For the past month or so, the video card news has been dominated by the release of the ATI Radeon HD 4870 X2, HD 4870, HD 4850, and to a lesser extent, the geForce 9800GT. In my opinion, the latter two cards have permanently changed the future of the video card market. The HD 4850 gives what has been seen as upper-end video card performance for under $200. The 9800GT, with somewhat lesser performance, should have entered the market at around $200, but instead entered it at sub-$150 prices. Both of these cards will play DX10 games running AA, which has always been the main reason to purchase an upper-end video card. This has definitely raised the bar for all future upper-end video cards, from now on, a $350-$600 video card will be expected to give impressive FPS when running 4x or 8x AA. Future midrange cards will now be expected to run 2 x AA with ease.
Though the spotlight has always been on the upper-end and midrange cards, we have to face the facts, 2/3 of all video cards purchased each year cost under $100. The industry actually calls these "mainstream" cards. Both nVidia and ATI have built these cards for years, though they receive little attention from gaming and hardware websites. To be honest, I have paid little to no attention to the "mainstream" cards from either company, having owned only midrange gaming cards until earlier this year.
With the very impressive performance of the Radeon 4000 series gaming cards, I find myself wondering about the performance of the 4000 series > $100 cards. Traditionally, budget cards would barely play the current high performance games, even at low settings, and were primarily for enthusiast rigs not intended for serious 3D gaming. Today I will be looking at one of ATI's new budget offerings, Sapphire's Radeon HD 4670, a DX10 card costing well under $100. Considering that the HD 4670's big brothers have raised the bar for video card performance in their respective price points, has the 4670 likewise raised the bar for econo-card performance? Find out in the following pages!
Model: 100255L Interface: PCI Express 2.0 x16 Chipset: ATI Radeon HD 4670 Stream Processors: 320 Memory: 512MB GDDR3 Memory Interface: 128-bit DX10: DirectX 10.1 OpenGL: OpenGL 2.0 Ports: 2 x DVI, HDTV/S-Video out/HDMI via adapter RAMDAC: 400mHz Max Resolution: 2560 x 1600
- CrossFire Ready
- HDCP Ready
- Dual-Link DVI Supported
- Windows Vista Certified
The HD 4670 comes in a very attractive black and red box, similar to other recent Sapphire cards. All around the box is a smattering of specs, features, and other information pertaining to the card within.
Inside, the card is well protected in two layers of thick eggcrate foam, and further protected in a bubblewrap sleeve, which should protect the card from anything short of being run over by a vehicle. The bundle is found under the bottom layer of foam.