MSI R4830 512MB Overclock Edition Review

TheScavenger - 2008-10-31 00:05:53 in Video Cards
Category: Video Cards
Reviewed by: TheScavenger   
Reviewed on: November 17, 2008
Price: $134.99

Introduction:

This is an exciting time to be a high-performance PC enthusiast. It seems the only thing progressing faster than the hardware architecture are the price drops. Competition in most areas of computing is present but is fiercest in the video card segment particularly. Both ATI and nVidia have taken advantage of the power of the price drop to maintain their competitiveness. Certain nVidia cards that started out close to $300 at their release are now less than $200. A well performing HD 4850 can even be had now for $130 after mail in rebates. In addition, there seems to be a video card available at every possible price point from $50 to $500. A lack of variety is also not an issue. There are nearly 10 seperate models in ATI's 4000 series and 10 in nVidia's 9-series as well.

So, where does the R4830 fit into all of this? On paper its hardware is nearly identical to a 4850 although its clock speeds are significantly lower. Specifically, they both share RV770 cores, GDDR3 memory and 55nm manufacturing processes. We can talk about specifications all we want but real performance will be measured in our benchmarks. Let's continue.

Closer Look:

As is typical with all of MSI's higher-end, ATI-based cards, the R4830s box comes emblazoned with the MSI orc. The front of the box lists a brief description of the R4830s specifications. The back of the packaging goes into much greater detail mentioning the cards solid state chokes, 4+1 power phase and system requirements. Interestingly, the box also has a handle on top of it.

 

 

 

After opening the box, we get our first clear view of the video card. Inside the box, the video card is safely packaged in foam and an anti-static bag to prevent damage. The accessories can be found in a white compartment below the video card.

 

 

The MSI R4830 comes with a variety of video adapters including a HDTV cable, S-video cable, S-video/HDTV adapter and a DVI/VGA adapter . Noticeably missing is an HDMI adapter however. Also included are two user guides and a drivers CD.

 

 

 

Now that we have a full comprehension of the packaged accessories let's move on to the video card.

 

Closer Look:

The R4830 uses the same RV770 GPU core that is found in higher end 4850 and 4870 video cards. The factory core clock is set at 585MHz which is 10MHz higher than reference 4830s. The Samsung sourced GDDR3 memory runs at 900MHz through a 256-bit interface. Since this is labeled as an "Overclock Edition" card, MSI has included sold state chokes, solid capacitors, and an advanced 4+1 power phase to hopefully improve overclockability. The R4830 has 640 shaders compared to 800 shaders found on 4850 and 4870 cards.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The video output end of the R4830 has two DVI ports and a TV-out port.t. The opposite side of the card has a single 6-pin PCI-E power port for power.

 

 

The R4830 has two connections for Crossfire bridges. This feature would allow 3 ATI cards to be used in conjunction. Also, the R4830 features MSIs 4+1 power phase. This hopes to improve power efficiency and overclockability. Memory for the R4830 is sourced from Samsung.

 

 

Temperatures are controlled by a "seaweed-blade"-style heatsink. The heatsink is made from a single piece of machined aluminum and doesn't come into direct contact with the memory chips. I believe MSI expects the fan to draw cool air over the memory.

 

 

Four screws on the back of the PCB are removed to get full access to the GPU core. In typical fashion the thermal paste has been applied heavily from the factory. At the heart of the R4830 is the popular and powerful RV770 core. The RV770 is used in ATI video cards ranging from the 4870x2, in which two RV770s are used, to the less expensive 4850.

 

Lets take a look at the drivers and programs MSI provides with the R4830.

Closer Look:

After physical installation of the R4830 is complete, a driver must be installed to take advantage of the cards full ability. There are two ways to accomplish this. MSI packages the R4830 with a CD that includes the necessary driver. You an also download the specific driver directly from ATI's website. The former is the easiest. Simply put the MSI CD into your optical drive and the installation process will begin. From the opening menu you can either install the video driver or browse the contents of the CD in explorer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After you click on the "ATI VGA Drivers for Vista" button, you will be guided through the video driver and Catalyst Control Center(CCC) installation interface. This process will install all of the necessary drivers and utilities you need to take advantage of the R4830s power. Once the install is complete it is necessary to restart the computer.

 

 

 

Also found on the MSI CD is a user manual and a link to MSIs website. In addition three trial programs are included with the CD. These programs include PowerDVD 7, CyberLink DVD Solution 7 and Norton Internet Security 2008.

