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 Post subject: PowerColor SCS HD4650: A Fanless Budget Graphics Card
PostPosted: Fri Feb 06, 2009 7:56 pm 
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PowerColor SCS HD4650: A Fanless Budget Graphics Card


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 06, 2009 9:16 pm 
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That's twisted man! :twisted:

(sorry, couldn't resist, but it looks like it was manufactured in the pub at closing time)

Re the power consumption at idle:
Quote:
It's difficult to pinpoint exactly why the idle power is so high. It may be the result of differences in chipset implementation by the manufacturer, or the use of slower, yet more power hungry memory, or a combination of both. It's hard to believe either factor alone could result in an extra 12W

My guess is that the 4650, being a retail model, does not undervolt at idle, whereas the reference 4670 you tested does. This could account for a significant portion of the difference. (It would be interesting to see the results of a retail 4670 in the SPCR testbed compared to the reference card)


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 07, 2009 3:57 am 
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When I reviewed the 4670, I got idle power reads at 25W (48W load)--3W idle seems far too low. Maybe re-check it? I also got higher power consumption results from the 4650, at 25/ 40W (although the 4650 was factory-overclocked).

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Feb 07, 2009 5:21 am 
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My Powercolor 4670 also needs 15-20W in idle. It's a manufacturer problem, they saved expenses in hardware or BIOS validation. This topic came already up here, but I'm still puzzled why some websites read a very low idle consumption with the Powercolor.


Last edited by jojo4u on Sat Feb 07, 2009 6:34 am, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Feb 07, 2009 5:26 am 
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yours look broken.

Image

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Feb 07, 2009 5:46 am 
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I dont see why they had to underclock the GPU to get it passive, it would seem more than capable of cooling the reference speed, they could even make it a few fins longer if they had to.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Feb 07, 2009 7:51 am 
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FartingBob wrote:
I dont see why they had to underclock the GPU to get it passive, it would seem more than capable of cooling the reference speed, they could even make it a few fins longer if they had to.

They didn't. There are currently passive HD4670 on the market from Saphire and HIS and I have seen a review of a passive Asus. For whatever reason more advanced HD46XX products (ie passive cooling and/or powerplay voltage control like the reference) have been slow to develop. Apparently, the <$100 market is just not competitive enough. Indeed, the passive HIS (first to market) is still well over $100. I think there is a feeling that this market segment is not well informed and doesn't much care about such features. This may well be true, in a general sense, as HD4670 is still a bit underpowered for the serious gamer who are the main patrons of most hardware review sites.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Feb 07, 2009 9:51 am 
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I recently bought one of these - I wanted a cheap passively cooled card with 2 DVI ports.

I'm certain the high idle power figures are because the Powerplay functionality wasn't working. Powerplay works by throttling the clock speeds and the GPU voltage down when the 3D processing load is low. This accounts for the dramatic power consumption reduction observed for the 4670 based video card in the idle mode. Without Powerplay, there is a reduction in power under reduced load, but it is much smaller. The same behavior is noticeable with CPUs - the highest power consumption occurs with the heaviest processing load.

I installed my card with the Catalyst 9.1 driver in Windows XP and could not find the expected Powerplay tab in the Catalyst Control Center. Nor could I find any evidence that the clock rates were being throttled back under light processing loads. However, after experimenting with the manual adjustment of the memory clock via the Overdrive tab, I noticed that the clock rates shown did respond to changes in the video processing load. At this point, I don't know if this is a Catalyst 9.1 bug or feature, or whether there is some configuration or bios issue.

As an aside, it would be interesting to produce some benchmarks showing the effect of the memory clock for the 4650 GPU. There are 4650 cards being sold with memory clocks ranging from 400 MHz to 900 MHz. Some of the ones with the lower clock rates actually have a full GB of memory. In practice, the reduced memory bandwidth at lower clock rates is likely to bottleneck the the GPU.

Robert


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Feb 08, 2009 3:55 am 
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What are the measures of the heatsink? Is it recommended a fan on the heatsink in your opinion?


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 08, 2009 12:30 pm 
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osmium 76 -The heat sink is about 20 mm deep and 150 x 90 mm length x width. In idle mode (with the GPU and memory running at 300 MHz) it runs quite cool. The temperature reading in ATI Catalyst Control Centre is 35-36 degrees C. There is a 120 mm case fan some distance above the card. if I remove the side of the case, the air flow around the video card is reduced and I get a reading of 41 degrees C. These temperature measurements were obtained with an ambient temperature of about 20 degrees C. If your case doesn't have a fan or some other way of ensuring air circulation, then I suspect that this card, or any comparable one, would get fairly hot with an intensive 3D processing load. One could limit the maximum power consumption by using the ATI Overdrive or similar utilities to back off on the maximum GPU clock rate.

Robert


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Feb 08, 2009 10:40 pm 
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after the original SPCR review I was dead keen on getting a 4670, or if money was really tight, a 4650, but given the uncertainty of the idle draw I think I'll skip. The low low idle draw was the main reason for wanting a 4670 as the 9600GT is a similar price here and around 15% better in games. If I can't rely on the figures here I'd rather go with a 9600GT, at least the data on that card seem consistent.

