So, after much deliberation I decided to go out and get a 4890 – my intentions of writing a review were a sidestep – I do enjoy writing, as it does have a nice advantage of improving my personal skils.
Anyhow, back on topic – It arrived Thursday, in a shiny plain box – After taking it home, I finally got around to installing it over the weekend.
Overall, it would be a nice increase in performance over my 4850, and well – it’d be something to review!
In with the new! There is a Asus Xonar D2x, a P45-DS4P and a Intel E8400 powering the rest. Plenty of ventilation, too. As you can see
*Anakin skywalker voice* IT’S WORKING! (And yes, it’s 4.0ghz with 8GB of RAM. After much fiddling..)
So, after much fiddling it’s all good. I have it running!
Starting with the installation – fairly simple. Uninstall old card drivers, put new card in, reinstall drivers. No issues found.
As for performance, here’s a few numbers so far. (I was too lazy to take screenshots of some). Overall, it’s very solid. Much better than my 4850 – all games were played at maximum detail, anti-aliasing and AF enabled in-game. CCC settings were set to default, with advanced on Catalyst AI. From what I’ve noticed, AA is abit sharper – weather this is me moving up from 8.9 drivers, or the card itself is yet to be found, but overall I feel as if IQ has improved somewhat.
For the reviews below, the resolution used was 1920×1200, with all in-game settings set to the highest values possible. After all, what’s the point of doing any lower when you buy a faster card?
deliberately was too lazy and left some background programs running – Foobar2000, Firefox with 20 or so tabs, Steam (dur), and the usual array of background apps most run – MSN, so on.
Most reviewers run with none at all – leaving some open does put some extra weight on the CPU, however, and in reality quite a few people do leave crap open all the time – so why not.
I’d consider this overview more of a “What to expect on your PC.” (Even if the overclock is abit much – It’s easily achievable.)
Anyhow, on to the card itself!
The temperatures of the card were quite impressive – peaking at around 75 degrees, idling at 45. The idle temperature is thanks to ATi’s PowerPlay technology – down-clocking the card when it’s not under stress.
These were temps with the fan forced at 28% fan speed through Catalyst – so overall, if you’re a quiet freak, the card isn’t too bad at all. It’s fairly inaudible at 2 meters, and a slight hum when it’s near you.
Bear in mind current ambient temp is around 15 degrees.
The games tested aren’t too many – but these are the main ones I have installed at the moment, and the ones that I tested. FRAPS + in game FPS meters were used.
As for image quality, it’s good. The key thing I notice at the resolution I play at over the 4850 is the lack of choppiness. The 4850 would stutter every here and again. The 4890? Pumps out pretty damn solidly – Overall minimum framerates are much higher for any game I’ve played so far.
In individual games, I did notice the smoke in screenshots of Racedriver GRID to be much smoother and “realistic”. Once again, drivers or otherwise, it’s an improvement. (You’ll be on 9.3 or 9.4 drivers with a 4890 anyway, so stress not!)
TF2 performance was much smoother overall – the minimum framerate was much higher than my 4850′s 35. (Attributed to the high resolution and AA/AF settings applied.)
3Dmark – eh, it’s all the same, boring synthetic benchmark.
Anyhow, here’s some screenies of TF2 and CoD. Not too sure where my GRID ones went. O_o
Overall, I would definitely recommend this purchase to anyone in need of an upgrade from say, a 4670 or 8600GT/8800GT . It’s solid, it runs well. It’s still using beta drivers, which means there’s still performance to be had, and for around 400AUD, getting one in crossfire later on is definitely a performance option for the high-end market.
In retro, for your average joe – stick to the 4870. $100AUD cheaper. I would really only recommend this to those needing a good future-proof upgrade, or cutting edge performance. If you have a 4870, GTX260, or similar – don’t bother. I’d stick with current-gen cards if I were you, seeing as the next series for ATi is only just around the corner. If you really want a boost, grab another card and SLi/Crossfire!
Anyhow, hope you enjoyed the read.