HIS Radeon HD 4890 Turbo Edition

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Gaming: Please check out gaming-oriented reviews of the HD 4890 at techPowerUp, HardwareCanucks, and The Tech Report. The general consensus is that the HD 4890 is about 15% faster than the 1GB version of the HD 4870, a nice performance bump considering the price (especially since ATI's price cut was never made reality). Overclocked versions like the HIS Turbo of course will perform slightly better but come at a premium. It is an ideal graphics card for playing most modern titles at 1920x1200 resolution.

Cooling: The stock cooler is plainly audible when idle and its fan ramps up very quickly when the card is stressed. It does deliver pretty good temperatures, but the cost in noise is much too high. We've never been a huge proponent of ATI's stock coolers, but at least they kept the card practically inaudible when idle and at reasonable levels when stressed. The speakers would have to be cranked way up during gameplay to drown out the 4890's fan. The aggressive fan behavior has been noted on various 4890s by other hardware sites, so it does not seem to be specific to our sample or even HIS' version.

Power Consumption: By our estimates, the HIS Radeon HD 4890 Turbo requires about 71W idle and up to 149W when stressed to the limit. This is an increase of 4W idle and 15W load compared to the 4870, not a big difference when you consider the extra performance. That being said, ATI either needs to work some serious mojo on their PowerPlay technology or move on to a smaller manufacturing process if they wish to get their idle power usage down to nVidia's level.

The HD 4890 offers a moderate performance boost over the HD 4870 and merits significant consideration if you are looking for a $250 graphics card. The HIS Radeon HD 4890 Turbo is currently retailing for $300, but other overclocked versions can be had for a bit less. If noise is a concern, keep in mind that the aggressive fan control of cards utilizing the reference cooler makes it substantially louder than the 4870 cooler. nVidia also has a new card to compete directly against the 4890, the GeForce GTX 275; No comment beyond that here until we get one to examine closely.

HIS Radeon HD 4890 Turbo Edition

* Excellent 3D performance

* Fan aggressive, too loud
* High power consumption

Our thanks to HIS for the video card sample.

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