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Radeon HD 4770s In CrossFire

ATI Radeon HD 4770 In CrossFire: Unbeatable At $220
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So how much graphics muscle are you really getting for $220, and how does that compare to the competing single-GPU solutions?

Two Radeon HD 4770s give you 1,280 total shader processors, two 512 MB GDDR5 frame buffers (each on a 128-bit bus), 32 total ROPs and the ability to filter up to 64 textured pixels per clock. Each board in the CrossFire configuration runs a 750 MHz core clock and memory at 800 MHz—effectively 3,200 MT/s.

Why is CrossFire so gosh-darned viable right now? For several generations of chipsets dating back to the 955X Express, Intel platforms have supported the multi-card rendering technology. AMD chipsets dating back to the Radeon Xpress 200 also extend support. So, there’s a huge install base of core logic and motherboards that are compatible.

In contrast, Nvidia has historically limited its SLI technology to Nvidia’s own AMD-/Intel-based chipsets. It was only recently made available on another vendor’s platform via licensing (Intel’s X58). Clearly, Nvidia is realizing that a protectionist policy isn’t the way to go. In fact, we even heard of one motherboard vendor whose budget X58 boards originally didn’t support SLI, were BIOS-hacked to enable it, and then worked-through with Nvidia on a proper implementation—all without having to pay for the license!

How about the oft-mentioned (by Nvidia) concern that, because ATI doesn’t have as close a relationship with game developers—specifically those involved in its TWIMTBP program—that CrossFire is riddled with compatibility issues? There’s actually some validity to such a worry, especially if you enjoy picking up games as soon as they're released. We've seen titles, such as FEAR 2, where CrossFire compatibility is specifically listed as a known issue. Fallout 3 with quad-GPU CrossFire can also be problematic, according to ATI's own Catalyst release notes.

At the same time, none of the games in our test suite gave us trouble. CrossFire isn’t perfect, but after seeing what a pair of 4770s can do slung together, you’ll want to reconsider your reservations.


Radeon HD 4890
Radeon HD 4870
Radeon HD 4770 CrossFire
GeForce GTX 280
GeForce GTX 260 C216
Manufacturing Process55 nm TSMC55 nm TSMC40 nm TSMC65 nm TSMC55 / 65 nm TSMC
SPs800
800640 x 2
240
216
Core Clock850 MHz750 MHz
750 MHz602 MHz
576 MHz
Shader Clock850 MHz750 MHz750 MHz1,296 MHz
1,242 MHz
Memory Clock975 MHz GDDR5
900 MHz GDDR5
800 MHz GDDR51,107 MHz GDDR3
999 MHz GDDR3
Frame Buffer1 GB
1 GB / 512 MB
512 MB x 2
1 GB
896 MB
Memory Bus Width256-bit
256-bit
128-bit x 2
512-bit
448-bit
ROPs16
16
16 x 2
32
28
Price~$250
~$190~$220
~$310
~$180


Power And Heat

The Radeon HD 4770 earned praise for its 40 nm technology and resulting cut in power consumption. Indeed, it uses the least power at idle and under load of any other graphics card we tested here.

But what happens when you add a second board in CrossFire? As expected, power consumption jumps significantly. At idle, the two 4770s use more power than any of the single-GPU solutions. Under load, however, the 40 nm RV740 retains its advantage and ducks in under the Radeon HD 4890 and Radeon HD 4870 1 GB cards, using more power than the GeForce GTX 260 Core 216.

If you were looking for more information on the 40 nm process’ effect on GPU temperature, here you go. These were all measured through GPU-z after 10 minutes of idle and then a series of looped 1920x1200 Crysis runs in a window.

You can see that a lone Radeon HD 4770 is the coolest of ATI’s cards at both idle and under full load. Interestingly enough, though, each board required a slightly different fan speed in order to achieve its temperatures. We'll see if these results correspond to overclocking in just a bit.

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Top Comments
  • 76 Hide
    curryj02 , May 4, 2009 6:04 AM
    BRING BACK THE DROP DOWN MENU FOR NAVIGATION!! ARGHHHH!!
  • 41 Hide
    crisisavatar , May 4, 2009 6:15 AM
    curryj02BRING BACK THE DROP DOWN MENU FOR NAVIGATION!! ARGHHHH!!

    Seriously, is a hassle to browse without it.
  • 25 Hide
    cangelini , May 4, 2009 6:07 AM
    Working on getting the drop-down or ToC on every page. Sometimes things are changed without advanced notice. Trying to get a solution for you guys!
Other Comments
  • 76 Hide
    curryj02 , May 4, 2009 6:04 AM
    BRING BACK THE DROP DOWN MENU FOR NAVIGATION!! ARGHHHH!!
  • 25 Hide
    cangelini , May 4, 2009 6:07 AM
    Working on getting the drop-down or ToC on every page. Sometimes things are changed without advanced notice. Trying to get a solution for you guys!
  • 41 Hide
    crisisavatar , May 4, 2009 6:15 AM
    curryj02BRING BACK THE DROP DOWN MENU FOR NAVIGATION!! ARGHHHH!!

    Seriously, is a hassle to browse without it.
  • 7 Hide
    Spathi , May 4, 2009 6:28 AM
    This RSS feed has the Intel logo??? Larrabee on the mind? ahaha
  • 7 Hide
    Summer Leigh Castle , May 4, 2009 6:30 AM
    Great article. Just for kicks, how do the xfires of the 4830 and 4850 compare to the xfire 4770?

