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MP3 SOUND RECORDINGS
These recordings were made with a high
resolution, lab quality, digital recording system inside SPCR's
own 11 dBA ambient anechoic chamber, then converted to LAME 128kbps
encoded MP3s. We've listened long and hard to ensure there is no audible degradation
from the original WAV files to these MP3s. They represent a quick snapshot of
what we heard during the review.
These recordings are intended to give you an idea of how the product sounds
in actual use one meter is a reasonable typical distance between a computer
or computer component and your ear. The recording contains stretches of ambient
noise that you can use to judge the relative loudness of the subject. Be aware
that very quiet subjects may not be audible if we couldn't hear it from
one meter, chances are we couldn't record it either!
The recording starts with 5~10 seconds of room ambiance, followed by 5~10 seconds
of the VGA test system without a video card installed, and then the actual product's
noise at various levels. As this particular card did not add any noise the test
system, we have provided only a recording of the test system with its system
fan set to the levels tested. For the most realistic results, set the
volume so that the starting ambient level is just barely audible, then don't
change the volume setting again.
Gaming: Please check out gaming-oriented reviews of the ATI HD 4870 at techPowerUp,
The Tech Report,
The general consensus is that the HD 4870 performance is on par with the pricier GeForce GTX 260. A 512MB version like the Matrix will deliver excellent
frame rates on the majority of PC titles if played at 1680x1050 resolution or
lower. It does a passable job at higher resolutions, though a 1GB model would
be better in this regard.
Cooling/Noise: The Asus 4870 Matrix cooler was a big disappointment. It kept the GPU
cooler than the reference ATI cooler, but the minimum
speed of both fans was too high. One fan cannot be controlled at all, while the
other can only be turned off or set to spin even faster! At first we were amazed
at how quiet the card was... until we realized neither fan was spinning and the
GPU temperature was increasing steadily. Eventually the main fan turned itself
on, then off again, repeating ad nauseum in an inane cycle. The reference cooler by comparison
was very quiet its noise level during load was equal to the Matrix
when idle, at least during the "fan on" portion of its cycle.
Power: By our estimates, the HD 4870 Matrix requires about
48W idle in Power Saving mode and up to 140W when stressed to the limit if used
with the overclocked Optimized/Gaming profile. This is the highest power draw we've measured on any graphics card thus far, exceeding the both the reference ATI HD 4870 1GB card and the Asus
ENGTX260 by a small margin.
The Asus HD 4870 Matrix left us with mixed reactions. The amount of frequency
and voltage customization provided by Asus' iTracker utility is truly impressive
it gives enthusiasts unparalleled control to maximize the card's performance
in 3D mode while minimizing its power consumption when idle. Overshadowing this
incredible feature is the dismal fan control implementation. The noise generated
is also amplified by the fans' undesirable acoustic characteristics. If faced with
a choice, we would pick the reference ATI cooler over the Matrix cooler. Recent ATI price drop makes HD 4870 cards the best value in mid-range
performance graphics, but the premium charged for the Asus Matrix is difficult to justify. We certainly hope the iTracker utility is impelemted in a card that's better implemented, acoustically speaking nicer sounding fans, and better fan control. Meanwhile, perhaps Asus can correct basic fan control problems with a firmware update to the card.
Asus EAH4870 MATRIX /HTDI/512MD5
* Excellent core GPU control
* Excellent 3D performance
* Main fan cycles on / off
* Fans too noisy at any setting
Our thanks to ASUSTeK
for the video card sample.
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Articles of Related Interest
PowerColor SCS HD4650: A Fanless
Budget Graphics Card
the Gap: ATI Radeon HD 4830
Redefining Budget Gaming Graphics: ATI's
Asus ENGTX260: A Quiet Graphics
Card for Gamers?
Diamond Radeon HD4850
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