HIS Radeon 4670, 4830 & 4850 Mid Range Round-Up Page: 1
Introduction
 
ATI have certainly hit back hard against Nvidia, with Nvidia seeming to struggle on all fronts. ATI and its partners however, must be rubbing their hands together; they seem to have Nvidia covered just about everywhere. One of ATI's key partners, HIS, were kind enough to send along a couple of cards for us to look at today.
 
HIS offers a vast range of cards, from the plain looking 'stock' card, to overclocked power houses with crazy custom coolers. These after market coolers may seem excessive, but with cards getting hotter and hotter and gamers becoming more and more demanding, they need to ensure they can deliver 100% stability 100% of the time.
 
Formed in 1987, HIS has been around for quite some time, and certainly knows its stuff.  Here is a brief background on the company, taken from their website:
 
HIS was established in 1987 with the mission to produce the highest quality graphic cards in the industry. Besides strong devotion to excellent products and services, HIS has been conducting business with the aim to "Glorifying God". Honesty and integrity are the two key principals of how HIS are conducted. Ethical business practice has been an everyday commitment to our clients, vendors, and investors.
 
Year 2002 marked a milestone in HIS's history, with "Excalibur" as the encore product for the company. The "HIS Excalibur Graphics Board" proved its name by passing the vigorous and stringent testing of the widely recognized media worldwide. Not only so, but has been crowned with various honors such as: Tom's Hardware, Anandtech and PC Magazine. In Sept 2003, HIS incorporated the state-of-the art Supreme Cooling Technology in the award winning HIS Excalibur 9800Pro IceQ which became the HIS IceQ, IceQ II and now the IceQ 3 Series. Since then, this product has been the limelight in the market for its outstanding performance and features over the other rivals.
 
Today we will be taking a close look at the following cards, courtesy of HIS:
  • HIS 4670 512mb 'IceQ' edition
  • HIS 4830 512mb 'Fan' edition
  • HIS 4850 512mb 'IceQ4 TurboX' editon
Whilst this may seem like an odd choice for a direct head to head, today's review will focus on the overall value of each card, taking into account cost per frame, bundle and various other factors. This could seem fairly boring to a no budget gaming enthusiast, but with the financial climate the way it is, people need to consider their purse/wallet more than ever in their buying decisions.
 
First up, we have the 4670 512mb IceQ...


HIS Radeon 4670, 4830 & 4850 Mid Range Round-Up Page: 2
Specification & Packaging
 
Representing the budget end of the scale, we have the 4670. Whilst this GPU may have the lowest specification, it does feature the powerful IceQ cooler, hinting at a big pre-overclock. To our disappointment, however, it wasn't pre-overclocked and ran at the GPU's stock frequencies.
 
Here are the full specs:
 
Powered by Radeon® HD 4670 GPU
Innovative IceQ Cooling technology
320 stream processing units
DirectX® 10.1
24x custom filter anti-aliasing (CFAA) and high performance anisotropic filtering
Dual mode ATI CrossFireX™ multi-GPU support for highly scalable performance
PCI Express® 2.0 support
 
Core Clock: 750mhz
Ramdac: 400mhz
Memory Size: 512mb
Memory Type: GDDR3
Memory Clock: 2000mhz
Memory Interface: 128bit
 
While the standard clocks of 750mhz core and 1000mhz memory are a bit of a disappointment, the custom cooler will hopefully mean the card runs cooler & quieter.

Packaging & Appearance
 
Although this card is far from a high-end card, HIS certainly haven’t cut corners on the packaging. It’s not too complicated and contains all the information you would want to see on the front of a box. It is printed on glossy card and feels very nice.
 
HIS 4670 IceQ HIS 4670 IceQ
 
As you can see, HIS have taken the liberty of cutting a little window for you to view the card inside. The cooler dominates this window, and you can certainly tell this is far from standard. On the back of the box there is an in-depth specification of the card and the usual warranty & features information.
 
