ATI Radeon HD 4890 Roundup (ASUS, Diamond, HIS, Sapphire, XFX)

by Michael "SKYMTL" Hoenig     |     June 2, 2009

The Specifications of our HD 4890 Pile

Specifications-wise, we really tried to touch all bases when it came to this roundup and as you can see, our goal was met.

*Please see below for issues with the HIS card.

First up we have the ASUS HD 4890 TOP. The TOP series of cards have always been the readily available overclocked cards of the ASUS lineup – as opposed to the limited edition Ultimate series – and the card here today keeps with that tradition. It features an overclocked core whose speed is 50Mhz above that of a bone stock card while the memory gets a 100Mhz bump. This should give it a bit of extra horsepower but whether these clocks will result in actual gameplay differences has yet to be seen.

Diamond’s XOC actually sports the second highest core clock and highest memory clock in this roundup. The XOC lineup is a relatively new addition to Diamond’s product range but considering its clocks, we have high expectations for it.

Sapphire was the first to announce a HD 4890 clocked at a full 1Ghz on the core and let me tell you; they have delivered. Not satisfied with a mere core speed increase to insane levels, Sapphire has also gone ahead and upped the memory speeds 4100Mhz (effective) along with including a custom Vapor-X cooler for good measure. Will this particular card have the raw power to overcome Nvidia’s higher-priced GTX 285?

XFX’s entry into this roundup has lower clocks than any of the other cards but its core is still overclocked a good 25Mhz over stock values. The memory speeds remain at stock values but we have heard through the grape vine that XFX may have tightened up the timings for some additional performance.

HIS: Clock Speed Issues Galore

HIS came into this roundup with a well overclocked card; until we booted it up and it turned out to be clocked at reference speeds. Since I went and bought this card out of pocket, I was originally thinking that the retailer I bought it from had made a mistake, but there it was clear as day: the product number H489FT1GP indicating a Turbo Edition.

We all know that every now and then a manufacturer will send out cards with incorrect clock speeds so I was thinking this was just a bad apple. After contacting one of my friends who works at a retailer out west (not the same retailer I bought the original card from), it became apparent that his last in-stock HIS HD 4890 Turbo was also clocked at the incorrect speeds. Interesting indeed.

After sending numerous messages to HIS about this and not receiving a response for more than a week, I decided to buck up and buy as many HIS HD 4890 Turbo cards I could find in the Montreal area. See guys, this is what happens when I get curious about something: I ended up buying three more of them. Two came from the one retailer and the last one I found came from a small shop on the other side of the city. Three more cards and ONE; --- let’s say that again: ONE – had the correct clock speeds (it was one of the pair I had bought at the first local store).

That makes four in five cards from four different retailers across Canada with the incorrect clock speeds. To us this indicates a lot more than a random BIOS flash at the factory going wrong. Could an entire shipment to a HIS distributor been affected? We don’t know but we encourage anyone with this card to post in the thread we have dedicated to it.

In addition, it should be noted that at the time of writing we have pushed back this roundup at least 10 days in order to give HIS the chance to respond. So far: nothing.

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