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Radeon HD 4830: High-Speed, Cheap CrossFire

We have gathered quite a bit of information about the Radeon HD 4830. First of all, let’s discuss whether it’s a worthy successor to the legendary GeForce 8800/9800 GT. In the following graph, we left out SLI and CrossFire performance to prevent an arguable PCIe lane inequity from becoming a point of contention. Here is a pure single-card, 4830 vs. 8800 GT comparison:

The benchmarks show a very close race between the Radeon HD 4830 and the GeForce 8800/9800 GT, making it very difficult to claim a clear win based on 3D performance alone. The Radeon HD 4830 did tend to perform a little better than the 8800 GT, and we shouldn’t forget that our test 8800 GT card was overclocked 100 MHz from the factory. However, the margins of victory are too small to easily dismiss the 8800/9800 GT as a bad buy compared to the new 4830.

When we look at the big picture, the 4830 begins to shine a little brighter. Notable features make the card more favorable, like true 7. 1 HD audio over the HDMI output, exceptional overclocking potential, and the ability to construct a cheap, yet powerful, CrossFire setup using a cost-effective P45 motherboard. When these features are combined with the 4830’s capable gaming prowess, it becomes an easier card to recommend.

Having said that, the GeForce 8800 GT and GeForce 9800 GT are no slouches and still offer good performance for the buck, especially for folks who already own an SLI-capable motherboard. This is a close race where everybody wins, especially the consumer.

Finally, let’s consider some of specific 4830 offerings individually. PowerColor’s 4830 affords high overclocking potential in conjunction with Tray Tools and it has the convenience of wielding DVI, HDMI, and VGA outputs without the need for an adapter. The card also has an excellent, quiet GPU cooler.

On the other hand, Sapphire’s 4830 offers good overclockability, a myriad of display options (including DVI, VGA, HDMI, S-video, and component video) , and low heat/power usage when in 2D mode due to an aggressive underclock.

Both the PowerColor 4830 and Sapphire 4830 offer slightly different packages for people with different needs, but either one is an easy recommendation. Our only real complaint about the pair is a lack of a CrossFire cable with the cards--on a board that supports the feature, these should really be part of the package.

Not only has the Radeon HD 4830 proven itself an excellent choice in its price bracket, but the options delivered to the public by both Sapphire and PowerColor are quite attractive. The 8800 GT lives on in the 9800 GT, but the days of unchallenged dominance over the game enthusiast mainstream are at an end.

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