Filling the Gap: ATI Radeon HD 4830

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ATI Radeon HD 4830 Review

October 26, 2008 by Lawrence Lee

ATI Radeon HD 4830 512MB
PCI-E Video Card
Street Price

In these trying economic times, it's hard to justify the cost of a high performance graphics card — especially when you consider that video cards are superceded at least once every half year, and subject to the law of diminishing returns — the more you pay, the less increase in performance you get. For those who are financially conservative, the object of our desire is the best product for the price, or colloquially, the best bang-for-your-buck.

Earlier this year, ATI released the HD 4850, an excellent card at an excellent price. It offered so much value that in reaction, nVidia immediately lowered the price on their Geforce 9800 GTX, and then quickly pushed out the improved 9800 GTX+. The 4000 series is one of ATI's most successful in recently memory, and also one of the most wide-ranging. There's the HD 4870 X2 at the top — widely lauded as the best performance graphics card on the market — followed by the 4870 and 4850. With the HD 4670 going for $80 and the HD 4850 for $170, it was logical for ATI to fill the price gap. At $130, the HD 4830 looks to follow in the tradition of its brethren and represent very good value.

The Radeon HD 4830.

The HD 4830 is essentially a cut-down version of the HD 4850. Its core and memory speeds have been reduced and it features only 640 stream processing units down from 800. These small differences shouldn't affect performance too much but it should be easier to cool and consume less power than the HD 4850.

ATI Radeon 4830: Specifications
(from the product web page)
Fabrication process
956 million transistors on 55nm
Interface PCI Express 2.0 x16 bus
Memory interface 256-bit GDDR3
Microsoft® DirectX® 10.1 support * Shader Model 4.1
* 32-bit floating point texture filtering
* Indexed cube map arrays
* Independent blend modes per render target
* Pixel coverage sample masking
* Read/write multi-sample surfaces with shaders
* Gather4 texture fetching
Unified Superscalar Shader Architecture *640 stream processing units
-Dynamic load balancing and resource allocation for vertex, geometry, and pixel shaders
-Common instruction set and texture unit access supported for all types of shaders
-Dedicated branch execution units and texture address processors

*128-bit floating point precision for all operations
*Command processor for reduced CPU overhead
*Shader instruction and constant caches
*Up to 160 texture fetches per clock cycle
*Up to 128 textures per pixel
*Fully associative multi-level texture cache design
*DXTC and 3Dc+ texture compression
*High resolution texture support (up to 8192 x 8192)
*Fully associative texture Z/stencil cache designs
*Double-sided hierarchical Z/stencil buffer
*Early Z test and Fast Z Clear
*Lossless Z & stencil compression (up to 128:1)
*Lossless color compression (up to 8:1)
*Up to 8 render targets (MRTs) with anti-aliasing
*Accelerated physics processing
Dynamic Geometry Acceleration * High performance vertex cache
* Programmable tessellation unit
* Accelerated geometry shader path for geometry amplification
* Memory read/write cache for improved stream output performance
Anti-aliasing features * Multi-sample anti-aliasing (2, 4, or 8 samples per pixel)
* Up to 24x Custom Filter Anti-Aliasing (CFAA) for improved quality
* Adaptive super-sampling and multi-sampling
* Gamma correct
* Super AA (ATI CrossFireX™ configurations only)
* All anti-aliasing features compatible with HDR rendering
Texture filtering features * 2x/4x/8x/16x high quality adaptive anisotropic filtering modes (up to 128 taps per pixel)
* 128-bit floating point HDR texture filtering
* sRGB filtering (gamma/degamma)
* Percentage Closer Filtering (PCF)
* Depth & stencil texture (DST) format support
* Shared exponent HDR (RGBE 9:9:9:5) texture format support
OpenGL 2.1 support  
ATI Avivo™ HD Video and Display Platform *Unified Video Decoder 2 (UVD 2) for H.264/AVC, VC-1, and MPEG-2 video formats
-High definition (HD) playback of Blu-ray and HD DVD video2
-Dual stream (HD+SD) playback support
-DirectX Video Acceleration 1.0 & 2.0 support
-Support for BD-Live certified applications

*Hardware DivX and MPEG-1 video decode acceleration

*ATI Avivo Video Post Processor
-Color space conversion
-Chroma subsampling format conversion
-Horizontal and vertical scaling
-Gamma correction
-Advanced vector adaptive per-pixel de-interlacing
-De-blocking and noise reduction filtering
-Detail enhancement
-Color vibrance and flesh tone correction
-Inverse telecine (2:2 and 3:2 pull-down correction)
-Bad edit correction
-Enhanced DVD upscaling (SD to HD)
-Automatic dynamic contrast adjustment

*Two independent display controllers
-Drive two displays simultaneously with independent resolutions, refresh rates, color controls and video overlays for each display
-Full 30-bit display processing
-Programmable piecewise linear gamma correction, color correction, and color space conversion
-Spatial/temporal dithering provides 30-bit color quality on 24-bit and 18-bit displays
-High quality pre- and post-scaling engines, with underscan support for all display outputs
-Content-adaptive de-flicker filtering for interlaced displays
-Fast, glitch-free mode switching
-Hardware cursor

*Two integrated dual-link DVI display outputs
-Each supports 18-, 24-, and 30-bit digital displays at all resolutions up to 1920x1200 (single-link DVI) or 2560x1600 (dual-link DVI)
-Each includes a dual-link HDCP encoder with on-chip key storage for high resolution playback of protected content

*Two integrated 400 MHz 30-bit RAMDACs
-Each supports analog displays connected by VGA at all resolutions up to 2048x15363

*DisplayPort output support
-24- and 30-bit displays at all resolutions up to 2560x1600

*HDMI output support
-All display resolutions up to 1920x10803
-Integrated HD audio controller with support for stereo and multi-channel (up to 7.1) audio formats, including AC-3, AAC, DTS5, enabling a plug-and-play audio solution over HDMI

*Integrated AMD Xilleon™ HDTV encoder
-Provides high quality analog TV output (component/S-video/composite)
-Supports SDTV and HDTV resolutions
-Underscan and overscan compensation

*Seamless integration of pixel shaders with video in real time
*VGA mode support on all display outputs
ATI PowerPlay™ Technology *Advanced power management technology for optimal performance and power savings

-Constantly monitors GPU activity, dynamically adjusting clocks and voltage based on user scenario
-Clock and memory speed throttling
-Voltage switching
-Dynamic clock gating
-Central thermal management – on-chip sensor monitors GPU temperature and triggers thermal actions as required
ATI CrossFireX™ Multi-GPU Technology *Scale up rendering performance and image quality with two, three, or four GPUs
*Integrated compositing engine
*High performance dual channel bridge interconnect

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