Other than that, given the shoddiness of heatsink construction, would you really trust this card?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Feb 09, 2009 1:11 am 
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rinkol wrote:
I installed my card with the Catalyst 9.1 driver in Windows XP and could not find the expected Powerplay tab in the Catalyst Control Center.
I've got a 4350 with Catalyst 9.1 under WinXP, and I also see no PowerPlay tab. Why not? I was curious about the idle draw on the various cards; I figure they're mostly idling, so it would be nice if they're not wasting energy and dumping heat into the box unless there's a reason.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Feb 09, 2009 4:32 am 
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matthemuppet - I don't really consider the heatsink to be shoddy. It probably wouldn't be a good idea to pull the card out by grabbing the heatsink, but I think it should be OK for practical use. SATA connectors make me more nervous.

I suspect the differences in the measured power consumption are a result of implementation details such as the choice of throttled frequency. I took a look at the readings in the Catalyst Control Center for an Asus 3650 Magic with the Catalyst 8.12 drivers and was surprised to see 110 MHz for the GPU (its 300 MHz for the Powercolor 4650). It may be that some vendors are more aggressive than others in the settings for the power saving features. I have the impression that one could achieve the same by using a third party utility.

Robert


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Feb 09, 2009 4:42 am 
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TalkinHorse - I inspected the CCC menus for an Asus 3650 Magic running the Catalyst 8.12 drivers. There was no Powerplay tab visible. However, with the system idling, near the bottom of the Overdrive menu, a GPU frequency of 110 MHz was shown. it would appear that some vendors are more aggressive than others in setting the idle state GPU clock frequency - at any rate it doesn't seem to be a fixed fraction of the maximum clock frequency. This could account for the differences that have been noted in power consumption between different brands. There are other variables, such as the supply voltage applied to the GPU, though even here, a low GPU idle frequency might also allow a more aggressive reduction in the idle state GPU voltage.

Robert


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Feb 09, 2009 4:01 pm 
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A more practical question - exactly how much faster, if any, would this be compared to my X1900XT? The specs on a stock HD4650 look to be about a little better(20% or so), but this card is under-clocked...

A cheaper, lower power, and faster card than my X1900XT with a S1 added to it might be worth considering. IF it is noticeably faster.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Feb 09, 2009 5:34 pm 
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rinkol wrote:
TalkinHorse - I inspected the CCC menus for an Asus 3650 Magic running the Catalyst 8.12 drivers. There was no Powerplay tab visible. However, with the system idling, near the bottom of the Overdrive menu, a GPU frequency of 110 MHz was shown.
Thanks for pointing out this detail! Yes, I'm looking at the Overdrive tab now, and it indeed indicates the GPU clock throttles down to 110 MHz on a non-graphical screen, but it jumps to 600 MHz when I start a graphical process. Memory clock stays unchanged at 500 MHz. Temperature eventually climbs from low 50's to high 60's at high clock. This is the MSI 4350 with a passive heatsink.

HIS offers another passive heatsink (in this case, a Zalman). I wonder if this unit drops below 300 MHz when idle?

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814161253


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Feb 10, 2009 1:47 pm 
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There is no substitute for mass. When in doubt, go with the largest chunk of cooling that you can reasonably fit in the case.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Feb 11, 2009 11:00 am 
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@Lawrence Lee: I'd suggest, that you start to pay more attention in reviews to the fact if Powerplay is enabled and functional.

SPCR review of 4670 started a lot of buzz, but no user could repeat the magic low power consumption. I start to belive that ATI/AMD is cheating with review samples.

Back to review:
Can you provide the frekvencies for GPU and memory and voltage in idle?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Feb 13, 2009 11:50 am 
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Yes, please do post powerplay measurements. Over on this http://www.silentpcreview.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=50039&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=330 big HD4670 thread, there has been lots of discussion on it.

Some manufacturers are shipping the reference design with the adjustable VRM needed to support powerplay, while others are omitting that component and shipping fixed-voltage. The difference at idle is dramatic, and varies by several watts.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Feb 13, 2009 11:20 pm 
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kaotikfunk wrote:
Some manufacturers are shipping the reference design with the adjustable VRM needed to support powerplay

Who? As far as I can tell none are, as the best readings people are getting on production cards is around 10W vs. 3W SPCR got on the reference card. I think the reason you are seeing lower draw on some cards is not proper implementation of Powerplay, but just better cooling and/or voltage regulation than others. Or have you seen some reviews of production cards with <<10W idle draw?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Feb 26, 2009 2:59 am 
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Hi guys,

I have the exact same card (PowerColor 4650 fanless SCS3), and some advanced features are greyed out and not accessible in Catalyst 9.2 :
- deinterlacing : choice between bob and weave only
- denoise blocked at 64%
- edge enhancement not available,
etc

I read this was a BIOS problem, with BIOS 011.0xx with xx < 11 blocking those features.

Can anyone confirm ?

And if this is the case, do you know of a way to flash a new BIOS ??

Thanks


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