The graphics card market has been quite intense lately up until now. With the clouds and dust settling after the AMD and Nvidia dispute, both contenders are playing on an even battle field – Or are they?
Coming this September 10, AMD plans to unveil its HD4600 series (RV730 XT / PRO) cards to directly compete with the Nvidia 9500 series. We will see two flavors brought forward as the HD4670 (RV730-XT) and the HD4650 (RV730-Pro). Both cards are manufactured on the 55 nm architecture at speeds of 750 MHz and 600 MHz. Each card will utilize 320 Stream Processing Units.Some of the other technical, and notable features of the HD4600 series are as follows:
- PowerPlay 2.0 Functions
- Unified Video Decoder 2 (UVD 2
- Direct-X 10.1
- Shader Model 4.1
- Physics acceleration & Dynamic geometry acceleration
- 24X CFAA Technology
Another point worth mentioning is that new V3700 & V5700 FirePro specialized workstation cards are based off the RV730-XT (HD4670) technology. Both card editions will also have Macro Vision Detection (MVD) on them as well. Macro Vision Detection is a form a copy protection that is transparent while viewing media, but apparent when attempting to copy certain media from input sources. Typically the copied version has the quality substantially degraded.
|B70901||RV730 XT||750/1000||512 MB GDDR3||128-bit||16Mx32 dual rank||Yes||Hardware|
|B66601||RV730 XT||750/873||1 GB DDR3||128-bit||64Mx16||Yes||Hardware|
|B66801||RV730 PRO||600/500||512 MB DDR2||128-bit||32Mx16||Yes||Software|
|B66501||RV730 PRO||600/500||512 MB DDR2||128-bit||32Mx16||Yes||Software|
|N/A*||RV730 PRO||600/667||512 MB DDR3||128-bit||32Mx16||Yes||Hardware|
Both the HD4670 and HD4650 utilize a 128-Bit memory bandwidth. No 256-Bit version has been mentioned as of current. The HD4650 coming with 512MB DDR2 and the HD4670 coming with a choice of 512 MB or 1024 MB DDR3. The HD4670 (RV730-XT) supports hardware crossfire while the HD4650 (RV730-Pro) supports software based crossfire at this time. It appears that there is a version utilizing the RV730-Pro technology that will support hardware crossfire, however at this time it is not set it in stone.
Power consumptions of the HD4600 series are relatively low at 70 to 80 Watts for the HD4670 and 50 to 55 Watts for the HD4650. It’s also worth mentioning the lack of external power connector on this series of card, which has its pros and its cons. Average systems housing 450 Watts or more should be just fine with this card. If you plan to run two cards in crossfire 550 Watts minimum is suggested.
Based on this information however, the 4600 series being a new release appears to be somewhat of a step backward. If you were to compare the specs of the HD4670 (RV730) to the older HD3870 (RV670) you would instantly notice the dial has been turned back on the specs, and what for? Let’s have a look:
|HD3870 (RV67)||HD4670 (RV730)|
|Engine||775 MHz||750 MHz|
|Memory||1125 MHz||1000 MHz|
|Architecture||55n m||55 nm|
|Transfer||72 GB/s||32 GB/s|
|TDP||90 – 100 Watts||70 – 80 Watts|
As you can clearly see, the HD4670 (RV730) appears to be a dialed back version of the older HD3870 (RV670). Seeing as the HD3870 is still readily available all over the web and in stores for a reasonable average price of $130 and the HD4870 for $270 – there may be little incentive to purchase this card. (Unless if the HD3800 series were completely phased out and not so readily available, the HD4600 series could take its place with a new price.) A real benefit to this card is quite possibly for a Home Theatre PC in a compact case stuffed into a ventilation restricted entertainment unit. Since the HD4600 series cards have lower wattage. With the lack of an external power connector, they certainly will not be generating much heat turning your case into an easy-bake oven.