 

 

With the card and driver installed you can now tweak the video and display settings using Catalyst Control Center.

Closer Look:

The Catalyst Control Center is where all of the settings for the Powercolor HD4670 PCS are available. There are plenty of options and settings available depending on the capabilities that you choose to use. Each group of settings can be adjusted to your specific viewing preferences and image quality.

Information Center: In the Information Center you can view extensive hardware information as well as driver, CCC and DirectX versions.

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

Digital Panel: In the Digital Panel you can set and view display information such as GPU scaling, DVI settings, and color correction.

 

 

3D: In the 3D tab you can adjust general image quality settings as well as Anti-Aliasing, Anisotropic Filtering and color schemes. There are also a few settings for DirectX and OpenGL.

 

 

AVIVO Video & ATI Overdrive: AVIVO settings allow you to alter the color settings for better viewing. ATI Overdrive gives the user control of the GPU and memory frequencies. For novice users there is a automated clock configuration utility that will find the best overclock for your system settings.

 

 

Specifications:

 

Graphics Engine
ATI Radeon HD 4830
Bus Standard
PCI Express x16 2.0
Memory Type
GDDR3
Memory Size (MB)
512
Memory Interface
256-bit
Core Clock Speed (MHz)
585MHz
Memory Clock Speed (MHz)
1800
Maximum Resolution
2560x1600
RAMDACs
400
DirectX Version Support
10.1
OpenGL Version Support
2.1
CrossFire Support
Yes

 

Features:

Testing:

At OverclockersClub.com, we use a set of benchmarks to stress the graphics card. We will use a series of newer gaming benchmarks, as well as some that are more seasoned, to show how well the Palit HD4850 compares to some of the other enthusiast video cards on the market. We'll be using single GPU models exclusively, to show just how much the Palit HD4850 brings to the table. All driver settings and clock speeds will be left at factory defaults for both the CPU and GPU, in an effort to minimize or eliminate any variables that could impact the results. The test system used in this review is listed below. After testing the card at stock speeds, I'll overclock it to see what kind of performance can be gained. All testing is performed with the default settings in the respective control panels, as well as default settings in the BIOS of the motherboard used in this test. For this round of testing, our drivers have been updated to the 177.79 for the Nvidia cards and the Catalyst 8.8 for the ATI video cards used in this review.

 

Comparison Video Cards:

 

Overclocking:

Overclocked Settings:

I was really impressed by the overclockability of MSI's 4830. In the end I was able to get a nearly 25% overclock on the RV770 core and a 20% overclock on the GDDR3 memory. The R4830 clocks in this review were initially adjusted using CCC and then AMD GPU Clock Tool. To reach my final overclock speeds I began by increasing the core and memory clocks in 25MHz increments until I hit 710/1025. Any speed above 710MHz on the core created instability. However, the memory didn't stop at 1025MHz. I was able to get the memory up to 1075MHz before hitting any instability. As you can see in the screen shot of CCC, even with such a heavy overclock the R4830 still idled at 37 degrees.

Benchmarks:

  1. Crysis
  2. Knights of the Sea
  3. BioShock
  4. Call of Duty 4
  5. World in Conflict
  6. Call of Juarez
  7. Company of Heroes: Opposing Fronts
  8. 3DMark 06 Professional
  9. 3DMark Vantage

Testing:

Crysis has been out for quite some time now. In that time, there has yet to be a single or multi GPU setup that can fully showcase the graphics performance of the game. Will the GTX 280 be that card? The Crysis single player demo includes both CPU and GPU benchmarks to test the performance of your processor and video card.

 

Settings:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The R4830 gives an admirable performance but falls short of its big brothersand high-end nVidia competition at higher resolutions.

Testing:

PT Boats: Knights of the Sea is a new DX10 title that features its own proprietary graphics engine currently in development. The game is a combination of Real Time Strategy and Simulation. You have the ability to control the entire crew or just a single member. Play as the German, Russian or Allied navies, and prove your mettle on the open seas.

 

Video Settings:

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

In stock form the R4830 is the lowest performer in this test. In fact,  all of the ATI cards are behind the Nvidia.

Testing:

BioShock is one of the creepier games out the wild. The building of a perfect Utopian society undersea gone horribly wrong. Its inhabitants driven mad with the introduction of tonics and genetic modifications. Now Rapture is just a shadow of its former glory with little girls looting the dead of what little they have left while being shadowed by guardians known as "Big Daddy's" It is a demanding game that will make your hardware scream for mercy. This First Person Shooter allows for an infinite number of weapons and modifications to provide a unique experience each time it is played. The environment as well as the story line will wrap you up for hours on end.

 

Video Settings:

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When the R4830 is overclocked its peformance is equivalent to the 4850 in the three out of the four tests. At the stock settings performance is on par with the 9800GT.

Testing:

Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare is the successor to the Call of Duty crown. This iteration of the game is fought in many of the world's hot spots with modern armaments and firepower. You can play as either a US Marine or British SAS trooper. Since this game does not feature an in-game test, I will run through a section of the game and measure average FPS using Fraps 2.9.3.

 

Video Settings:

   

 

 

  

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

The R4830 is very impressive in the Call of Duty test. Once again, overclocked performance is huge. The 4870 is actually pressured by its little brother in this one.

Testing:

World in Conflict Released last year World in Conflict is a Real Time Strategy game that simulates the all-out war the world hopes never comes. The difference in this RTS game is that it is not the typical "generate wealth and build" type of game. Instead, you advance by conquering your foe with limited opportunities to replenish your troops..

 

Video Settings:

 

 

 

 
 

  

 

 

 

 

 

The massive overclock applied to the R4830 repeatedly opens up an unexpected amount of performance. The R4830 beats every other card besides the 4870 and GTX260!

Testing:

Call of Juarez is a DX10, first-person shooter set in the Wild West of the late 1800's. The game is inspired, in part, by the movies of the Wild West genre of the seventies and eighties. The game can be played in both single player and multiplayer modes. The game focuses on realistic graphics and gameplay designed to take advantage of the latest video cards on the market.

 

Video Settings:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Even at its factory clocks the R4830 performs well in the Call of Juarez test. In overclocked form it even comes in second behind the 4870 in all four tests.

Testing:

Company of Heroes: Opposing Fronts is the latest chapter in the Company of Heroes series. The scene is WWII. The mission is Operation Market Garden, the first allied attempt to break into the Third Reich. Play as the British or Germans. This Real Time Strategy game is brought to us by Relic Entertainment.

 

Video Settings:

 

 

 

  

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

In our last in-game benchmark the overclocked 4830 ends with a bang by coming in second (or tied for second) in all 4 resolutions!

Testing:

3DMark06 is one of those benchmarks that always comes up when a bragging contest breaks out. 3DMark06 presents a severe test for many of today's hardware components. Let's see how this setup fares. The settings we will use are listed below.

 

Settings:

 

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The R4830 comes in last in all 4 3DMark06 tests. As expected, the MSI-made card made huge jumps once it was overclocked surpassing the 4850 and 9800GT at every resolution.

Testing:

Just added to the OverclockersClub suite of benchmarks is the newest from Futuremark, 3DMark Vantage. Featuring all-new game tests, this benchmark is for use with Vista based systems. "There are two all-new CPU tests that have been designed around a new 'Physics and Artificial Intelligence-related computation.' CPU test two offers support for physics related hardware." There are four preset levels that correspond to specific resolutions. 'Entry' is 1024x768 progressing to 'Extreme' at 1920x1200. Of course, each preset can be modified to arrange any number of user designed testing. For our testing, I will use the four presets at all default settings.

 Settings:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I feel like I am repeating myself here. Decent stock performance. Unsurpassed bang-for-buck performance after overclocking.

Conclusion:

Thrown into a contest filled with more expensive video cards, the R4830 definitely holds its own. MSI's inexpensive video solution went well beyond my expectations. This $135 card was a shocker! The R4830 posted respectable benchmarks at its factory clocks but it became a monster after a massive overclock. The closest nVidia offering in the R4830s price range, the 9800GT, is easily beaten in nearly every benchmark. With that being said, the MSI R4830s closest competition is its big brother, the 4850.This makes sense considering the two cards share the same GPU and have comparable memory specs. In the end the only feature that can differentiate the R4830 from the 4850 is the number of shaders, which are 640 and 800 respectively. However, a lack of shaders doesn't seem to hold the R4830 back. With idle temperatures in the 30s, cooling was superb as well. I would highly recommend this card to a buyer in the mid-range market.

In conclusion, an overclocked R4830 is a cheaper, faster, cooler running version of ATI's 4850. What more could you ask for?

 

Pros:

 

Cons: