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 Post subject: Redefining Budget Gaming Graphics: ATI's HD 4670
PostPosted: Mon Oct 13, 2008 2:28 pm 
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Redefining Budget Gaming Graphics: ATI's HD 4670

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 13, 2008 2:49 pm 
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I'd imagine with any good aftermarket cooler, or oem design with larger fan and/or 2 slots, this is the best option for a mid-range performance card in almost any system. Also probably the best option for many htpc's as well. It's definitely something I will recommend to anyone who doesn't need top flight gaming performance from a 48xx or GTX 2xx. Anyways, great review Mike, the idle power usage is really useful info for knowing this card is almost as power efficient as integrated.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 13, 2008 3:06 pm 
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Wow. That's pretty amazing for the power figures. I looked on newegg and found a few different models of 4670 and it seems to be a popular one to make different cooler designs on, although almost all of them have complaints except the large dual-slot design. It seems there's just no way around the fact that if you want a quiet cooler, you need to make room for it. That would be fine by me though. Maybe it is time for me to replace my 7800GT soon?

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 13, 2008 4:36 pm 
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So inexpensive that non-gamers get some real gaming performance at little to no extra cost too. Cards with alternative coolers seem plentiful already.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 13, 2008 7:18 pm 
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8800GT uses around the same amount of power, but gives you MUCH better performance, and only costs around $30 more. Only thing the 4670 has is a shorter PCB Form Factor. But as long as your case can support longer video cards, the 512mb 8800gt is better in every aspect. Also nvidia drivers are still superior to ati.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 13, 2008 8:22 pm 
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Can this thing run 3 monitors at the same time?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Oct 13, 2008 10:30 pm 
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This card would be a killer HTPC card with a passive cooler like Accelero S2. A good alternative for mid-resolutions.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Oct 13, 2008 11:42 pm 
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I just purchased one of these cards a week ago; mine's by HIS Digital, the IceQ edition. Non-superclocked, which means it's a whole 30mhz slower. Ah well; mine was $86 at NewEgg, $20 cheaper than the IceQ T, and since 3omhz for another $20 wasn't worth it, I coughed up a total of $101 for tax and shipping. I really did get fleeced for these two things, but the price of the card itself was closer to the general MSRP for the 4670 cards, so I'm not too unhappy.

The Arctic cooler on the card is fricking amazing. That's coming from a guy who has been absolutely spoiled by a passive-cooled Gigabyte Silent Pipe II nVidia 7600GT ... for two years. The cooler on my 4670 is as inaudible as the 7600GT was. Can't be heard over the 3 fans I have (all Nexus) turned down to 5V. Not even at full load.

I'm totally blown away by this card. I knew ahead of time that I'd been spoiled for zero noise and great performance by the old Gigabyte card, so I was a little leery of replacing it. But the old card died, and as there's no passively-cooled 4670 on the market, I went with the one that looked to have the best cooler. I wasn't disappointed.

The thing idles a wee bit cooler than the 7600GT; this one's in the mid-40s or less. The 4670 chip itself doesn't run quite as hot as the 4780 or the 4850, and HIS has come up with a very smart cooler that doesn't let the chip run all the way into the red while just idling, unlike the higher-end 4000-series cards.

Anyway, ya'll need to know that this card is fantastic for any application. No, really. Gaming, HTPC, desktop stuff, you name it. Unless it suddenly dies on me in a few months (inexplicable gremlin infestation, perhaps?), I can't say enough positive things about it.

If you're on the fence about getting one of these, maybe the review and benchmarks over at TechReport will help. Basically, the 4670 walks all over pretty much everything even close to its class, and for HTPC usage, trounces the best of the best from higher-end cards offered by nVidia. It goes almost without saying that it's got better power draw than anything they offer, too.

Still, if you're looking for 3D gaming performance, and you're willing to spend $40 or more higher than the typical $80 price for the 4670 (on cards with louder coolers), you probably would be better off buying a card from nVidia. But now you're well into the $100s for price points, and the fact that you have to go that far into it to find something that can beat the 4670 says quite a bit. ;)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Oct 14, 2008 12:07 am 
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Aris wrote:
8800GT uses around the same amount of power, but gives you MUCH better performance, and only costs around $30 more. Only thing the 4670 has is a shorter PCB Form Factor. But as long as your case can support longer video cards, the 512mb 8800gt is better in every aspect. Also nvidia drivers are still superior to ati.

Xbitlabs has it 8.7/47.1 for 4670 and 34.6/78.3 for 8800GT (idle/load W). Hardly around the same amount of power.

Which one have the best drivers are a bit subjective. I haven't had any problem with either the last few years.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 14, 2008 12:47 am 
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Too bad the SPL and GPU temperature wheren't tested with the fan at 25%. I kind of missed that. Otherwise a good review.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Oct 14, 2008 4:07 am 
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nightmorph wrote:
Still, if you're looking for 3D gaming performance, and you're willing to spend $40 or more higher than the typical $80 price for the 4670 (on cards with louder coolers), you probably would be better off buying a card from nVidia. But now you're well into the $100s for price points, and the fact that you have to go that far into it to find something that can beat the 4670 says quite a bit. ;)

It is still possible to get a G92-based GeForce 9600 GSO for $50 after rebate. Mine is happy at 680/1700/975 with a fairly quiet 2-slot cooler. It certainly requires more electrical power than the 4670, but it is both faster and (hopefully) cheaper.

The HD 4670 is a great design, and AMD should be able to make a nice profit on them even at $50 a card.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Oct 14, 2008 4:30 am 
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@MikeC: since the stock cooler is not acceptable by SPCR standards, it would be nice to investigate the mounting of aftermarket coolers on it.
In the forums there was a post from an early adopter which had problems cooling it passively.
Not because the GPU became hot, it didn't, but because the VRMs weren't properly cooled - this seems to be an issue with other modern cards too.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Oct 14, 2008 5:02 am 
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QuietOC wrote:
It is still possible to get a G92-based GeForce 9600 GSO for $50 after rebate. Mine is happy at 680/1700/975 with a fairly quiet 2-slot cooler. It certainly requires more electrical power than the 4670, but it is both faster and (hopefully) cheaper.

From all reviews I've read, the 9600GSO isn't really faster, especially not with AA applied. Consensus seems to be the HD4670 is about as fast overall as the 9600 GSO, with the 9600GT slightly faster. That's true for non-overclocked settings at least, the GSO has more overclocking potential than the 9600GT (and more than the HD4670 too I think). Not sure about prices, the only way you can get 9600GSO cheaper than HD4670 seems to be with MIR (which don't exist in Europe).
Quote:
The HD 4670 is a great design, and AMD should be able to make a nice profit on them even at $50 a card.

That much is true. If you look at 9600GT/9600GSO, those are MUCH more complex cards (and much larger and thus more expensive chips), the HD4670 must be way more profitable at the same price point... Too bad AMD skimped a bit on the fan - at least it got a decent fan control...


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Oct 14, 2008 6:22 am 
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TechReport has a good comparison of power draw. The 4670 spanks even the 9600GT, and the 9800GT (nee 8800GT) uses far more power. The Nvidia cards may be faster, but an SPCRer with a smaller monitor should consider the 4670 carefully.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Oct 14, 2008 6:30 am 
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mczak wrote:
From all reviews I've read, the 9600GSO isn't really faster, especially not with AA applied.

FWIW: my GSO runs the same clockspeeds as this one. I mainly play Team Fortress 2 at 1600x1200x8XCSAA and get framerates around 100 fps. It is an all around better card than the 256 MB 8800GT I got last December for $236 (the extra 128 MB might actually be worth losing 64-bits of bus width.)


Last edited by QuietOC on Tue Oct 14, 2008 8:51 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Oct 14, 2008 6:52 am 
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Aris wrote:
8800GT uses around the same amount of power, but gives you MUCH better performance, and only costs around $30 more. Only thing the 4670 has is a shorter PCB Form Factor. But as long as your case can support longer video cards, the 512mb 8800gt is better in every aspect. Also nvidia drivers are still superior to ati.


1. I agree that Nvidia drivers are generally superior to ATI. They almost always have been better and may or may not continue to be better in the future.

2. Until Nvidia addresses their reliability issues I won't buy any 8xxx or 9xxx cards. See http://www.silentpcreview.com/forums/vi ... p?p=433113 for discussion and links to further reading material.

I have a 7800GT, a 6600, a 4200, etc and have never had a single problem with Nvidia cards of any make or model. I simply won't take the chance of having the problems that are widely reported on current Nvidia cards.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Oct 14, 2008 7:14 am 
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dhanson865 wrote:
I have a 7800GT, a 6600, a 4200, etc and have never had a single problem with Nvidia cards of any make or model. I simply won't take the chance of having the problems that are widely reported on current Nvidia cards.

I don't think I have ever had any computer hardware from any company that hasn't had some problem. I had a 7900GS that would lock up the computer occasionally probably due to insufficient stock cooling. ATi has had fine drivers since the Rage 128 circa 2000. Why can't nVidia drivers handle video crashes yet?


Last edited by QuietOC on Tue Oct 14, 2008 8:53 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Oct 14, 2008 8:43 am 
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QuietOC wrote:
dhanson865 wrote:
I have a 7800GT, a 6600, a 4200, etc and have never had a single problem with Nvidia cards of any make or model. I simply won't take the chance of having the problems that are widely reported on current Nvidia cards.

I don't think I have ever had any computer hardware from any company that hasn't had some problem. I had a 7900GS that would lock up occasionally probably due to insufficient stock cooling. ATi has had fine drivers since the Rage 128 circa 2000. Why can't nVidia drivers handle video crashes yet?


Why can't ATI drivers not cause a BSOD on boot yet? I've yet to use an ATI card which hasn't given me serious driver issues.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 14, 2008 9:35 am 
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I wonder if they will get PowerPlay working on the 48x0 series too?

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Oct 14, 2008 9:58 am 
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dhanson865 wrote:
ATi has had fine drivers since the Rage 128 circa 2000.


That's a joke, right?

I've owned a Voodoo 2, Rage 128, TNT2 Ultra, Gefore 3 (original), Radeon 9800 Pro and now a 7800GT so I feel I have some good representation from both firms.

The Geforce 3 and Radeon boxes are still up and used for some light gaming occasionally (Counter-Strike on the Geforce and any Source game on the Radeon) and still, the ATI driver interfaces are clunky, slower and just generally more difficult to navigate than any Nvidia package. From an aesthetics standpoint they're a disaster and I really feel for any non-technical person that has to do even elementary things such as setting up a dual-monitor rig.

The ATI drivers used to be legitimately bad and it wasn't until well into the R300 core that they finally turned their act around. Nvidia just gets boned recently due to Vista being a drastic failure for pretty much all drivers, regardless of hardware but that's more or less the same for all new Microsoft OS releases. I remember it was months before I could use my Soundblaster Audigy in Windows XP because they couldn't cook the drivers. And of course neither Creative nor Microsoft wanted to take any responsibility. With the advent of SP1 I think a great deal of driver anxiety has been settled with Nvidia but performance still suffers compared to XP, and that's something I can't afford running three-year-old hardware.

I'm just glad that ATI finally seems to have its act together because it brings better products to the consumer at a cheaper price.

I think I'll hold onto my 7800 GT (with Accelero on there) and see how it fares against Fallout 3, Dead Space, Red Alert 3, GTA IV, Left 4 Dead, etc. before I plunk down cash for any new hardware. I'm not really interested in Crysis because it's just generally a bad game so I'm not really gonna spend $500 on graphics gear. I ran through Bioshock about a month ago for the second time with no real problems and even though the game is over a year old it still pushes hardware pretty decently.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Oct 14, 2008 10:51 am 
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hikeskool wrote:
dhanson865 wrote:
ATi has had fine drivers since the Rage 128 circa 2000.


