850 performance making the price tag a little questionable.
In conclusion, the ATI Radeon HD 4770 is perfect for HTPC builders and casual gamers looking for performance at a value with excellent cooling and overclocking capabilities. The HD4770 also matches well with AMD 770 motherboards, which currently sell for as little as $54.99 (after rebate). Benchmark Reviews has completed testing on the 40nm RV740, and our results have it performing at- or slightly-below the frame rate of a HD4850, and well ahead of the GeForce 8800 GT. With a double-slot cooler secured to a power-sipping 40nm GPU, budget enthusiasts can squeeze plenty more performance from the Radeon HD 4770 and get faster frame rates for no additional cost. Benchmark Reviews even offers an Introduction to Overclocking Guide for Beginners for those interested.
+ Matches JD4850 performance in several tests
- GDDR5 is confined to a 128-bit memory lane
Final Score: 8.75 out of 10.
Quality Recognition: Benchmark Reviews Silver Tachometer Award.
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