PowerColor HD4830 Review

ajmatson - 2008-11-24 04:28:01 in Video Cards
Category: Video Cards
Reviewed by: ajmatson   
Reviewed on: November 30, 2008
Price: $120.00

Introduction:

With the great economic hardships that we are in more and more people are being cost conscious when they make a purchase wether it be gas for the car or computer hardware. We want the best we can get for the money we spend. ATI has realized this issue and also realize that people want to get that upgrade to bring their computers faster and up to date so they have released the HD 4830 series card. The HD 4830 series cards bring a good performer for not a lot of money to the video card table. PowerColor has released their HD 4830 targeted at mainstream PC users looking for a bit of a graphics boost. 

 

Closer Look:

The PowerColor HD 4830 card comes packaged in the same type and design that the other 4800 series cards arrived in that I previously tested. On the front of the box is their mascot  and logo surrounded by specification logos and the card model. On the rear of the box PowerColor expands on some of the more important specifications and features that the HD 4830 has to offer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Opening the packaging there is an inner box that is designed to keep the contents and the card safe and secure. Once you open the flap you get a teaser of the card in the protective anti-static wrapping. Inside the box is the PowerColor HD 4830 card, a driver CD, and a manual. Nothing else is provided.

 

 

Now that everything is out of the box let's get a better look at the card up close.

Closer Look:

The HD 4830 uses the same RV770 core that is used in the HD 4850 and HD 4870 cards however it is clocked at a lower speed of 575MHz and only has 640 shader units and 32 texture units unlike the PowerColor HD 4850 which has 800 shaders and 40 texture units. The memory also runs at a slower 900MHz (1800MHz effective). Just like the other HD 4800 series cards this card is PCI Express 2.0 and runs on a 256-bit memory bus. PowerColor has decided to use the reference color PC Board but chose to go with a larger dual slot aftermarket cooler for reduced temperatures which is nice since most 4800 series cards run warm.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PowerColor has made the I/O panel a little more interesting by offering three of the main video connectors directly on the card without the need for dongles or adapters. Available is one DVI port, one VGA port, and one HDMI port. To power the HD 4830 there is a 6-pin power port on the rear of the card. This provides the card with enough juice to push your games to the max. There are two tabs on the top spine of the card that are used to connect multiple cards in a CrossFire combination. You can string up to four cards for a QuadFire system with a supported motherboard.

 

 

Once the heatsink is removed you get a better look at the GPU. Like I mentioned earlier this is the same RV770 core that the HD 4850 and HD 4870 cards use with a mechanism used to lock out some of the shader and texture units. This core is also clocked lower than the two which also helps keep the card cooler. There is 512MB of DDR3 memory available and the card uses a 256-bit memory bus. The GPU still has 956M transistors and 16 ROPs as the other 4800 series cards.

 

 

To cool the HD 4830 PowerColor has chosen to use a dual slot aftermarket cooler which is made of a black colored aluminum and designed with fins to dissipate heat quickly. There is a small fan that is used to push cooler air through the fins and keep the air circulating.

 

 

Now that we have seen the card it is time to install the drivers and get going.

Closer Look:

To install the drivers PowerColor makes it easy with a browser based install menu. Once you place the CD into the drive a popup auto start window comes on the screen. Run the auto start program and the browser will come up with the options to install drivers and additional software available from PowerColor.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Choose the correct drivers from the menu and the browser hands the install off to the Catalyst Control Center Installer to get you all set up. Just select your language, install directory, and the options you want installed and the Catalyst Control Center will do the rest. Once the installer is finished you are prompted to restart the computer to finish the install process.

 

 

PowerColor has also included two extra programs to enrich your experience with your new video card. The first one is iClone 2SE which is a 3D creation tool designed to get people interested in 3D modeling started on the right path with an easy to use modeling tool. The second is the CyberLink DVD Suite so you can start watching movies, making videos, and backing up your files.

 

 

Now with the CCC installed we can take a better look at the options available to us to fine tune the HD 4830.

Closer Look:

The Catalyst Control Center is where all of the settings for the Powercolor HD 4830 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.

 

 

Now how about we get some testing going on the PowerColor HD 4830.

Specifications:

 

Graphics Engine
ATI Radeon HD 4830
Video Memory
512MB GDDR3
Engine Clock
575MHz
Memory Clock
900MHz x2
Memory Interface
256-bit
DirectX Support
10.1
BUS Speed
PCI Express 2.0
VGA Output
Yes
DVI Output
DVI-I x 1
Dual Link DVI Output
Yes
HDMI Support
Yes, on board
HDCP Support
Yes

 

Features:

 

Testing:

With the HD 4830 being based off of the HD 4800 series RV770 core I am quite excited on seeing what this bad boy can do. To gauge the scores on an average I will be including a slew of cards currently on the market so you can see where it stands among the mid to high range video cards. To eliminate any variables, all hardware will be ran at stock speeds, timings, and voltage so there will be no interference in the numbers. All of the hardware will remain the same for each video card tested to keep the scores fair.

 

 

Comparison Video Cards:

 

Overclocking:

Overclocked Settings:

Wow was I surprised when I got to overclocking this baby. She took everything I threw at her and begged for more. Using the Catalyst Control Center I was able to increase the core speed from 575MHz to a whopping 670MHz; almost 100MHz increase. Not bad for a little card like this. As expected the memory came close to the rated 1GHz limit topping off at 995MHz ( 1990MHz Effective ). This card easily reached these speeds by upping them in 5Mhz increments each until it became unstable and then I backed off 1MHz at a time until I had no more issues or display problems.

 

 

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 PowerColor HD 4830 card performed very well as expected but it even beat out the 8800GT and 9800GT at 1920x1200.

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:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

Again even by being the slowest card it held on very strong.

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:

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I must say I am completely amazed on how well the HD 4830 keeps overcomming the 8800GT and the 9800GT cards.

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:

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

Again the HD 4830 does very well holding on.

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:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

  

 

 

 

 

 

Wow this card is a beast look at those overclocked numbers.

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:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Again this card puts a smile on my face.

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:

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

The HD 4830 was kicking the heels of the overclocked MSI 4830 and even the HD 4850.

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:

 

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Again the PowerColor HD 4830 came in slightly behind the pack as expected but still did well for itself.

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:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The HD 4830 ran strong in this new benchmark even tying the HD 4850 at 1920x1200.

Conclusion:

What can I say my jaw is on the floor currently. I was not expecting this card to do that well. I mean the HD 4800 series are great cards but with what was disabled I had fears that it crippled a good card. Boy was I wrong. At stock this card even puts the HD 4850 in a battle for the race and bypasses even the 9800GT and the 8800GT cards which were considered great cards of their time. Overclocking this beast puts it that much more in the lead. At a price of $120.00 this card is a no brainer. For under $250, which is about what a GTX 260 would cost you, you can have a killer CrossFire combination that could possibly out do some of the best single cards on the market. Better yet pair this card with an HD 4850 or a 4870 and you have a low cost upgrade that allows you to run on maximum resolutions and settings. With what the PowerColor HD 4830 has to offer you would be a noob not to check it out.

PowerColor, by adding a different heatsink for the HD 4830, has helped solve the heat issues that plagued the earlier HD 4800 series cards. Even under load I never saw temperatures go over 50C degrees and my HD 4850 from PowerColor reached 80C in a matter of seconds. Even overclocked the card stayed under 62C degrees. Considering the less heat being generated this will help keep overall system temperatures down.

 

Pros:

 

Cons: