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PowerColor HD 4890 Review

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As manufacturers introduce new performance products, the expectation is they will provide a boost in performance over the previous generation. This is something the PowerColor HD 4890 delivered. It did out-perform the HD 4870 in almost every resolution in every benchmark. Sometimes the margin was slim and other times was quite a bit larger. The problem is that it falls a bit short of the performance delivered by the latest from NVIDIA the GTX 275 in most of the games tested. The one bright spot in the performance testing, was during the Crysis Warhead test, where the HD 4890 delivered top-level performance against the single GPU cards tested in all four resolutions. That alone is worthy of praise. The other bright spot is that it looks like ATI at least finally has a cool running card with a reference cooler. At idle I measured temperatures of 45 degrees Celsius and 71 degrees Celsius under load - all with the driver controlling the fan speeds. A good thing really, because once you adjust the fan speed manually, you have noise that is equivalent to my wife's hair drier at full song. The cooler does provide a benefit when fan speed is pushed to near 100%, with temperatures dropping to 55 degrees Celsius under load. The noise is just too much though, as it was easily the loudest thing in the chassis. When it came to overclocking, the HD 4890 did shine. It offered a 14% increase in the GPU clock speed to 970MHz and just under 9% on the memory at 1060MHz. With these clock speed increases, the HD 4890 delivered tangible results across the board. The HD 4890 will set you back $259 at launch, but as past history has shown, the pricing may change. The price falls right in the middle of the pricing for the HD 4870 1GB models that range in price from $180 to $299 at popular e-tailers. That put the pricing above the GTX 260 and below the GTX 280/285. The HD 4890 carries all the attributes of the HD 4870, such as the on-chip HDCP, Unified Video Decoder, CrossfireX capability and HDMI output with 7.1 sound in a more powerful package. The HD 4890 is a performance improvement over the HD 4870 and can deliver excellent gaming performance at resolutions of up to 2560x1600 with the eye candy on. Two of these cards in a CrossFireX configuration should offer a stunning increase in performance.



  • Faster than HD 4870 performance
  • Excellent overclocking
  • Cool running
  • Increased performance
  • HDMI Output via Dongle
  • Well priced



  • Noisy fan


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