HIS 4670 IceQ HIS 4670 IceQ
 
Once you have opened the initial packaging, you are presented with another box. This offers great protection to the card, ensuring it gets to you in pristine condition. Once you open the flap on the box, you can lift out the moulded plastic holding the card and accessories. Underneath the plastic is the driver CD and user manual.
 
HIS 4670 IceQ
 
 There is a nice selection of accessories, although nothing out of the ordinary, such as the multi-function tool we saw with the 4850. Here you can see: User Manual, Crossfire bridge, D-Dub adapter, HDMI adapter, Warranty leaflet and driver CD.
 
 
Card Appearance
 
Once you have opened up the mould and taken the card out of its foam cushion, you can take a closer look at the card itself.
 
HIS 4670 IceQ HIS 4670 Up close
HIS 4670 IceQ HIS 4670 Rear view
 
There was something that surprised us upon putting the card down - the cooler is longer than the card itself. Not only is it double the height of the stock cooler, but a good deal longer as well. The cooler is covered with an interesting graphic containing the HIS and IceQ logos. The fan is made out of transparent blue plastic; we were expecting it to contain an LED or two, but it seems HIS haven’t followed this trend.
 
Something which we noticed on close examination was that the cooler did not seem to come into contact with the card's memory modules.
 
HIS 4670 IceQ
 
Our suspicions seem to have been correct. As you can see, there is a fairly large amount of TIM on the core itself, yet the memory modules have none at all. The cooler doesn't seem to have been designed to accommodate the memory - let's hope this absence of cooling doesn't effect stability in any way.


HIS Radeon 4670, 4830 & 4850 Mid Range Round-Up Page: 3
Specification and Packaging
 
Set firmly in the middle of the 4670 and 4850 is the 4830. This is the newest of the three GPU's, with ATI announcing it about a month after the initial launch of the 4000 series.
 
Although this card doesn't feature one of HIS's custom coolers or come pre-overclocked, it still has a fairly meaty specification:
 
Powered by Radeon® HD 4830 GPU
956 million transistors on 55nm fabrication process
640 stream processing units
DirectX® 10.1
24x custom filter anti-aliasing (CFAA) and high performance anisotropic filtering
ATI CrossFireX™ multi-GPU support for highly scalable performance
PCI Express® 2.0 support

Engine CLK: 575mhz
RAMDAC: 400mhz
Memory Size: 512mb
Memory Type: GDDR3
Memory Clock: 1800mhz
Memory Interface: 256bit
 
Whilst all the specifications seem very strong, the card's memory runs at a lower clock than the memory on the 4670. However, thanks to the much bigger memory interface (256 v 128bit), the card should have far more bandwidth.
 
 
Packaging & Appearance
 
The packaging for the 4830 has a similar construction to that used on the 4670. It uses a gloss-coated card with a graphic and product name on the front. HIS have decided not to cut out a window in this box however; they obviously don't feel the cooler is worth 'showing off'.
 
 
The box features pretty much all you need to know about the card. HIS have left most of the minor details to the back of the box, allowing the front of the box to look fairly attractive. The graphic appears to be similar to that which they used on the IceQ coolers featured on the 4670 & 4850.
 
4830 Box Inside HIS 4830- Inside the box
 
As you can see, HIS have used a similar packing method for the 4670 & 4830. Once you open the secondary box, you will be presented the card itself and a driver CD. HIS have used an Anti-static bag for this card, something which they failed to use with the 4670. Unfortunately, the bundle with this card left a lot to be desired, with just a Driver CD, Case sticker and DVI adapter included.
 
 
Card Appearance
 
No doubt you will rip open the Anti-static bag to see your new card; here is what you are presented with:
 
HIS 4830 Top HIS 4830 Cooler
HIS 4830 Front HIS 4830 Bottom
 
As you can see, the 4830 uses a 'flower' cooler. While it doesn't look as impressive as the IceQ range, it still kept our card cool and stable throughout testing. Like the 4670, HIS have chosen not to cool the memory chips, but this shouldn't hinder performance too much. The card has 2 DVI and Crossfire bridge connectors. This means, if your motherboard supports it, you can have 4 of these running in Crossfire.


HIS Radeon 4670, 4830 & 4850 Mid Range Round-Up Page: 4
Testing
 
For testing, we decided that a direct head to head wasn't enough, so we resurrected the 4850 IceQ4 TurboX which we reviewed recently. This meant that we had general coverage of the whole HIS mid-range.
 
If you missed the 4850 review, here are a couple of shots of the card, or you can read the full review here.
 
HIS 4850 Top HIS 4850 Front
 
HIS 4670, 4830, 4850 HIS 4670, 4830, 4850
 
As you can see, the 4850 and 4830 are fairly similar on size. However the cooler on the 4850 makes the 4830 look like a school girl next to a giant.  With the close inspection finished, it's now onto the testing...
 
 
Test Setup
 
Last time we reviewed the HIS 4850, we concentrated on the stock vs overclocked argument, comparing the cost per frame of the 2 cards tested. This review can be found here. This time, however, we wanted to focus more on which card in the range offered the best value for money. To make sure that all the results were comparable, the same setup was used to test each card, and each test was run multiple times and then an average of the results taken.
 
We used the following setup to perform all the benchmarks:
 
Test Setup
 
We chose a range of games to give a broad range of results. We have used these games in past reviews and found the results gave us a good indication of the card's general performance in games. We also tested at a number of resolutions, to see how well the card scaled with different screen sizes.
 
The following games and resolutions were used:
Quake Wars
1280x1024 / High / 4xAA
1600x1200 / High / 4xAA
1920x1200 / High / 4xAA

Unreal Tournament III
1280x1024 / DX10 / High
1600x1200 / DX10 / High
1920x1200 / DX10 / High

Call of Duty 4
1280x1024 / Max / 4xAA / 4xAF
1600x1200 / Max / 4xAA / 4xAF
1920x1200 / Max / 4xAA / 4xAF

F.E.A.R
1280x1024 / Max / 4xAA
1600x1200 / Max / 4xAA
1920x1200 / Max / 4xAA

Crysis
1280x1024 / DX10 / High / 0xAA / 0xAF
1600x1200 / DX10 / High / 0xAA / 0xAF
1920x1200 / DX10 / High / 0xAA / 0xAF

GRID
1280x1024 / DX10 / High / 4xAA
1600x1200 / DX10 / High / 4xAA
1920x1200 / DX10 / High / 4xAA


HIS Radeon 4670, 4830 & 4850 Mid Range Round-Up Page: 5
3DMark benchmarks
 
Whilst 3DMark may not be that accurate for the actual in-game performance you get from each card, the benchmarks are so widely used it is very easy to draw a comparison to your own system. 
 
3D05- HIS Mid Range
 
3D06 HIS Mid-range
 
3DV- HIS mid-range
 
As expected, the 4850 takes the clear lead, with the 4830 coming roughly half way between the 4850 and 4670. As the benchmarks get tougher, the 4670 & 4830 start to drop off behind the 4850 considerably. It would seem that Vantage is bottlenecked a lot more by the graphics card rather than CPU.


HIS Radeon 4670, 4830 & 4850 Mid Range Round-Up Page: 6
COD4
 
Call of Duty 4 is a stunning DirectX 9.0c based game that really looks awesome and has a very full feature set. With lots of advanced lighting, smoke and water effects, the game has excellent explosions along with fast gameplay. Using the in-built Call Of Duty features, a 10-minute long game play demo was recorded and replayed on each of the GPU's using the /timedemo command a total of 5 times. The highest and lowest FPS results were then removed, with an average being calculated from the remaining 3 results.
 
COD4 HIS mid-range
 
COD4 CPF- HIS mid-range
 
 
Crysis
 
Crysis is without doubt one of the most visually stunning and hardware-challenging games to date. By using CrysisBench - a tool developed independently of Crysis - we performed a total of 5 timedemo benchmarks using a GPU-intensive pre-recorded demo. To ensure the most accurate results, the highest and lowest benchmark scores were then removed and an average calculated from the remaining three.
 
Crysis HIS Mid-range 
 
Crysis CPF HIS mid-range
 
 
Something quite unexpected came out of the first run of benchmarks. After crunching the numbers, it worked out that the 4830 had by far the best Cost Per Frame. Normally, the budget cards offer the least performance, but due to their low prices have the best CPF, but this doesn't seem to be the case here. As for the results themselves, the 4850 is once again the easy leader, followed by the 4830 and 4670. Head on over to the next page to see if the 4830's form continues to be top-notch.


HIS Radeon 4670, 4830 & 4850 Mid Range Round-Up Page: 7
ETQW
 
ET:Quake Wars is a follow-up game to Wolfenstein:Enemy Territory developed by Splash Technology. Using a modified version of id Software's Doom 3 engine along with Mega rendering technology, the game promises high resolution textures, fast gameplay and plenty of explosions. Using the built-in recordNetDemo and timeNetDemo commands, we recorded a 5 minute online gaming session and played it back a total of 5 times at each resolution, calculating the average FPS from the median three results.
 
ETQW- HIS mid-range
 
ETQW HIS mid-range
 
GRID
 
Race Driver: Grid is a visually taxing game that presents a challenge to any graphics system. Results were recorded using FRAPS to log the average FPS over a 2 minute race. To ensure consistency, the same track, car and general path of travel was used in each of the 5 benchmark runs for each graphics card, with an average FPS being calculated from the median three results.
 
GRID- HIS mid-range
 
GRIDCPF- HIS mid-range
 
UT3
 
Unreal Tournament 3 the latest game in the long running Unreal series from Epic Games and Midway. The game uses the latest UE3, which combines fast gameplay along with high quality textures and lighting effects. All benchmarks were performed using UTbench with a fly-by of the DM-BioHazard map. As usual, all benchmarks were performed 5 times, with the highest and lowest results being removed and an average calculated from the remaining three.
 
UT3 HIS mid-range
 
UT3 CPF HIS mid-range
 
Once again, the results followed the same pattern, with the 4850 taking the lead and the 4830 & 4670 occupying the lower ground. The cost per frame varied a lot more in these tests, however, with the 4670 getting close to offering the CPF of the 4830 in ET:QW at 1440x900, but in GRID was far closer to the 4850 than 4830.


HIS Radeon 4670, 4830 & 4850 Mid Range Round-Up Page: 8
Conclusion
 
HIS 4670, 4830, 4850It's good to see that HIS are once again working hard and pushing out a whole range of fantastic graphics cards. Whilst some cards cause a great amount of hair pulling and annoyance, the HIS cards remained perfectly stable throughout testing, a testament to their great after market cooler additions.
 
The newest of the cards reviewed today was the 4830, and it easily surpassed our expectations. What's more impressive is the Cost Per Frame that the card returned, in some tests offering twice as many frames for the same cost. At the time of writing, the card was available for an amazingly low £105.74 from Overclockers.
 
While the 4850 and 4670 were overshadowed by the superb bang for buck of the 4830, they're still very good cards. The 4670 offers reasonable performance for those looking for a cheap upgrade that will allow them to play modern games at medium/low resolution and quality. At the time of writing, the card was available for £64.61 from Overclockers.
 
HIS 4670 IceQ
 
The Good:
+ After market Cooler
+ Good performance for gamers on a tight budget
+ HIS haven't slacked when it comes to the included bundle

The Mediocre:
* The 4830 Offers better bang per buck
 
The Bad:
- Dual slot cooler is fairly large for a low-end GPU and may not fit in some systems.
 
Value For money
 
 

HIS 4830 fan edition
 
The Good:
+ Amazingly low cost per frame
+ Performance is not too far off from the 4850
+ A good choice for gamers who can't afford the 4850 but don't want to drop to a low end card
 
The Mediocre:
* No pre-fitted after market cooler, although the stock cooler remained perfectly stable throughout testing
 
The Bad:
- Nothing to report
 
Value for Money Gamers Choice
 
We would like to thank HIS for supplying today's review samples. Discuss in our forums.