To ensure that all reviews on Overclock3D are fair, consistent and unbiased, a standard set of hardware and software is used whenever possible during the comparative testing of two or more products. The configurations used in this review can be seen below:
CPU: Intel Nehalem i7 920 Skt1366 2.66GHz (@3.8 Ghz)
Motherboard: Gigabyte EX58-UD5
Memory: 3x2GB Corsair DDR3 1600mhz @ 8-8-8-24
HD : Hitachi Deskstar 7k160 7200rpm 80GB
GPU: Sapphire HD 4890 1GB Vapor-X
Graphics Drivers: Supplied by Sapphire
PSU: Gigabyte ODIN 1200w
During the testing of the setups above, special care was taken to ensure that the BIOS settings used matched whenever possible. A fresh install of Windows Vista was also used before the benchmarking began, with a full defrag of the hard drive once all the drivers and software were installed, preventing any possible performance issues due to leftover drivers from the previous motherboard installations. For the 3DMark and gaming tests a single card configuration was used.
To guarantee a broad range of results, the following benchmark utilities were used:
3D / Rendering Benchmarks
• 3DMark 05
• 3DMark 06
• 3DMark Vantage
• Far Cry 2
• Race drive: GRID
• Call of Duty IV
• Unreal Tournament III
Power consumption was measured at the socket using a plug-in mains power and energy monitor. Because of this, the readings below are of the total system, not just the GPU. Idle readings were taken after 5 minutes in Windows. Load readings were taken during a run of Furmark.
Power consumption of the Sapphire HD4890-Vapor-X was nothing really to shout about. While idle power draw was fairly low, when placed under full load the power consumption rocketed. One has to bear in mind that this is for the whole PC setup taken at the socket and not the card itself but still, the 4890 was among the hungriest of GPU's in our list.
Temperatures were taken at the factory clocked speed during idle in Windows and after 10 minutes of running Furmark with settings maxed out (2560x1600 8xMSAA). Ambient temperatures were taken with a household thermometer. As we use an open test bench setup consideration should be given to the fact that the temperatures would likely increase further in a closed case environment.
Despite the amount of power the 4890 consumed, temperatures were kept to a minimum thanks mostly to the Vapor-X cooling atop of the GPU. Idle temperatures were not fantastic but the load temps were nothing short of exceptional, especially when you consider the fan was running at AUTO speed which at the time rarely exceeded 40% ensuring that the graphics card temperatures were kept in line with ATI's specification while the noise emitted from the cooler was next to nothing.
For our overclocking tests I used the RivaTuner utility which worked perfectly with our setup. To test stability I ran 3D Mark 06 and a few runs of Call of Duty 4.
As with our previous reviews of the HD4890, the card maxed out the sliders on ATI's overdrive facility with both GPU(1GHz) and memory (1200 (4800 effective) ). With the card clocked at these massive speeds it has to be noted that the Sapphire Vapor-X cooler performed admirably, hardly spinning up at all during the test runs.
Here are the effects of the overclocks: