ATI Radeon HD 4890 review

£229
Price when reviewed

Despite its recent successes, ATI hasn’t been resting on its laurels. Instead, the AMD-owned firm has released the Radeon HD 4890, a card that promises to be even more powerful than our A List favourite, the HD 4870.

ATI Radeon HD 4890 review

It’s still built on a 55nm die, but the core clock speed now stands at 850MHz – 100MHz up on the HD 4870’s 750MHz – with the memory clock rising from 900MHz to 975MHz. That memory is GDDR5 and a 1GB frame buffer alongside the GPU’s 1.36 TFLOPs computational performance should stand the card in good stead.

In our medium- and high-quality Crysis tests, the HD 4890 averaged 74fps and 47fps respectively, compared to 63fps and 39fps from the older card. But Nvidia’s cheaper GeForce GTX 260 core 216 scored a similar 74fps and 43fps.

It’s at very high-quality settings, though, where the HD 4890 flexes its muscles. It managed 29fps; just a single frame slower than the dual-GPU Radeon HD 4850 X2, and quicker than almost every Nvidia product we’ve reviewed. The HD 4890 was just one frame slower than the expensive GeForce GTX 285, and was beaten comprehensively only by the GeForce GTX 295 – a card costing £150 more.

Other tests proved just as conclusive. The HD 4890 managed 46fps in our high-quality Call of Juarez benchmark, compared to 40fps from the HD 4870. Again, only the top-end GeForce GTX 295 bettered it, running 10fps quicker. In fact, Far Cry 2 was the only game that broke this trend. While the HD 4890 ran our high-quality test at 73fps, the GeForce GTX 260 core 216 managed 79fps, with the GTX 295 again proving quicker. A result of 55fps with very high settings is far from unacceptable, though.

Considering the value on offer – cards look set to start at just £199 exc VAT – things look good for the HD 4890. With the only Nvidia-based cards capable of besting it costing upwards of £270, it’s clear that, unless you demand ludicrous frame rates, ATI has successfully balanced price and performance once again.

Core Specifications

Graphics card interfacePCI Express
Cooling typeActive
Graphics chipsetATi Radeon HD 4890
Core GPU frequency850MHz
RAM capacity1,000MB
Memory typeGDDR5

Standards and compatibility

DirectX version support10.1

Connectors

DVI-I outputs2
DVI-D outputs0
VGA (D-SUB) outputs0
S-Video outputs0
HDMI outputs0

Benchmarks

3D performance (crysis) low settings47fps
3D performance (crysis), medium settings74fps

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