That's a joke, right?

I've owned a Voodoo 2, Rage 128, TNT2 Ultra, Gefore 3 (original), Radeon 9800 Pro and now a 7800GT so I feel I have some good representation from both firms.

Yep, no driver problems here. Xpert 2000, Radeon 64 VIVO, Radeon 8500, Voodoo 5 5500, Radeon 9500 (softmod 9700 Pro), X800GTO, 7900GS, X1950GT, 8600GT, 8800GT, 7300GT, 9600GSO. I have had hardware related problems with several of those--mostly nVidia based products.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 14, 2008 11:20 am 
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QuietOC wrote:
Yep, no driver problems here. Xpert 2000, Radeon 64 VIVO, Radeon 8500, Voodoo 5 5500, Radeon 9500 (softmod 9700 Pro), X800GTO, 7900GS, X1950GT, 8600GT, 8800GT, 7300GT, 9600GSO. I have had hardware related problems with several of those--mostly nVidia based products.


Just because you personally have had no driver problems doesn't mean that, in general, ATI drivers haven't been inferior to Nvidia drivers for the better part of a decade.

That counts double for your hardware problems. The only hardware problem I've experienced is when I tried to install new heatsinks on the memory of my Geforce 2 GTS and did a poor job causing one RAM chip to overheat. Otherwise I've been OK with all my cards, ATI or Nvidia.

But again, you can't extrapolate your personal experiences on the entirety of the community, just like I can't. The majority of users will probably never have a hardware or driver-related problem.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 14, 2008 12:14 pm 
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hikeskool wrote:
The majority of users will probably never have a hardware or driver-related problem.

No, they will almost certainly have both hardware and driver related problems--and blame both on Microsoft! :)


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 14, 2008 12:28 pm 
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QuietOC wrote:
hikeskool wrote:
The majority of users will probably never have a hardware or driver-related problem.

No, they will almost certainly have both hardware and driver related problems--and blame both on Microsoft! :)


Here here.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 15, 2008 3:49 am 
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With regards to the card it self.

I have the 4670, sitting next to my system as there is a driver issue.

:P

The standard drivers 8.8 or 8.9 do not support this card at the moment, so only Manufacturers drivers should work. Problem is that I also have a 2600xt (gigabyte passive), and using the manufacturers drivers (in this case ASUS) causes so many issues it is not even funny.

So driver problems, hardware problems. Have them both. Lucky I'm educated enough to blame DAMMIT (AMD+ATI) for this :P

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 15, 2008 5:07 am 
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Welcome to SPCR!

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Last edited by dhanson865 on Wed Oct 15, 2008 11:07 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Oct 15, 2008 8:56 am 
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dhanson865 wrote:
Please learn to edit quotes properly. I never said that. The correct attribution would be to "QuietOC"


Please don't talk down to me.

It was a simple mistake.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 15, 2008 11:06 am 
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Welcome to SPCR!

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Last edited by dhanson865 on Thu Oct 16, 2008 3:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Oct 15, 2008 1:29 pm 
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prodeous wrote:
With regards to the card it self.

I have the 4670, sitting next to my system as there is a driver issue.

:P

The standard drivers 8.8 or 8.9 do not support this card at the moment, so only Manufacturers drivers should work. Problem is that I also have a 2600xt (gigabyte passive), and using the manufacturers drivers (in this case ASUS) causes so many issues it is not even funny.

So driver problems, hardware problems. Have them both. Lucky I'm educated enough to blame DAMMIT (AMD+ATI) for this :P


Catalyst 8.10 was release today.

http://ati.amd.com/support/driver.html

While the download link doesn't have it, you can select 4870 instead of 4670 and get to the 8.10 download page. If you look at the 8.10 release notes you'll see the 4670 is listed as supported by 8.10.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 15, 2008 4:41 pm 
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Hiya,

Tiny typo patrol, on page 4:

Quote:
the fan had an unpleasant, clickysound quality

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