ATI Radeon HD 4890: The RV790 Unveiled - HotHardware

ATI Radeon HD 4890: The RV790 Unveiled

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For the purpose of this article, we got our hands on a couple of Asus-built Radeon HD 4890 cards--one standard reference card and one overclocked edition.


Asus calls their Radeon HD 4890 cards the EAH4890 (standard reference card) and the EAH4890 TOP (overclocked edition). Before we get to the particulars of each, we wanted to detail the accessory and software bundle Asus offers with the cards. Included with both the EAH4890 and EAH4890 TOP are driver and utility discs, a leather mouse pad, an HD component output dongle, an S-Video to Composite adapter, a CrossFire bridge connector, a dual 4-pin to Molex to 6-pin PCI Express power adapter, and DVI to VGA and HDMI (with audio) adapters. You'll also notice a large "Voltage Tweak" badge emblazoned on the box. Asus is also offering an updated version of their SmartDoctor utility with the cards, which gives users the ability to alter the GPU voltages for extreme overclocking. Cool stuff. 



Physically, the Radeon HD 4890 is similar to the Radeon HD 4870. The Radeon HD 4890 features a dual-slot cooling solution, and requires a pair of PCI Express 6-pin power feeds. Max board power has been increased to 190 W, but idle power should be somewhat lower than the 4870 according to AMD.

Along the top edge of the PCB you can see the dual CrossFire connectors, which allow the cards to be used in 2-, 3-, or 4-way CrossFireX configurations, and the outputs on the 4890 are identical to the 4870--dual Dual-Link DVI outputs and an HDTV output.

Clock speeds on stock reference Radeon HD 4890 cards like the EAH4890 will be 850MHz for the GPU and 975MHz for the GDDR5 RAM (3.9 Gbps effective). At those clocks, cards will offer 1.36 TFLOPS of compute performance, a pixel fillrate of 13.6 Gpixels/s, and 124.8GB/s of memory bandwidth, on a 256-bit memory bus. Overclocked cards like the EAH4890 TOP will also be available from a few of AMD's add-in board partners, which will likely increase GPU and memory clocks to the 900MHz+ and 1000MHz+ plus range. The EAH4890 TOP, for example, has a GPU clock of 900MHz and a memory clock of 1000MHz.


With the cooler removed, you can get a good look at the RV790 GPU at the heart of the Radeon HD 4890, and the eight Qimonda GDDR5 memory chips surrounding the GPU. The cooler features a large copper heatsink GPU, with heat-pipes linked to secondary aluminum heatsinks. The memory and the GPU both make contact with the cooler, which exhausts hot air from the system through vents in the card's case bracket.

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I knew this was coming. I myself am even though an ATI GPU user not excited about this card itself. I am excited about the prices that will result from it's release. Both AMD/Nvidia will most likely start another price war at least to some extent, bringing prices for performance down further.

Also as per there previous actions in the GPU battle before the 3800 line they released a stand alone top end of the preceding ATI high end card (the XT2950 I think it was). Then a two or three months later they dropped the 3870/50 models. So this may be a pre cursor to some sense.

I am not saying I have any inside info on it. Thats just what I remember them doing a couple years back. I also find it funny this card is a 55nm card, just like there last one, but rumour had it they were going to 45nm for there next GPU set.

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While the power consumption numbers put the 4890 and 4870 in a similar league, we can say the 4890 runs much cooler than the 4870. Our Asus Radeon HD 4890 cards idled at under 50'C and peaked in the mid 80's under load. But where we noticed the biggest difference was when we removed the cards from the test system. After testing, the Radeon HD 4890 felt very warm to the touch when removing it from the test rig, but the Radeon HD 4870 was so much hotter, it was almost too hot to handle without giving it a few minutes to cool down. Not exactly a scientific data point, but something we wanted to mention nonetheless.
I can attest to how hot the 4870s get. This is a huge plus for the 4890.

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The pace of new hardware coming out is a bit overwhelming but thrilling to.Im nowhere near some of you guys ability on obtaining some of this but one way or another Im setting my goals to at least getting an i7 and a Asus board this summer and just go from there!Hopefully with a stimulas check Im suppose to get from my disability will get me started.Maybe the i7/920 and the new Asus p6 with ddr3.Ive got 2 cases one Im redoing and one fairly new one to put something in and cant wait!ITs like going to a toy store everyday when I sign on to HH and read up on all the new tech/TOYS.Hopefully this year will better than last.

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