Diamond HD 4770 ReviewSilverfox , tacohunter52 - May 4, 2009
Category: Video Cards
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When someone tells you a new video card is being released, what do you think of? If you're anything like me, you'll think of some new and improved technology that blows all older cards away. From what we've seen from ATI, this doesn't have to be the case. It can be perfectly respectable to release a lower-end card for budget users, and because ATI figured this out, they are practically killing this market. Today I'll be looking at ATI's new HD 4770, which will be competing against the Nvidia GTS 250/9800GTX+. So what's so special about this card? Well, for one thing, it's using a 40nm process; this means lower power requirements and less heat...hopefully!!!
Not only is the 4770 a 40nm GPU, it is the first GPU to be built on a 40nm process. So for all you ATI fanboys out there, this should give you some fuel to throw at your Nvidia nemesis's until Nvidia releases its new 40nm beasts. As expected with all die shrinks, the HD 4770 is a much smaller card than the 4870. This can be both good and bad: good, if you've got a small case and a tight budget; bad, if you want to show off that you've got the biggest beast of a video card currently on the market. I personally think that this is a good thing, because the 4770 is a single slot card. In my opinion, there aren't enough of these little beauties lying around.
Whenever a new technology is introduced, bugs are always expected. ATI beat Nvidia in the race to manufacture 40nm video cards, but did they sacrifice quality for speed to market? Hopefully this is not the case. This is a new technology, so I'll be looking for any possible bugs. How well will Diamond's new 4770 perform? Let's take a look, starting with...what we all love the most...the packaging!!!
The 4770 is a smaller card, so it makes sense that it would come with smaller packaging. It turns out the small packaging was actually pretty refreshing. Diamond didn't go all out with a big huge box full of features, specifications, and graphics. Instead, they took a box slightly larger than the card itself and filled it with a few basic bits of information. The front of the box of course features "Ruby," as well as Diamond's and ATI's respective logos. To the left of ATI's logo is a picture indicating that the 4770 is equipped with 512MB of GDDR5 Memory. The center of the box has a rectangle cut out so you can see the card's heatsink. At the bottom of the box, you can see the Battle Forge Logo, and that the 4770 - like all 4xxx series cards - supports DirectX10.1. Yep, that's right, 10.1 - better than what Nvidia supports. If that's not a reason to purchase a video card, then I don't know what is.
Let's ignore my feeble attempt at sarcasm and take a look at the more decorated back of the box. What stands out the most from the box's back is the monster from the game Battle Forge. I've never heard of that game before, but apparently it is made by Electronic Arts, and features some pretty cool looking monsters. The writing to the left of the monster is just Diamond ranting on about what ATI does better than the Green team. Basically, it says that the 4770 is the first 40nm card, that it uses the fastest memory (which somehow translates to superior performance), that the GPU - using ATI Stream technology - can transcode videos at amazing speeds, and that you can watch Blu-ray movies with incredibly high fidelity. What took me by surprise was that this was the first time I had ever seen fine print on a video card box. Although the fine print was just three obvious things: "HD capable monitor required, ATI CrossFireX technology requires an ATI CrossFireX ready motherboard and may require a specialized power supply," and that Blu-ray drives are "required to watch Blu-ray movies." Also this video card is "California Lead-Free" (according to the green symbol on the bottom of the box). You might want to watch out if eating this card though, because although it is CA lead free, the lead may have come from somewhere like Florida.
What can be more interesting on a box than its sides? This particular box has six sides, two of which were the top and bottom. Two more of the sides simply say "RADEON HD 4770," and have the ATI logo. That leaves two more sides to look at. One of the sides features "Key Features" and "System Requirements" of the 4770. The remaining side, which I thought was interesting, shows diagrams of connections. On it, you'll see a connection bus diagram, a display connector diagram, and a video out diagram. This was the first time I'd seen anything like that on a box, and thought it was kind of neat that it was included. Pointless, but still kind of neat.
Instead of being packed with the traditional foam or cardboard, the 4770 was shipped in a custom molded plastic carton. The carton was only big enough to hold the GPU so the accessories, Driver CD, and manuals were placed on the top and bottom of the carton. While it may not be the prettiest way to package a product, it did work the way it was intended. The 4770 got to me without taking any physical damage.
The Driver CD, along with the manual, a coupon for 50 songs, and a flyer saying, "Do not return this product to a store" were all wrapped in a red "Diamond" package. Overall it was quite nice, and I thought the designs on the package looked cool. The accessories, on the other hand, weren't packaged quite as well. They were all individually packed in plastic bags and then placed into a larger bag to hold them together. The accessories included with the 4770 are a DVI to VGA adapter, a DVI to HDMI adapter, and the famous component cable. The adapter that will likely get the most use is the DVI to VGA adapter, as the 4770 is equipped with two DVI ports.
Now that we've been introduced and have seen how the 4770 was packaged, let's get up close and personal with the card itself.