    How about a dual column menu table? My mobile browser doesn't like to work with drop-down menus. I know, just nick picking like everyone else. :D 
  • 12 Hide
    mrubermonkey , May 4, 2009 6:35 AM
    I have already mentioned the drop down issue, but I am mentioning it again for emphasis. Consider Bert Lance's saying, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." By the way, nice article.
  • -5 Hide
    Ciuy , May 4, 2009 6:44 AM
    what drop down menu`s ? :p  didnt notice anything lol

    i like old school navigation :D 
  • 7 Hide
    xbsoft , May 4, 2009 6:46 AM
    The other day I was trying to prove to my brother that 2 ATI 4770's would outperform anything in its price range and my brother didn't agree with that... lol I can't wait to show him the article.

    Unfortunately, he already bought a 4850 card which he should be okay for now, I guess.

    Anyways, great article. I really enjoyed it. :) 
    Thanks!
  • 3 Hide
    ta152h , May 4, 2009 6:49 AM
    Just put in the URL to jump to the page you want, for now.

    For example - http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-4770-crossfire,2288-3.html will get you to page three. http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-4770-crossfire,2288-5.html will get you to page five, etc...
  • 2 Hide
    quickwind , May 4, 2009 6:52 AM
    Hmmm I wonder how three of these would scale together. Nice article as well, very interesting how this compares to the other cards
  • -7 Hide
    xbsoft , May 4, 2009 6:53 AM
    The other day I was trying to prove to my brother that 2 ATI 4770's would outperform anything in its price range and my brother didn't agree with that... lol I can't wait to show him the article.

    Unfortunately, he already bought a 4850 card which he should be okay with it for now, I guess.

    Anyways, great article. I really enjoyed it. :) 
    Thanks!
  • 7 Hide
    thepinkpanther , May 4, 2009 7:04 AM
    wonder what nvidia has up their sleeve to counter this, and...and...its another renamed g92!
  • 9 Hide
    anamaniac , May 4, 2009 7:04 AM
    Very interesting article.

    Makes me regret getting a 4670...
    At this price, makes me regret being jobless. ;) 

    Well, if I do finally get employed soon, ATi has my money thanks to you.

    How do these cards react in a tri/quad crossfire environment? Are there even the proper drivers for that yet?
    =D
  • 0 Hide
    Verrin , May 4, 2009 7:19 AM
    @ Denibgirde665:

    Unless you're on a super strict budget, it's not hard to afford a multi-PCI-Ex16 board. I see deals all over where, you can pay an extra 10-30 bucks and get dual-card compatibility. This technology isn't limited to the super-rich anymore. And as this article proves, sometimes it more affordable to go with a dual-card solution.
  • 1 Hide
    mrubermonkey , May 4, 2009 7:31 AM
    When is the 4 way crossfirex HD 4890 test coming? The most I have seen were 2 HD 4890 in crossfire on some website.
  • 5 Hide
    blackpanther26 , May 4, 2009 7:46 AM
    Any one smell a ATI Radeon 4770 X2?
  • -1 Hide
    hazobi , May 4, 2009 7:47 AM
    i myself own the hd4850 card. its amazing to see that this card can perform so well. So my question is, can the 4850 crossfire with 4770? it seems that they have the same architecture so is it possible to crossfire this two?
  • 3 Hide
    hustler539 , May 4, 2009 8:20 AM
    This just in, AMD announces another price hike on the 4770 after reading this article to keep it's 4890 in the market
  • -4 Hide
    resonance451 , May 4, 2009 8:47 AM
    demonhorde665"there’s really no reason to buy a single 4890, unless you lack CrossFire compatibility. And you shouldn’t be lacking CrossFire unless you own a motherboard with Nvidia core logic (in which case, you’re probably already running a GeForce card of some sort, too)." EPIC WRONG !!!!! I m an avid gamer i own a mainbaord that ONLY has one pci-e 16x slot it is not an nivida chip main board either but an amd based solution. unless you were applying your coment to the rich only, you fail epicly at this comment


    You are an avid gamer yet were enough of a moron to purchase a motherboard with only one pci-e 16x slot. Given that two of these cards cost ~ $220, it's not a stretch of the imagination to think you'd have $100 to spend on a motherboard. And that's not just on any motherboard. That's on a brand spanking new P45 chipset mobo from a reputable company with all the Core 2 bells and whistles. However, if you want to keep your AMD based "solution" (fucking jargon makes me want to RAGE), I peeked on Newegg and found a 790X mobo for $89.99 that has two PCI Express 2.0 slots on it and supports the new AM2+ processors. You're telling me that $89.99 is a lot of money? I build computers with video cards that cost more than 15 times that, and to get these new cards WITH the ability to upgrade significantly, you'd be spending a total of $320. If that's far too much for you to be spending on computer parts, you shouldn't be whining about dual-card "solutions".

    Learn to spell, learn to think logically, learn to investigate thoroughly, and think next time before you decide to post your garbage here. It makes you look really stupid to criticize an article when you have absolutely no idea what you're talking about.
  • 6 Hide
    pirateboy , May 4, 2009 8:58 AM
    I would like to see the numbers of 4770-CF vs 4830-CF vs 250GTS-SLI
    (with OC'ing of course)
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