Sapphire HD 4670 Review

ccokeman gotdamojo06 - 2008-09-13 13:12:23 in Video Cards
Category: Video Cards
Reviewed by: ccokeman   gotdamojo06   
Reviewed on: January 21, 2009
Price: $79.90

Introduction:  

Have you been looking for a new video card for your computer? Maybe you have been thinking of building a new computer on a budget or a nice little HTPC that will not consume as much power as one of the top of the line computers you have laying around. Whatever you are wanting to do, there is always the option of the new Sapphire HD4670. With this entry level video card, you are going to be able to take advantage of DX10 as well as get the 55nm GPU manufacturing technology. I am interested to see how well this card is going to hold up against some of the higher end cards out there.  

Closer Look:  

The packaging for the Sapphire HD4670 looks very similar to the packaging for most of the other Sapphire cards out on the market. The front of the package has a nice picture of a graphical rendering of a girl with a sword, which symbolizes its beauty as well as its power. The front has the slogan "Prepare to Dominate....." which also gives you the impression that this card is not messing around and that it will get down to some serious business if needed. There is a 512MB GDDR3 logo on the front as well as the HDMI, Windows Vista Certification, 7.1 Sound, ATI CrossfireX badges on the front to let you know a few of the features that you can expect from this video card. When you take a look at the back of the packge, you are going to see a list of some of the other features that come with the card. This is the same on one of the sides of the packaging. The other side is where you are going to see the model name and the card specific information such as the serial number.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When you go to open up the packaging, you are going to find a brown box. This is where the Sapphire HD4670 is located along with all of the accessories that are bundled along with it. The packaging has a foam protection sheet on the top and the bottom to not only keep the card from receiving any heavy damages during the shipping process, but also to keep the card in place as well as the accessories separated from the card. The Sapphire HD4670 itself is protected in a bubble/anti-static wrap to again, keep it from receiving any damage that may occur.

 

 

When you get everything pulled out, you are going to see that there are quite a few accessories that come with this video card, which is always an added bonus. These accessories include a few CDs; There is a Ruby  ROM CD, DVD Suite, PowerDVD, and the Sapphire/ATI driver installation CD. There is also a nice installation manual that will help you with the installation of your card if you need it and provide a little bit of information. The other accessories include a Crossfire bridge, a DVI to analog dongle, a DVI to HDMI dongle and an S-Video to RGB dongle as well.

 

 

 

Now that we have seen what comes with the Sapphire HD4670, it's time to take a closer look at the card itself.  

Closer Look:  

 

When you get the Sapphire HD4670 pulled out of the package, you are able to take the first look at the card itself, which happens to be quite a bit smaller than some of the other cards that are out on the market. It is very similar in size to the old AGP style Radeon 9200s. The PCB of the card is colored blue, which gives it a bright and brilliant look to it, adding some style to your build. There is a heatsink/fan setup that is located over the GPU as well as all of the RAM modules located on the actual card. The back of the card is where you are going to find the screws that are needed to come out to reveal the GPU as well as the RAM modules that are located on the top of the card.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When you remove the small heatsink/fan from the HD4670, you are going to notice that the GPU has been smothered in thermal paste, to help allow the heatsink/fan to cool the GPU as well and efficiently as it possibly can. You are also able to notice that there are four RAM sinks located on the card to make up the totoal 512MB of GDDR3 RAM. The RAM modules are manufactured by Hynix Semiconductor Manufacturing. 

 

 

The Sapphire HD4670 video card is packed with the main features of its more sophicticated brothers. It is CrossfireX capable, while taking advantage of the PCI-E slots that are located on most newer motherbaords to allow for faster data transfer. With the card's lower amount of memory and the lower specifications, it does not require a lot of juice to power the card, which is why Sapphire has not added a PCI-E power adapter to the card. The front of the card has not only the two DVI outputs, it also has an S-Video out put to allow you to connect your PC to your HDTV, making this card perfect for an HTPC setup.

 

 

 

The cooling solution Sapphire decided to use for this cooler is very simple. It is a large block that covers not only the GPU, but it also covers the RAM chips on the top of the card. The top of the cooler has a nice picture of the same lady from the packaging, with a nice sized fan off to the right side of the card to bring in fresh air to help cool the cards components. The back of the cooler is very simplistic.  

 

 

Now that we know what the card looks like, it's time to get the software installed so we can begin to use it!  

Configuration:  

 

The first step is getting the PowerColor HD4670 to work properly, and we will need to place the CD in the optical drive and wait for the software to start up so that we will be able to begin installing it. The drivers that came with it are an outdated version of the Catalyst Control Center, so I went online and dowloaded the most recent version, 8.10, which are the drivers that I will be using.  

 

The first screen that you come to is the Welcome screen, where you are supposed to select which language you wish to install, obviously I will be using English. When you click the next button, you get the option of whether you wish to install the drivers or uninstall them. This screen will make it easier if you need to uninstall an older version, and start over with fresh drivers. The following screen is where you are able to choose if you wish to install the drivers using the Express option or the Custom option. The Express option is the one that will install the most commonly chosen features, while with the Custom option you are able to install only the features you want. I will choose the Custom option to show you what features you can install, which are on the next screen. Check the options you wish to install and click the next button at the bottom.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There is an End User License Agreement that you must accept before you are able to begin the installation. After the installation is complete, you will be prompted with the "Finished" screen.  

 

 

As an added bonus, Sapphire has included several pieces of software from CyberLink. Everyone has heard of PowerDVD, a program to play all of the DVD, Blu-ray, and HD content you desire. DVD Suite includes PowerProducer 4, PowerDirector 5, Power2Go 5.5, and Medi@Show 3, as well as trial versions of Power Backup 2.5, PowerDVD Copy, and LabelPrint 2.

 

 

Last, but not least, is the Ruby ROM Version 11 disk. This disc contains game demos, wallpapers, screen savers, and several applications for you to use.

 

 

 

Now that we have the drivers and the bundled software installed on the computer, it's time to open it up and configure the system to use the HD4670 properly and effectively.

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: The Information Center is where you can view everything about the hardware and software associated with the video card, such as driver versions and hardware specifications.

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Digital Panel: The Digital Panel is where you can set and view monitor information, HDTV settings, ATI's AVIVO color settings, and LCD Overdrive to apply LCD settings that override the monitor's settings.

 

 

 

3D: The 3D tab is where you can modify your visual settings for performance or quality, including Anti-Aliasing, Anisotropic Filtering, color schemes and more.

 

 

VIVO Video & ATI Overdrive: AVIVO settings allow you to alter the color settings for better viewing. ATI Overdrive is where you can push the HD4670 to the limits with overclocking settings. There are controls for the advanced user, or you can use Auto-Tune for automatic overclocking.

 

Specifications:

GPU
RV730 XT
Fabrication Process
55nm
Graphics Clock
750 MHz
Memory Clock 1000 MHz
Memory Interface 128-bit
Memory Size
512MB
Memory Type
GDDR3
RAMDACs
2x400 MHz
Stream Processors
320
HDCP Support
Yes
HDMI Support
Yes (Using DVI-to-HDMI adaptor)
Connectors 2 x dual-link DVI-I 1 x S-Video Out
Bus Technology PCI Express 2.0
Form Factor Single Slot Design
Power Connectors None

 

Features:

 

 

All information courtesy of Sapphire@http://www.sapphiretech.com/us/products/products_overview.php?gpid=253

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 Sapphire HD4670 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 Sapphire HD4670 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 8.11 for the ATI video cards used in this review.

 

Comparison Video Cards:

 

Overclocking:

Overclocked settings:

This version of the HD4670 was much more overclocking friendly that the Powercolor version I tested. Whereas that card did not want to give up any additional clock speed, the Sapphire version easily eclipsed the marks set by that card. The memory on this card just kept scaling upwards and finally gave up the ghost at 1070MHz. I backed down the clock speed 5MHz and I was ready to go. The Core speed increase was not all that substantial, but it is easily 15MHz faster than the Powercolor card. With this additional clock speed, there should be an increase in the performance delivered without a big noise penalty as the fan spools up.

 

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 HD4670 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 Sapphire HD4670 is a little outclassed in this game. At 1024x768 the frame rate may be playable but drops below the 30 FPS threshold at 1280x1024. Dropping the eye candy may allow the HD4670 to maintain a playable frame rate up to 1680x1050.

 

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:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

Knights of the Sea is not a strong benchmark for ATI video cards. The Sapphire HD4670 performs on par with the Powercolor HD4670 in this benchmark.

 

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:

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There is no doubt that the 4670's are the slowest cards in the field. However, they do offer playable frame rates up to the 1920x1200 maximum resolution with all the in game eye candy turned on. The game play was choppy in only the most demanding sections of the runs.

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 2.9.6.

 

Video Settings:

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

Just as in Bioshock, the Sapphire HD4670 is at the lower end of the performance spectrum. It does however, deliver playable frame rates when run through the benchmark at all four resolutions.

 

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 HD4670 is just not built with the graphics horsepower to run this game as run with the settings used for the testing. Get rid of the eye candy and you should be well on the way towards being playable.

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:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By the time I hit the 1280x1024 resolution, the scores were most closely aligned with those of the 8800/9800GT falling short by just 2 FPS.

 

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:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

If you reduce the settings, this game is at least playable. Again, this card is not a graphics powerhouse.

 

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 Sapphire HD4670 bests the Powercolor card in this test in all four resolutions.

Testing:

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 Sapphire 4670 is bested in two resolutions by the Powercolor card. When overclocked, the HD4670 does show significant improvement.

 

Conclusion:

The Sapphire HD4670 is a card that will do just about anything for you. You can game, you can watch the latest high definition content or just sit back and surf the Internet until you fall asleep in the chair (oops sorry that's me). I was really surprised to see the performance that was delivered in two of the benchmarks. This card is able to play COD4 and Bioshock with all the eye candy on all the way up to 1920x1200. Kind of a shocker, but it is a capable little card in those games. But that's not the strong point for the Sapphire HD4670. Now, if you put 2 or more together in a CrossfireX configuration, you should be able to increase the level of performance without putting yourself into serious debt, as the Sapphire HD4670 retails for a scant 80 bones. Its strong point comes to the forefront when you decide to hook it up to a television and watch the latest movies on Blu Ray. The card is equipped to succeed as a work station piece, video content editing tool, or as an HTPC style video card. It features HDMI support with the ability to send the latest 7.1 sound right along with the picture via an HDMI cable. By offloading all the decoding chores to the GPU, you get smoother playback. Picture quality should be an improvement, as the HD4670 will display the output at a full 1080p. If you are worried about additional power draw or consumption, the HD4670 has you covered as well. This card gets all the power it needs from the PCIe slot, no 6 pin or 4 pin power connection to worry about. With that lack of additional power power consumption, you get temperatures lower than what you can get with the higher end cards. 59 degrees Celsius was the maximum temperature I recorded after looping 3DMark06 for an hour. This cooling solution seems to be adequate for the application.

Sapphire usually includes a really nice bundle with the cards they send out. This one is no different. With the supplied adapters and software you will be up and running HD content or gaming in no time. The Sapphire HD4670 delivers gaming performance, cool operation and high definition playback capabilities at a price point that is affordable by just about anyone.

 

Pros:

 

Cons: