Sapphire HD4830 512MB Review
Reviewed by: ajmatson
Reviewed on: December 2, 2008
With the flux of video cards hitting the market this year how do you choose what is the best for you? In these hard economic times companies are realizing that there is a large market for mainstream cards with the best bang for the buck. Sure there are blazing fast cards but for the price are they really justifiable? ATI has recently released the HD 4830 GPU targeted at the budget conscious user that wants the power to run today's games with no problems. Based off of the much respected HD 4800 series RV770 GPU the HD 4830 does not take its job lightly. Sapphire has taken their proven products and made an HD 4830 card ready to take on any opponent you encounter on the battlefield.
The Sapphire HD 4830 has the same memory type and bus as the HD 4850 with a reduced number of shaders and a slower core clock. Will this make a huge difference in the performance compared to its bigger brother or will the performance be close enough to justify a slower card? Also will the performance be enough to steal the mainstream market especially with a very catchy price point? To find out let's take a good look at the Sapphire HD 4830 and benchmark the card to see where it stands.
The Sapphire HD 4830 comes packaged in a nice looking blue and black schemed box with a Sapphire mascot next to the company and product logos. On the top of the box is Sapphire's gaming slogan "Prepare to Dominate". On the back of the packaging Sapphire points out highlights of the HD 4830 video card as well as what is in the box. Sapphire also places the system requirements on the left spine of the box.
Opening the box reveals a glimpse of the card in protective plastic. Underneath the video card are the accessories that Sapphire has bundled with it. Included with the HD 4830 is a driver CD, a manual, a 4-pin to PCI Express 6-pin power adapter, a DVI to VGA adapter, a DVI to HDMI adapter, a S-Video adapter, and a component video dongle.
Now that everything is unpacked let's take a better look at the card.
Sapphire has chosen to break from the reference design with this card to show how this separates it from the rest of the pack. Sapphire has built their HD 4830 on a blue colored PC Board with an aftermarket heatsink. The Sapphire HD 4830 uses the same RV770 core that is used on the HD 4850 and HD 4870 cards with lower clock speeds and crippled shader and texture units. This also will help keep the Sapphire HD 4830 card running cooler unlike its bigger brothers that were plagued by high temperatures.
The Sapphire HD 4830 video card has two DVI ports, which support Dual Link DVI and multiple displays, and an S-VIDEO port for component video out. The HD 4830 requires a single 6-pin PCI Express power plug to provide the juice needed to push the limits of gaming and other tasks. On the top spine of the PC Board are two tabs which are used to connect this card to other compatible cards in a CrossFireX multi-GPU setup. You can connect up to four cards for QuadFire if you have a supporting motherboard.
As I stated earlier the HD 4830 uses the same RV770 core as its older brothers the HD 4850 and the HD 4870. The Core however runs at a slower 575MHz and only has 640 shader units unlocked instead of 800 on the other two and 32 texture units instead of 40. The memory is 512MB of GDDR3 which runs at 900MHz (1.8GHz effective) all on a 256-bit memory bus. The memory on the Sapphire HD 4830 card is manufactured by Qmionda and is model # HYB18H512321BF-10 which is rated up to 1000MHz so there may be some good overclocking going on.
The cooler added to the Sapphire HD 4830 is a dual slot type design that uses a copper core and aluminum fins to help quickly dissipate heat. There is a large fan which forces air over the fins dropping temperatures and keeping the critical parts cool. This is the same fan we saw on the big brother HD 4850 card from Sapphire and it dramatically reduced operating temperatures so I am pleased to see it on their HD 4830 as well.
Now that we have seen the glory how about we start the testing phase.
Sapphire makes the install a simple process with its install all menu. When the CD is inserted into the CD drive the auto start program takes over launching the Sapphire installation menu. There are two options: one for Windows XP and one for Windows Vista. You need to select the option for the operating system you are installing the card on. To the left there is a list of the cards supported by this driver.
Once you select the Driver Install option then the programs hands the install off to the Catalyst Control Center Installer which will actually install the ATI drivers and get you all set up. You choose the install location and the options you want included in the install and the Catalyst Control Center Installer does the rest. Once the installer is finished then you are prompted to restart the computer to finalize the install process.
Now that the drivers are installed we can get a better look at the Catalyst Control Center.
The Catalyst Control Center is where all of the settings for the Sapphire 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 an automated clock configuration utility that will find the best overclock for your system settings.
Now how about we get some testing going on thie Sapphire HD 4830.
ATI Radeon HD 4830
PCI Express 2.0
|Dual slot active cooler|
DVI x2, S-Video x1
Dual Link DVI Output
|Yes, via adapter|
- GDDR3 memory 256-bit memory interface
- DirectX® 10.1
- 24x custom filter anti-aliasing (CFAA) and high performance anisotropic filtering
- ATI CrossFireX™ multi-GPU support for highly scalable performance
- Use up to four discrete cards with an AMD 790FX based motherboard
- PCI Express® 2.0 support
- Dynamic geometry acceleration
- Game physics processing capability
- ATI Avivo™HD video and display technology Unified Video Decoder 2 (UVD) for Blu-ray™ and HD VideoBuilt-in HDMI with 7.1 surround sound supportOn-chip HDCP
- ATI PowerPlay™ technology
With the HD 4830 being based off of the HD 4800 series RV770 core I am quite excited on seeing what the Sapphire HD 4830 has install for us today. 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.
- Processor: Intel Core2 Quad Q9450
- Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-X48-DQ6
- Memory: Mushkin XP2 Redline 8000 2 x 2GB 5-5-5-12
- Video Card: Sapphire HD 4830
- Power Supply: Mushkin 800w Modular Power Supply
- Hard Drive: Seagate 750GB SATA
- Optical Drive: LG DVD-RW
- OS: Windows Vista Ultimate
Comparison Video Cards:
- Sapphire HD 4830 670/995
To overclock the Sapphire 4830 card I went with the Catalyst Control Center Overdrive program which I knew worked with this new card. I started upping the GPU speed 5MHz at a time until the card became unstable. Then I backed it down little by little until I had a stable overclock on the GPU. Next I followed the same steps on the memory however I stated the overclock at 950MHz since i know the memory is rated for 1000MHz per the manufacturer. I almost hit that ceiling ending up at 995MHz (1990MHz Effective). This is where our overclocking numbers will be ran at.
- Knights of the Sea
- Call of Duty 4
- World in Conflict
- Call of Juarez
- Company of Heroes: Opposing Fronts
- 3DMark 06 Professional
- 3DMark Vantage
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.
- Anti-Aliasing: x2
- Advanced settings to High
The Sapphire card did very well almost matching the HD 4850 at lower resolutions.
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.
- Anti-Aliasing: x0
- Image Quality: High
- DirectX Version: 10
- All resolutions: 60Hz
Tailing on the heels of the MSI and the HD 4850 this cards does not want to give up.
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.
- All settings to maximum
- V-Sync: Off
Wow I did not expect this card to do that well in Bioshock since there are soo many shadows and lights mixing but it did awesome.
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.
- Anti-Aliasing: x4
- Anisotropic Filtering: Max
- Texture Quality: Extra
- All settings max
The Sapphire HD 4830 card kept up well even matching the overclocked MSI 4830 at 1920x1200.
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..
- Anti-Aliasing: x4
- Anisotropic Filtering: x16
- Graphic Detail: Very High
This card is smoking hot giving top end cards a run for their money.
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.
- Details: High
- Shadowmap Size: 2048x2048
- Shadow Quality: Normal
- Anti-Aliasing: MSAA x4
Just look at the scores. Even though it is behind it is performing very well.
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.
- Anti-Aliasing: x8
- All other settings to maximum
The HD 4830 was kicking the heals of the overclocked MSI 4830 and even the HD 4850.
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.
- SM2.0 Graphics Tests: GT1- Return to Proxycon, GT2- Firefly Forest
- CPU Tests: Cpu1- Red Valley, CPU2- Red Valley
- HDR/SM3.0 Graphics Tests: HDR1- Canyon Flight, HDR2- Deep Freeze
Look at the HD 4830 coming close to the HD 4850.
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.
- All default settings in each preset level
- Entry 1024x768
- Performance 1280x1024
- High 1680x1050
- Extreme 1920x1200
Again the HD 4830 is on the heels of the bigger HD 4850 brother.
As we have seen the HD 4830 series card are something to keep an eye on. For the price they offer the power needed to run today's games on medium to high settings with no problem and even take on cards that are designed to be faster than them. When put to the test the Sapphire HD 4830 stood its ground and even matched or beat scores of other cards in its class. When you factor in a price of around $100 for an HD 4830 vs $250 or more for an HD 4870 or a GTX 260 you can purchase two cards and CrossFire them for less than a single card of the latter. This GPU is going to be a hit for those of us who want to push the latest games but want to watch what we spend on our components in the money situation the world is currently facing.
I very much like the dual slot cooler because I personally had issues with early HD 4850 card overheating and this card stayed cool and quiet even when overclocked to speeds higher than the stock HD 4850 cards. Sapphire was smart about the heating issues on the HD 4850 with their dual slot cooling solution and I am very pleased to see they brought it to their HD 4830 line as well to aid in cooling. Out of the HD 4830 cards I tested this one stayed the coolest even to the touch. My HD 4850 has to sit in my case for a few minutes before I even dare to remove it because I have burned my fingers on it before. Sapphire did a great job in designing and building the HD 4830 for us.
- Excellent performance
- Great overclocking headroom
- Runs cooler than other HD 4800 series cards
- Low price compared to other cards in its class
- Runs cool with Sapphires Dual Slot Cooler
- Better performing Cards available