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

4650/4670: Basic Specs

We’ve talked about some of RV730's specifications already, but it’s important to pause for a moment, pull back, and get some perspective. The graphics market moves so quickly that it’s easy to be fooled by numbers. For instance, the HD 4670 has a raw GFLOPS (billions of floating-point operations per second) rate of 480 while the new HD 5870 measures out at 2,720 GFLOPS. So you might assume that the 4670 has only 15% to 20% of the 5870's performance and thus only 15% to 20% of the 5870's total value. This would be misleading and erroneous.

For sure, if your sole purpose is to perform floating-point-intensive apps or keep looping 3DMark tests, then yes, the 4670 will be a small fraction of the today’s flagship parts. On the other hand, the 4670 is less than 20% of the 5870's price, so, from a benchmark perspective, you’re getting what you’re paying for. However, mainstream PCs are rarely ever tied to a single application. We use them for some gaming, sure, but also wide range of other tasks. It’s with these other tasks that we inevitably circle back to the Ford Focus vs. the Ferrari analogy. When you’re stuck with driving 25 MPH in the city, does it really matter which car you drive when all you care about is doing the task of getting from here to there? Of course not. A 4650 will deliver the same Web, Office, and MP3 playback experiences as a 5870 regardless of the price difference. So know the specs for what they mean, but take them in perspective.

That said, let’s throw out some numbers. As mentioned before, RV730 is based on a 55 nm fab process and a PCIe 2.0 interface, although a handful of cards placed the chips on an AGP 8X bus. Both the 4650 and 4670 can be paired with either 512MB or 1GB of memory, although exactly what kind of memory is one of the two ways in which these GPUs significantly differ. The 4650 can use either DDR2 or GDDR3 clocked at up to 700 MHz while the 4670 can use DDR2, DDR3, GDDR3, or GDDR4 clocked at up to 1100 MHz. Ultimately, this all translates into a memory bandwidth advantage of up to 57% for the 4670, although, once again, how much real life advantage you see will depend on how heavily your applications lean on video memory.

The other difference between these two chips is their core clock speeds. The HD 4650 runs at 600 MHz and the 4670 jogs a fair clip faster at 750 MHz. This difference is a key factor in the 4650 sporting a thermal design power (TDP) rating of 48W while the 4670 bumps up to 59W. An 11 watt difference may not sound like much, but if you’re upgrading a system with a fairly small power supply, 11W can be the difference between smooth sailing and random system resets.

  • wesleywatson
    I would keep reading, but a giant fucking ad keeps covering half the pages.
  • mlcloud
    At least give us the links to some of the 4650/70 benchmarks... Other than that, great read, great recommendations, looking to upgrade my pentium 4, 1.4ghz 256mb (ddr). Was looking at using the HD4200 on the 785g series from AMD, but if I can make a true gaming computer out of it ... hm... tempting.
  • I'm waiting for a HIS HD4670 1GB to arrive soon. It even has HDMI output.

    Got it really cheap from newegg. It'll do fine with my Intel E5200. Nothing like a super gaming machine, but hope to play TF2 and L4D with good gfx. That's all i play atm.
  • tortnotes
    Advertorial? How much did AMD pay for this?
    Not that it's not good content, but come on. Doesn't Tom's make enough from normal ads?
  • duckmanx88
    mlcloud Was looking at using the HD4200 on the 785g series from AMD, but if I can make a true gaming computer out of it ... hm... tempting.
    on their gaming charts the 4670 is listed. plays FEAR 2 pretty well. i assume it can than handle all Source games as well but at lower resolutions, medium settings, no AA, the usual.
  • Assuming I'm assembling a new system and the HD 4650/4670 is the most cost-effective graphics card... what then is the most cost-effective processor to pair with it?
  • Good thing to see ATI marketing their 4650/4670.

    I was hoping to see more of their mid-range cards.
    great article these are some nice cards for the price, i wonder though if you got 2 of them and tried to put them in a crossfire config. since they dont require a power source, other then the pci-e slot, would 2 of them cause any problems drawing all that current through the motherboard? kinda wondering if there would be any impact there.
  • Ati making great job. In my office there was need to meka PC with 6 individual monitors. Solution - mainboard asus p5q-e + 3 ati 3650 video cards with vga+DVI outputs. Great working very cheep in cost. Tried to meke the same with nvidia 8400gt - no result 4 monitors individual maximum. Ati - rulezzz
  • lien

    Installed an Sapphire 4650 AGP on a backup system in August.
    Overclocked it & almost pissed myself on how good the image quality was on that system.
    Article confirms....
    value based articles are refreshing