The recent launch of the Radeon HD 4890 has changed the standings in the sector of single-chip graphics cards since AMD has got a product capable of rivaling the Nvidia GeForce GTX 285. Yet notwithstanding AMD’s strategy of filling the top market segment with dual-processor solutions, AMD’s graphics department is in no hurry to introduce a Radeon HD 4890 X2. Perhaps the company’s partners will be offered the opportunity to create such a product but AMD does not yet agree to it, and the Radeon HD series is still topped by the Radeon HD 4870 X2 which is somewhat inferior to the GeForce GTX 295 in performance (see this news story for details).
However, the arrival of the Radeon HD 4890 has provided the opportunity to build CrossFireX subsystems out of two, three or even four such cards. Even a dual-processor tandem should be no worse than a GeForce GTX 285 SLI, let alone a single GeForce GTX 295. And it is going to be cheaper because the recommended price of the Radeon HD 4890 is within $229-249. So, theoretically, a graphics subsystem made out of two such cards is going to cost you no more than $500. For comparison, the GeForce GTX 285 sells in retail for $330-340 and more, and a couple of such cards are going to cost more than $600.
The GeForce GTX 295 can be found selling at $500-550 but it will surely be inferior to a Radeon HD 4890 CrossFireX tandem, particularly because it has less of graphics memory available for 3D applications (896MB against 1024MB). This also refers to the GeForce GTX 275 SLI tandem that has higher clock rates but only 896MB of effective graphics memory and a cut-down GPU configuration with 28 raster back-ends per a core as opposed to the GeForce GTX 285 SLI’s 32 RBEs per a core. Thus, the most interesting thing is to compare the Radeon HD 4890 CrossFireX and GeForce GTX 285 SLI. The battle is going to be exciting if we put aside the factor of price and focus on gaming performance only.
Despite the global crisis, gamers are still interested in advanced and expensive multi-GPU configurations, and we will cater to our readers by performing a comparative test of Radeon HD 4890 CrossFireX and GeForce GTX 285 SLI tandems, especially as we’ve got four graphics cards necessary for such a test just in time. The “green” camp will be represented by EVGA GeForce GTS 285 FTW and Zotac GeForce GTX 285 AMP! cards. They will be opposed in this heavyweight fight by ASUS’s EAH4890 and EAH4890 TOP. Let’s now take a closer look at each of the fighters.