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ATI Radeon HD 4770 512MB GDDR5 Review

by Michael "SKYMTL" Hoenig     |     April 27, 2009




ATI Radeon HD 4770 512MB GDDR5 Review





Even though I (along with probably everyone else on this planet) am sick and tired of hearing the word “recession”, we can’t escape the fact that the economy and our savings are taking one hell of a beating. Because of this, more and more people are being forced to take a step back and reevaluate what they are doing with their money and shift cash from unnecessary purchases to the essentials. That means the high tech industry in particular has been hit hard considering many people are holding off on purchasing big-ticket items such as computers or upgrades. You can only guess where that leaves $400 graphics cards. What the market needed was a budget-concious graphics card that put some serious muscle in cahoots with a great price. Enter the ATI HD 4770.

The HD 4770 is the poster boy for the changing face of ATI. They have forgone the push for a power-hungry monolithic architecture and have instead focused their energies on scalable, more compact GPU cores which can be used for multiple cards in various price ranges. This was first accomplished with the 55nm HD 4800-series and later perfected with the lower end HD 4600 series and more recently the HD 4890 1GB. As technology has progressed, so too has ATI’s shift towards a more price and efficiency-conscious manufacturing processes. While Nvidia has had some serious issues moving from 65nm to 55nm, with the HD 4770 ATI has now gone directly to the use of 40nm chips. What this means for power consumption has yet to be seen but what we can tell you is that a smaller manufacturing process could conceivably allow ATI more pricing flexibility in the long run due to lower production costs. That should translate into a better pricing structure.


We don’t usually post non-technical PR slides but we feel like the one above is quite telling. Nvidia has been spinning their wheels for some time now with the same G92 core and until recently, their 9800 GT had very little competition. The HD 4830 changed this somewhat but it was not able to best Nvidia’s renamed card in the majority of benchmarks. As such, Nvidia has been getting away with a ~$115 USD price on their mid-range card while the HD 4830 goes for under $100. The HD 4770 with its GDDR5 memory should change that pricing scheme quite a bit since it should outperform the 9800 GT by a relatively wide margin. What this means for the HD 4830 is anyone’s guess but like we always say: competition is a great thing.

If we take back and look at the last few months, ATI seems to have really hit their stride and from the 40nm manufacturing process to the GDDR5, the HD 4770 definitely looks promising. But can it deliver?

 
 
 

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