Asus have long been a manufacturer of quality PC hardware and as they are partners to both ATI and NVidia they know a thing or too about making graphics cards. Today I will be sampling the entry level EAH4770 graphics card which is the first card in the ATI line to have a die shrink from 55nm to 40nm. This die shrink should prove to be more efficient and should also allow the GPU's clockspeed to be increased. The EAH4770 also makes use of 512MB GDDR5 which will compliment the new core quite well.
The 4770 fills a gap in the market and nestles between the low end 4300 and the mid/high end 4850 card. Perhaps most interestingly, the RV740 core is not a chopped down GPU with laser cut traces, nor is it a lower clocked core from it's more powerful brethren. The 4770 has the same amount of Unified shaders (640) as the 4830 GPU but has a much lower transistor count of 826 Million which will inevitably allow ATI to control production costs and thereby aim the card toward the budget conscious. As stated previously though, the die shrink has allowed ATI to increase the clockspeed significantly above the 4830's 575MHz to a blistering 750MHz.
The following specification was taken directly from the Asus
Graphics Engine ATI Radeon HD 4770
Bus Standard PCI Express 2.0
Video Memory DDR5 512MB
Engine Clock 750 MHz
Memory Clock 3.2 GHz ( 800 MHz DDR5 )
Memory Interface 128-bit
DVI Max Resolution 2560 x 1600
D-Sub Output Yes x 1 (via DVI to D-Sub adaptor x 1 )
DVI Output Yes x 2 (DVI-I)
HDMI Output Yes x 1 (via DVI to HDMI adaptor x 1 )
HDTV Output (YPbPr) Yes
HDCP Support Yes
Software Bundled ASUS Utilities & Driver
What is intriguing, is the choice of memory controller, dropping down from the 256bit controller on the 4830 to a 128bit interface we find on the 4770. This has the inevitable drop in memory bandwidth from 57.6GB/s to 51.2GB/s. Thankfully AMD has specified the use of GDDR5 instead of the older GDDR3 which is much more commonplace in todays GPU market. This has allowed an 800MHz clock on the memory (3.2GHz effective) which goes some way to appease the cut in memory interface.
AMD have also done a good job (in theory) of dropping the power consumption of the RV740 to 80w instead of the 110w used on the 4830. This lower power draw will be examined later in the review but for now let's take a look at the packaging and appearance of the Asus EAH4770...