XFX HD 4890 XXX 1GB PCIe Graphics Card

Introduction

Introduction

XFX are a manufacturer not traditionally associated with ATI so when I was asked to review the latest ATI card, the 4890,  I was surprised to hear it was from XFX. Not only that but this card is a XXX edition! The guys from Hong Kong certainly don't do things by halves! With a full line up of ATI products also under their umbrella (XFX ATI roundup coming soon), XFX will hopefully add to the impressive reputation they gained by being a major manufacturer for Nvidia products.

First things first, I'm afraid ATI have not reduced the fabrication down to 40nm with this card. Instead the card is still based on the 55nm architecture of its sister card the 4870. However there have been tweaks made to the power circuitry allowing ATI to increase the clockspeeds significantly. 1GB of GDDR5 also makes a showing which should ensure that the memory can keep pace with the GPU. XFX being XFX though were not happy with the stock clockspeed on the GPU and bumped it up to 900MHz on the core.
HD4800 core
The HD4800 core has an updated design with AMD adding decoupling capacitors to reduce signal noise. This does however, give a very minor increase ito the die area. The whole processor has been re-timed and the ASIC power distribution has also been tweaked to improve efficiency of the 4890. This, along with the decaps has allowed ATI to increase the clockspeeds of their GPU without the need for a die shrink just yet.

The HD 4890 has another trick up it's sleeve too with DirectX 10.1. While this is a minor update to DX10, DX10.1 gives game developers better control over image quality amd more flexibility with some existing features of DX10 such as cube map arrays and independent blending modes. These features are best displayed with the DirectX 10.1 game - HAWX, which is included with the XFX 4890XXX.

With a stock core speed of 850 MHz, and the added tweak giving a speed of 900MHz, the HD4890 XXX is a mere 100MHz off the Golden 1GHz speed, something I hope to hit later in the review in the overclocking section.

So, with the card hitting some blistering speeds and priced at a competitive £240, the HD4890 is shaping up quite nicely in anticipation of Nvidia's GTX275 release, due out today if reports are to be believed. We will keep you posted on how the two compare in the very near future.

Here's what XFX had to say:

For some, beauty is defined by the level of realism achieved in a game. From true-to-life smoke and flying rock fragments caused by a lobbed grenade to reach-out-and-touch it textures on walls and streets to “you talkin’ to me???” facial expressions on animated characters, nothing can bring a tear to the eye of a gaming aficionado like a truly immersive graphic experience. Unless it’s all of that, plus exceptional price points AND unparalleled technology. In which case, have some tissue handy, because you’re in for a misty moment.
Introducing XFX’s new Radeon™ HD-powered 4000 series graphics cards powered by ATI Radeon GPUs. Crafted from state-of-the-art technologies, their inner beauty is truly frame-worthy.


Specification

The following specification was taken directly from XFX's technical spec sheet with minor editing for the purposes of clarity:

Chipset ATI Radeon HD 4890
GPU Radeon HD 4890 XXX Edition
Bus Type PCI-E 2.0
GPU Clock 900 MHz
Stream Processing Units 800
Memory Bus 256-bit
Memory Type DDR5
Memory Size 1.0 GB
Memory Speed 3.9 GHz
Thermal Solution FANSINK
Minimum Power Supply Requirement 500 Watt
External Power Requirement 2 x 6-pin
TV Out x1
VGA x0
DVI x2
Dual-Link Support YES
HDMI x0
Max Supported Resolution (DIGITAL) 2560 x 1600
Max Supported Resolution (ANALOG) 2048 x 1536

FEATURES
RoHS
HDMI Ready
HDCP Ready
ATI CrossFireX Ready
ATI Stream Technology
ATI PowerPlay Technology
ATI Hybrid Grahpics Technology
Accelerated Physics Processing
Accelerated Video Transcoding

ATI Avivo HD

Dimensions
Package Weight 4.1 lbs est
Package Dimensions 13.0" W x 9.5" H x 6.5" D

Enough of the small talk, let's move on and take a look at the card itself...
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Most Recent Comments

02-04-2009, 03:41:06

JN
"At OC3D we love all things overclocked. We love shiny new releases. Do we love the new 4890XXX edition from XFX? Find out in our exclusive review..." - by W3bbo

http://www.overclock3d.net/gfx/artic...205649673s.jpg

XFX HD 4890 XXX 1GB PCIe Graphics Card

02-04-2009, 04:13:19

Madmatt
Nice review!

Might want to check the spelling of hawx as you seem to have it as hawkx. On the last page and first.

