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 HD4770
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.
No surprises here really. Both 4770's consume near identical power. Linking two of the 4770's up however increased the power consumption quite dramatically with the Crossfire setup consuming and extra 80w of power. Still, this is pretty insignificant when compared to the power needed to run high end cards of today, testament to the die shrink.
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.
First things first, the noise of the cooler is nigh on undetectable. Even when the card was placed under load the fan speed rarely increased and even then it was only momentarily. With the card running Furmark for 10 minutes, the card reached a plateau of 57c. This is an astonishing feat and resulted in the ATI cooler running at minimal levels for the majority of the time keeping the noise levels to a minimum,
For our overclocking tests I used CCC's Overdrive 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 the current stock of ATI cards, I was able to max out the sliders in Overdrive resulting in 830 MHz on the core and 850MHz on the memory. I have little doubt that these values could be increased further and it appears ATI have been a tad conservative when deciding on a limit for the overclocks.
The overclocks above resulted in a fair increase to frames per second in Call of Duty 4. This increase is hardly groundbreaking but it is still a welcome benefit and should ATI increase the values in Overdrive with future driver revisions, the possibilities of further increases are there to be had.