AMD releases Radeon HD 4890 with 1.36 Teraflops

Sunnyvale (CA) – AMD today released the ATI Radeon HD 4890 with an 850 MHz core clock, memory clock at 975 MHz, 1 GB of GDDR5 memory and a maximum board power of 190 watts on a 55nm process technology, with an idle power consumption down 30% to 60 watts. The card represents AMD’s fastest non-X2 offering to date, and will be sold for less than $260 MSRP.

The Radeon HD 4890 represents a faster clock rate and greater performance at the expense of additional power, which now tops out at 190 watts for the dual-slot card alone. AMD told TG Daily that the card does offer increased idle power savings of 60 watts, compared to 90 watts in the former top 4870 card.

Overall the performance increase is 13.3% with the card costing below $260 MSRP. An interesting trend to observe is the decreasing performance offered per watt. While the cards are getting faster, now 36% faster than the 4850 model and 13.3% faster than the 4870 model, the performance per watt has decreased 21.2% since the 4850.

ATI
Radeon HD Comparison
485048704890
Process55 nm55 nm55 nm
Transistors956 M956 M956 M
Engine Clock625 MHz750 MHz
(+20%)
850 MHz
(+13.3%)
Stream Processors800800800
Compute Performance1.0 TFlops1.2 TFlops
(+20%)
1.36 TFlops
(+13.3%)
Texture Units404040
Texture Fillrate25 GTexels/s30 GTexels/s
(+20%)
34 GTexels/s
(+13.3%)
ROPs161616
Pixel Fillrate10 GPixels/s12 GPixels/s
(+20%)
13.6 GPixels/s
(+13.3%)
Z/Stencil646464
Z Fillrate40.0 GSamples/s48.0 GSamples/s
(+20%)
54.4 GSamples/s
(+13.3%)
Memory TypeGDDR3GDDR5GDDR5
Memory Clock1000 MHz900 MHz975 MHz
Frame Buffer Size512 MB / 1 GB512 MB / 1 GB1 GB
Memory Data Rate2.0 Gbps3.6 Gbps
(+80%)
3.9 Gbps
(+8.3%)
Memory Bus256-bit256-bit256-bit
Memory Bandwidth64.0 GB/s115.0 GB/s
(+79.7%)
124.8 GB/s
(+8.5%)
Maximum Board Power110 Watts160 Watts
(+45.5%)
190 Watts
(+18.8%)
Idle Board Power30 Watts90 Watts
(+300%)
60 Watts
(-30%)
Performance Per Watt9.09 Gflops7.50 Gflops
(-17.5%)
7.16 Gflops
(-4.6%)

The ATI Radeon HD 4890 represents the best performing non-X2 video card offered by AMD at present. It is also a highly affordable card capable of running full DirectX 10.1 games with a notable improvement over their DirectX 10.0 counterparts.

Overclocking

ATI’s Catalyst Driver comes with a built-in control panel allowing these cards to overclock core frequencies. While the factory setting is 850 MHz, AMD told TG Daily that they have gotten the cards over a 1 GHz core clock frequency on the standard cooling solution which ships on the card. AMD further expects after-market coolers in the next few weeks or months which will allow even greater performance. And there are companies offering factory-overclocked cards of 950 MHz or higher, for a premium price somewhere north of $260.

The gaming performance delivered by the 4890 also compares nicely to ATI’s former non-X2 offerings, as well as the competition. The relative performance in frame rates in various games with traditional high-end settings are showing 23% to 47% greater performance than Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 260 216, and performance which is around 10% faster than the former Radeon HD 4870.

Gaming
Performance
Nvidia
GeForce
GTX 260
Baseline
48704890
Crysis Warhead
1920 x 1200 4xAA 8xAF
1.01.13x
(+13%)
1.52x
(+34%)
Devil May Cry 4
1920 x 1200 4xAA 16xAF
1.01.37x
(+37%)
1.66x
(+21%)
Far Cry 2
1920 x 1200
1.01.11x
(+11%)
1.23x
(+11%)
GTA IV
1920 x 1200 4xAA 8xAF
1.01.13x
(+13%)
1.27x
(+12.4%)
Left 4 Dead
1920 x 1200 8xAA 16xAF
1.01.11x
(+11%)
1.22x
(+10%)
STALKER CS
1920 x 1200
1.01.09x
(+9%)
1.24x
(+14%)
Note: Figures are approximate, within 1% point, provided by AMD.

ATI’s relative performance to the comparable GeForce GTX 260 is shown above. Each column’s increase in performance is relative to the previous column’s card.

CrossFire
Scaling
4890
Baseline
4890 CrossFire
Chronicles of Riddick: AODA
2560 x 1600 8xAA 16xAF
1.01.80x (+80% gain)
Left 4 Dead
2560 x 1600 8xAA 16xAF
1.01.85x (+85% gain)
Devil May Cry 4
2560 x 1600 8xAA 16xAF
1.01.94x (+94% gain)
Crysis Warhead
2560 x 1600 4xAA 8xAF
1.01.79x (+79% gain)
Company of Heroes
2560 x 1600 4xAA 8xAF
1.01.80x (+80% gain)
Call of Duty 4
2560 x 1600 8xAA 16xAF
1.01.74x (+74% gain)

ATI’s Crossfire technology allows two cards to operate together for graphics processing in a single game. The scaling performance shows notable increases across the board, approaching 2x in Devil May Cry 4, and always above 70% in every game. AMD said they have no plans to manufacture an ATI Radeon 4890 X2 card.

Conclusion

This offering from AMD brings greater performance and wider DirectX 10.1 support for high-end gaming and the upcoming Windows 7 operating system. DirectX 10.1 represents a significant improvement over DirectX 10, and games and software actually utilizing DirectX 10.1 can see frame per second improvements of 5% to 10% with no other changes in the game — due primarily to enhanced hardware support of those features which in DirectX 10.0 must be handled either by the CPU, or by the GPU in repeated overlay operations.

See AMD’s 4890 press release.

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