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Perhaps I was a little hard on ATI’s new Radeon HD 4770 in last week’s review. Excited to see planned pricing at $99, it was disappointing when ATI raised the tag to $109, putting the card smack dab between the still-compelling Radeon HD 4830 and Radeon HD 4850 512 MB.
Before that, I was also pretty critical of ATI’s Radeon HD 4890. Yeah, it’s a nice refresh of a successful GPU, but do I want to pay an extra $70 for 10% more performance? Not really. The Radeon HD 4870 and GeForce GTX 260 Core 216 are already fantastic deals at $180-$190. ATI was clearly just filling in a price gap where it thought it had a chance to upsell some extra clock speed rather than going for its competition’s jugular, as it did with the Radeon HD 4850 and 4870 launch.
With multiple Radeon HD 4770s in-hand, though, my tune is much different.
Tag Team, Back Again
The day before the 4770 launched, we received a second card to verify that the fan speed issue we originally experienced was fixed. We didn’t have time to run a set of CrossFire numbers, but your feedback in the comments section made it clear that enthusiasts wanted to see how a pair of these cards stacked up to some of the higher-priced options out there. Fair enough. We were actually pretty curious, too.
At $109 each, a pair of Radeon HD 4770s costs roughly $220. There’s no exact equivalent single-card solution at that same price point right now. A Radeon HD 4870 1 GB runs right around $190 and a GeForce GTX 260 Core 216 can be found as low as $180. Naturally, we’d need to see a pair of Radeon HD 4770s beat both of those less expensive options.
On the other end of the spectrum, a Radeon HD 4890 runs about $250. Most GeForce GTX 275s cost about $10 more than that. We’re comparing the CrossFire’d 4770s to a single Radeon HD 4890, but not the GeForce GTX 275. If you want more information on how the 4890 and GTX 275 compare, check out our GeForce GTX 275 review. The two cards are fairly similar, with the GTX 275 generally a bit faster. Instead, we have a little surprise later in the story: 4770s against Nvidia's GeForce GTX 280.
You also wanted to see a few other points explored: maximum overclocking outside of ATI’s Catalyst Control Center and GPU temperatures (in light of the 40 nm process shrink). Both of those are included here as well, in addition to updated power graphs to reflect the extra energy needed by two Radeon HD 4770s.