Archive Home arrow Reviews: arrow Video Cards arrow Sapphire Radeon HD 4890 RV790 Video Card

Sapphire Radeon HD 4890 RV790 Video Card E-mail
Reviews - Featured Reviews: Video Cards
Written by Olin Coles   
Friday, 03 April 2009
Table of Contents: Page Index
Sapphire Radeon HD 4890 RV790 Video Card
Radeon HD 4890 Features
RV790 GPU Specifications
Radeon 4890 Closer Look
Video Card Testing Methodology
3DMark06 Benchmarks
COD 4 Fraps Benchmarks
Crysis Benchmark Results
Devil May Cry 4 Benchmark
Far Cry 2 Benchmark
World in Conflict Benchmarks
Radeon HD 4890 Temperatures
VGA Power Consumption
Radeon 4800-Series Final Thoughts
Radeon HD 4890 Conclusion

Crysis Benchmark Results

Crysis uses a new graphics engine: the CryENGINE2, which is the successor to Far Cry's CryENGINE. CryENGINE2 is among the first engines to use the Direct3D 10 (DirectX10) framework of Windows Vista, but can also run using DirectX9, both on Vista and Windows XP.

Roy Taylor, Vice President of Content Relations at NVIDIA, has spoken on the subject of the engine's complexity, stating that Crysis has over a million lines of code, 1GB of texture data, and 85,000 shaders. To get the most out of modern multicore processor architectures, CPU intensive subsystems of CryENGINE 2 such as physics, networking and sound, have been re-written to support multi-threading.

Crysis offers an in-game benchmark tool, which is similar to World in Conflict. This short test does place some high amounts of stress on a graphics card, since there are so many landscape features rendered. For benchmarking purposes, Crysis can mean trouble as it places a high demand on both GPU and CPU resources. Benchmark Reviews uses the Crysis Benchmark Tool by Mad Boris to test frame rates in batches, which allows the results of many tests to be averaged.

The very first thing we discovered during our 1680x1050 resolution tests was how well NVIDIA products performed compared to the Radeon product line. Test results like these begin to raise the question of how unbiased games like Crysis are when they proudly proclaim "NVIDIA: The way it was meant to be played". I don't consider this to be coincidence, but at the same time it's probably also not coincidence that Crysis demands more GPU power than any other product, which was perfect for a time when AMD/ATI couldn't build a decent VGA product to save their lives (literally).

Analyzing the chart below illustrates two distinct trends. The first is that the Radeon HD 4870 and GeForce GTX 260 are virtually identical in terms of Crysis gaming performance. The second trend tries to convince us that the Radeon HD 4890 and an overclocked GeForce GTX 285 can beat or match the performance of an outrageously overclocked (and liquid-cooled) 4870 X2. I suppose that some of readers, those famous for skipping to this (Crysis) test and the conclusion, will fall for the punch line. The rest of us have seen the test results from the previous two sections, and already know the joke.


With only a small dose of anti-aliasing added to Crysis, there are very few products that would make for playable frame rates. Our Island time-demo mixes a some beach and water views, so it's going to be on the high side of frame rates when compared to actual game play. The results shown in the chart below illustrate (more distinctly) how well NVIDIA products scale with anti-aliasing enabled.

It would be easy to accuse NVIDIA of some level of driver code favoring, but there is one glaring piece of evidence in their defense: AMD/ATI graphic cards stop at 8x AA, while modern GeForce products reach 16x Q AA before calling it quits. So with this being an undisputed fact among our test products, it makes more sense to see the GTX 285 outperform the Sapphire Radeon HD 4870 X2 Atomic ST-6026, but it still appears Crysis does not treat Radeon dual-GPU products the same as NVIDIA products. The Radeon HD 4890 actually approaches identical performance with a single RV790 GPU compared to dual-RV770's in the Radeon HD 4870 X2, while the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 295 roars ahead of the others despite the results we've seen in every other test.


At the end of our Crysis testing, it was apparent that heavy post-processing effects are still an obstacle that Radeon HD video cards have yet to clear. NVIDIA probably isn't surprised to see the GTX 285 and GeForce GTX 295 make the top of our charts for performance with 4x AA enabled. It's worth noting that most products used in this review have been used in past articles and tested at-length on our X48 benchmark system, with the results being comparable all throughout to these X58 results.

Product Series NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT Reference Design Sapphire Radeon HD 4850 102-B50102-00-AT NVIDIA GeForce GTX 260216 Reference Design Sapphire Radeon HD 4870 102-B50701-10-AT Radeon HD 4890 GDDR5 Video Card ASUS GeForce GTX 285 ENGTX285 TOP Sapphire Radeon HD 4870 X2 Atomic ST-6026 NVIDIA GeForce GTX 295 Reference Design
Stream Processors 112 800 216 800 800 240 1600 480
Core Clock (MHz) 600 625 576 750 850 670 800 576
Shader Clock (MHz) 1457 N/A 1242 N/A N/A 1550 N/A 1242
Memory Clock (MHz) 950 993 999 900 975 1300 1000 999
Memory Amount 512 MB GDDR3 512 MB GDDR3 896 MB GDDR3

512 MB GDDR5

896 MB GDDR3 1024 MB GDDR3 1024MB (x2) GDDR5 1024MB (x2) GDDR3
Memory Interface 256-bit 256-bit 448-bit 256-bit 256-bit 512-bit 256-bit 512-bit

In our next section, Benchmark Reviews tests with Devil May Cry 4 Benchmark. Read on to see how a blended high-demand GPU test with low video frame buffer demand will impact our test products.


Comments have been disabled by the administrator.

Search Benchmark Reviews

Like Benchmark Reviews on FacebookFollow Benchmark Reviews on Twitter