ATI HD 4670 512MB GDDR3 Video Card Review

by Michael "SKYMTL" Hoenig     |     September 10, 2008

ATI Radeon HD 4670 512MB GDDR3 Video Card Review

Every now and then both Nvidia and ATI release cards which are not necessarily at the forefront of performance, but offer something to those of us who donít want to spend $200 or even $150 on a component which we will replace in a year. In the cut throat world of graphics cards, these little guys are often forgotten or chalked up as also-rans in the grand scheme of things. Even many of us reviewers seem to forget that there is a burgeoning market out there for cards which perform adequately while not costing a monthís worth of lunch money. Granted, readers love seeing the dizzying performance numbers the current high-end offerings achieve but there is a lot more going on behind the glitz and glitter. That is what we will be focusing on in this review: the little guys who make up the bread and butter of the ATI balance sheet. While the card reviewed here today wonít wow any of you with blistering performance numbers, it may just open your eyes to what else this diverse market has to offer.

Flush from their success with their highly-regarded HD 4800-series of cards, ATI knew that they needed to ride off their momentum and attack all parts of the market with the new R700 series architecture. The first step was to launch an assault on the mid-level market with their HD 4870 and HD 4850 which was followed by their high end offering, the HD 4870 X2. Now, in order to consolidate their stranglehold on nearly every price-point ATI is targeting the entry level price point with their HD 4600-series.

Yesterday marked the official release of the HD 4670 and the HD 4650 into the sub-$100 category which was up until now the sole domain of the Nvidia 9500 GT and before it the 8600-series. These cards are not for those of us who want the best of the best; they are for people who want a card to be a jack of all trades which can play games at lower resolutions while offering kick-ass HD video decoding. Both of these cards will have full HDMI and DisplayPort capabilities for HTPC aficionados along with a core based on the RV770 for casual gamers. All of this means that both cards should appeal to quite a few potential customers from a price / performance standpoint.

Even though there will be two cards launching today, in this review we will be looking at the HD 4670 512MB GDDR3 in its reference design. It is being released to fight the already-released 9500 GT GDDR3 on nearly every front from power consumption to performance to price. Indeed, since this HD 4670 512MB should retail for about $85, it is already ahead on the price angle considering the 9500 GT GDDR3 currently goes for around $95 when all is said and done. Another thing that we should point out is that the card we were sent is an engineering sample so when cards are released to retailers, expect quite a few different designs of both the PCB layout as well as the output selection. There will also be 1GB versions available as time goes on so the HD 4670 in one version or another should suit the vast majority of you looking for a budget graphics card.

All in all, this should prove to be a unique review for us since it is not every day that we take a look at a budget video card in detail. We usually see them trailing in our charts but to have one in the limelight is actually pretty exciting. So, letís see what this pint-sized card has to offer.


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