AMD has shaken the world of consumer 3D graphics hardware by introducing its ATI Radeon HD 5800 family. As you can learn from our tests, the flagship of the new Radeon HD generation is two times as fast the best single-processor solutions of the previous generation. The new product has only one and expected downside as it comes at a rather steep price. Not all gamers can afford paying $400 for a Radeon HD 5870.
Of course, the new generation is eventually going to replace the older one in every market sector. That’s the order of things in the graphics card world. However, the Radeon HD 5700 won’t replace the Radeon HD 4800 in a moment and the ex-flagship Radeon HD 4890 is going to be interesting to gamers during the transitional period as its retail price has already dropped below $200, which is a psychologically important mark for many buyers. Besides being more affordable, RV790-based solutions offer a number of other benefits. They are equipped with a 256-bit memory bus which, together with high GDDR5 frequencies, may give them an edge against Juniper-based products with 128-bit memory interface at high resolutions and in high-quality full-screen antialiasing modes.
So, if you want to upgrade your graphics subsystem with an AMD/ATI solution, but cannot afford a Radeon HD 5870 or 5870, you face the problem of choice. What Radeon HD 4890 model to choose? This highly successful graphics card is available in numerous variants some of which copy AMD’s reference design and only have brand-specific sticker, packaging and accessories. Others don’t have anything in common with AMD’s sample save for using an RV790 chip as the graphics processor. Today, we will discuss as many as three unique versions of Radeon HD 4890 released by Sapphire, MSI and Gigabyte. Each of them has a special feature that we will describe in the review. Perhaps one of these cards is just what you have been looking for?