02-04-2009, 04:16:33

w3bbo
Sorted ta

02-04-2009, 04:37:22

Ham
What a strange shape box...

Still nothing groundbreaking. It's getting to the stage where it might just be worth 200 to upgrade form the 8800 series...

02-04-2009, 04:44:08

nepas
nice review!Wish I could afford to upgrade,as Ham says these cards look to be a good upgrade from the 8800's.Did you try these cards in crossfire?I have just read over at tpu that in crossfire they blow away almost everything,can you confirm?

02-04-2009, 04:50:34

tinytomlogan
Looks at 4870's and crys, still not used them and now I want these AARRRGGGHHH

Nice review dude.... whats your address again?

02-04-2009, 05:36:20

w3bbo
Crossfire review will be coming very soon but I got a couple of other fish to fry first. I'll be testing them out asap as it might just top topple the GTX295/4870x2.

My address is of a national security issue I'm afraid

22-06-2009, 22:08:23

cl0ck_ed
OMG, 1000 core 1200 mem, that is imprassive. these hd4890's walk all over the gtx 275 for bang per buck, and at this oc the perform on the par with a gtx285! wow.

All i need now is a x48 mobo and xfire a pair of these and spin them at 1000mhz core, that would be sweet.

24-06-2009, 08:58:26

tinytomlogan
I still think that its worth waiting for the 5800 range, these are basicaly overclocked die shrunk 4870's. Still if you are in the market to buy now then these can be had pretty cheap

24-06-2009, 09:42:00

Rastalovich
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='cl0ck_ed'
OMG, 1000 core 1200 mem, that is imprassive. these hd4890's walk all over the gtx 275 for bang per buck, and at this oc the perform on the par with a gtx285! wow.

All i need now is a x48 mobo and xfire a pair of these and spin them at 1000mhz core, that would be sweet.
It is quite strange to look at the pricing now in these card stakes.

XFX are giving a price of 240, which I'd take as an rrp, undoubtably the online competitors would look to discount that a bit. Some 34 by Scan's standard.

I look at Scan, and their hottest selling GTX285 from ASUS is 240.

Appreciating that the stock 4890 from XFX is 140 at Scan, which is what I'd expect, and they sell their cheapest in-stock GTX275 for 178. How much bang for buck u get for physx, I dunno.

What exactly is going on here with this XXX edition ? From a stock card 140 to a XXX edition is some 66 ? For an OC ur driverset can give u and a standard cooler.

I would hope XFX are not overpricing these deliberately, as it's not the addition to the AMD family their fans would expect.

Great review, good card, overpriced in comparison to it's own range imo.

24-06-2009, 20:17:49

cl0ck_ed
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='Rastalovich'

Appreciating that the stock 4890 from XFX is 140 at Scan, which is what I'd expect, and they sell their cheapest in-stock GTX275 for 178. How much bang for buck u get for physx, I dunno.

What exactly is going on here with this XXX edition ? From a stock card 140 to a XXX edition is some 66 ? For an OC ur driverset can give u and a standard cooler.
Scan have the 1000mhz card for 160, therefore 18 more than the stock hd4890. Which is a fair price considering the hassle of increasing voltages, flashing bios's and overclocking etc..

25-06-2009, 06:31:56

Rastalovich
Now that really is a weird situation, 160 for the 1Ghz with HAWX.

206 for the 900Mhz "slower" card.

Have a feeling the black edition isn't going to be restocked tho. But seriously a slower card, 46 more ? XFX's logic is what ?

25-06-2009, 08:17:43

Rastalovich
I've purposely bumped this as I was just looking at Scan's line-up of GTX285 cards with a colleague.

XFX have a XXX 285, 670Mhz, priced 252 - and a 648Mhz priced @ 282.

Something smells.

They going eol with older, quicker cards, and bringing newer slower lines for 30/50 more ? If I were a journalist I'd be asking XFX some serious questions.

25-06-2009, 08:28:09

cl0ck_ed
isn't it scan pricing not xfx? xfx must have madfe loads of the quicker cards to sell them for a cheaper price than the slower

25-06-2009, 09:30:45

w3bbo
As above, I would think that this was scans pricing not XFX.

I'll see if I can get hold of XFX to get their take on it although I can tell you they will not comment on there distributers pricing strategies.

10-09-2009, 22:04:58

AMDFTW
ive just got my 4890 xxx to 1Ghz core clock,and regarding Scan priceing they have always done crazy things like this its best to go instore sometimes as when i got my old AMD dualcore it was was on todayonly for 65 i whent instore and got it for 40 crazy aye

11-09-2009, 17:31:11

iceie
The box look really good
Reply
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