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Functional Benchmarking: Noise And Heat

Radeon HD 4830: High-Speed, Cheap CrossFire
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Nobody wants a video card that sounds like a vacuum cleaner under load, so we measured how these cards performed acoustically. To our surprise, they were a little too quiet to measure in the usual way by reading the noise at the back of the case. So to get meaningful readings, we had to open the case and measure the noise within an inch of each card. This tells us that both PowerColor and Sapphire have reasonably quiet cooling solutions on their 4830s. Here are the results:

As you can see in our benchmark, PowerColor’s card seemed to make use of variable fan speeds while Sapphire’s card tended to use only a single-fan speed in testing. While the chart shows some variance, the real-world difference was negligible as neither card was really audible over our Cooler Master Cosmos-S case in regular conditions.

Our final benchmark is heat. We know the cooling systems are quiet, but let’s see how effective they are:

At first glance, the Sapphire card looks like a superior solution at idle. But keep in mind that the Sapphire 4830 idled at only 160 MHz on the core and 250 MHz on the memory, while PowerColor’s idled at 453 MHz on the core and 750 MHz on the memory. This accounts for the large variance in idle-speed temperatures.

Once the cards are put under a load, we can see a more reasonable temperature difference. Overclocked to 690 MHz, the temperature of both the PowerColor and Sapphire 4830 cards hovered from a mid to high 60 degrees Celsius, with the Sapphire card showing a slight advantage. This isn’t that significant when you realize that we don’t need to worry about these graphics processors until their temperatures reach at least 90 degrees Celsius.

Even overclocked to 765 MHz on the core, the PowerColor 4830 still kept the temperature under 80 degrees Celsius. This is an excellent load temperature for such a high overclock, showing that the RV770LE graphics processor really is designed to handle a much higher clock speed than the stock 575 MHz.

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  • 1 Hide
    badge , December 11, 2008 8:00 AM
    Great look into the 4830. Makes me want to buy a Xfire setup using these.
  • 0 Hide
    Doltron , December 11, 2008 8:21 AM
    If you couldn't get Tray Tools to work with the Sapphire card why not use another program? Instead of giving up and coming up with a lame conclusion.

    Also 993*2 doesn't equal 1885 and the 4870 is clocked at 750 not 780.
    Your sound and temp charts have FPS on their X axis.
  • 0 Hide
    hannibal , December 11, 2008 8:43 AM
    It's nice to see good cards from both companies, ATI and NVidia!
    And the price is not bad at all. The competition is so good!
  • 0 Hide
    neiroatopelcc , December 11, 2008 8:44 AM
    The chart on page two sais 4850 runs at 625 - but stock is 600, and 4870 at 780 - which is 750 stock ... so is the 4830 speed correct?
  • 0 Hide
    cangelini , December 11, 2008 8:56 AM
    Numbers and charts are corrected.
  • 2 Hide
    cangelini , December 11, 2008 8:59 AM
    Actually stock clocks on the 4850 *are* 625. :p 
  • -8 Hide
    V3NOM , December 11, 2008 9:18 AM
    I'm sure i saw that "4850 - smarter by design" article at anandtech first. or somewhere else... the name anyway not necessarily the article >.>
  • -2 Hide
    V3NOM , December 11, 2008 9:27 AM
    Um actually, the MSI runs at x16/x8 in SLI mode. If you instead got an evga 750i FTW motherboard, you would find it runs at x16/x16 in sli, thanks to its unlocked NF200 chip. the 750i FTW is not a reference nvidia board as the MSI is.
  • -4 Hide
    V3NOM , December 11, 2008 9:32 AM
    LOL at 1680x1050, the 4870X2 IMPROVES when 4xAA is added? i smell a rat...
  • 0 Hide
    cangelini , December 11, 2008 9:37 AM
    Which test are you talking about, Venom? is added? i smell a rat...[/citation]
  • 0 Hide
    daskrabbe , December 11, 2008 9:46 AM
    Far cry 2
  • 4 Hide
    cangelini , December 11, 2008 9:56 AM
    daskrabbeFar cry 2


    In Far Cry 2 there is a .8 frame difference, and shifting to 1920x1200 costs 2.1 frames at 4xAA. This is a processor bottleneck. In other words, performance is similar with and without anti-aliasing applied because the graphics card is nowhere near taxed at that resolution or the one above it.
  • 0 Hide
    kelfen , December 11, 2008 10:02 AM
    Nice article ATI has really been on the move in all price ranges in creating compitition I would think the next gen cards are going to be a die strink if you look at how they got 4xxx. 3xxx die shrink and 4xxx beef up in power for competitive cards/price.
  • 2 Hide
    neiroatopelcc , December 11, 2008 10:08 AM
    cangeliniActually stock clocks on the 4850 *are* 625.

    Oh my bad. I mixed up the numbers with some on g92 chips (just bought 28 9600gt's yesterday)

    Anyhow - the 4870 is 750, not 780 - at least they were when I bought mine.


    ps.
    "On a side note, we will mention that GRID is one of those games that really does require AA for the best visuals. Happily, the game engine seems very easy on the video cards and even the single-card configurations were able to provide 4xAA with playable frame rates."
    I want to add that this is only true for current generation cards. My dad's p4 with a 7600gs can only run it with grahpics at very low @ 800x600 - though he runs suppreme commander just fine at 1024 ...
  • 0 Hide
    cangelini , December 11, 2008 10:21 AM
    neiroatopelccOh my bad. I mixed up the numbers with some on g92 chips (just bought 28 9600gt's yesterday)Anyhow - the 4870 is 750, not 780 - at least they were when I bought mine.


    Yup, you're right--the chart was originally incorrect, but I went back and corrected that spec, along with the memory frequency mentioned by Doltron.

    Curious to hear how your dad's system runs SC no sweat at 1024. This is one of those ones that consistently drops test platforms to their knees. He actually gets playable frame rates on a P4?
  • 2 Hide
    neiroatopelcc , December 11, 2008 10:26 AM
    yes he does. Mind you it's not with aa on or anything set at max res. But he plays it just fine. He doesn't have the expansion though - doesn't play it all that much. Dunno if the expansion makes any difference.
    His rig (2.4 northwood, 2gb pc3200, 7600gs on a cantherwood chipset) plays test drive, age of empires 3 and supreme commander at playable levels, but doesn't do grid playable. I suppose he'd have a chance at grid if we'd oc the cpu, but last time we ran 3,2 I ended up breaking their c:\windows\system32\config\system file ... and he didn't like that.
  • 0 Hide
    JAYDEEJOHN , December 11, 2008 10:27 AM
    Would have loved to see this with the new Cat 8.12's, as theyre getting much better performance than the 8.10's.
  • 1 Hide
    cleeve , December 11, 2008 10:57 AM
    The
    jaydeejohnWould have loved to see this with the new Cat 8.12's, as theyre getting much better performance than the 8.10's.


    Yeah, unfortunately the 8.12s just came out and this article has been a long time in the making. :) 
  • 0 Hide
    cleeve , December 11, 2008 11:02 AM
    DoltronIf you couldn't get Tray Tools to work with the Sapphire card why not use another program? Instead of giving up and coming up with a lame conclusion.


    Mostly because the card didn't seem to be able to get past 690 MHz core without problems in the Catalyst Control Center, so there didn't seem to be much point in persuing overclocking much further.

    But for the sake of completeness I can give Rivatuner a shot this evening and see if anything changes. I'll let you know. :) 

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