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Hidden Values

ADVERTORIAL: ATI Radeon HD 4650/70: Top Value for Bottom Dollar

We’ve hit the high points of why the HD 4650 and 4670 are so attractive as a budget-oriented option for high-performance video and graphics, but there are more you’ll discover along the way. For instance, in one of our office systems, we used to have an NVIDIA Quadro NVS 420 card, originally valued at $399, for displaying up to four monitors from one card slot. However, as we’ve made the jump to Windows 7 and our apps and usage has evolved, daily work was simply more than the NVS card could bear. We opted to replace the NVS with a two-slot solution: a Radeon HD 4550 and HD 4650 card. This gave us a dramatic improvement in graphics performance, let us keep support for up to four monitors (thanks to having two DVI outputs per card and ATI’s drivers that allow desktop spanning across multiple monitors), and kept the price tag down around $100. With a slightly different configuration, we could have used a motherboard with integrated AMD graphics and a 4650/4670 add-in card to achieve the same results, although we really wanted the extra performance of the 4550 above what an IGP could provide.

Also note that the HD 4670 is one of if not the most powerful graphics solutions that doesn’t require an on-card power connector. All necessary power comes from the PCIe bus. Step into the 4800 series and you lose this freedom. Some people can’t stand cable clutter and some power supplies may not support modern graphics card power leads. The HD 46xx cards help on both fronts.

Around the $60-ish price point, we often talk about graphics cards being “good enough.” Hopefully, we’ve shown by now that the HD 4650 and 4670 go far beyond good enough. For this price, the feature sets and performance you can expect are excellent. No matter what the economy does, we all need upgrades. The industry is continually advancing. But keeping pace and maintaining your satisfaction and enjoyment with your PC doesn’t have to be expensive. These AMD card options can breathe fresh life into an old box or convert a new, bargain-priced system into an entertainment powerhouse.

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