Sapphire Radeon HD 4890 1GB Review

by Michael "SKYMTL" Hoenig     |     April 2, 2009

Heat & Acoustics

Surprisingly on paper it looks like the HD 4890 1GB does very, very well when it comes to keeping heat to a minimum. This partially comes from a slightly redesigned heatsink but the largest reason for the temperature drop between it and the stock HD 4870 is the speed at which the fan runs at. When under idle conditions, the noise the fan produces is well within the norms of what we would call acceptable. Unfortunately, as the heat starts to rise RPMs increase exponentially until the HD 4890 becomes the loudest thing in your case (unless you are running a few Delta 3000RPM screamers). I would have gladly sacrificed up to 10°C if it meant that the fan could be kept a bit quieter. This is unfortunate considering this is the only real blemish we could find with this card.

Power Consumption

For this test we hooked up our power supply to a UPM power meter that will log the power consumption of the whole system twice every second. In order to stress the GPU as much as possible we once again use the Batch Render test in 3DMark06 and let it run for 30 minutes to determine the peak power consumption while letting the card sit at a stable Windows desktop for 30 minutes to determine the peak idle power consumption. We have also included several other tests as well. Please note that after extensive testing, we have found that simply plugging in a power meter to a wall outlet or UPS will NOT give you accurate power consumption numbers due to slight changes in the input voltage. Thus we use a Tripp-Lite 1800W line conditioner between the 120V outlet and the power meter.

All in all, power consumption is right where we would have expected it considering this card’s clock frequencies. Even though ATI is clearly leading the way with it comes to performance per watt under load conditions, its cards fall flat on their faces when it comes to idle power consumption. ATI, methinks it is time to get some patches going for PowerPlay. On the plus side, it is good to see that the new HD 4890 actually consumes slightly less power at idle than a lower clocked HD 4870 1GB

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