Sapphire HD 4670 Ultimate Edition Reviewccokeman - February 18, 2009
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The Ultimate Edition HD4670 is designed with silence as well as performance in mind. Sporting a large passive heatsink to dissipate the thermal load from the RV 730XT GPU core and 512MB of GDDR3 memory, makes noise a non-issue. The Ultimate Edition features clock speeds of 750MHZ on the GPU and 873MHz (1.746GHz effective) on the 512MB of GDDR3 memory. The RV730 XT core uses 320 stream processing cores with the memory running through a 128 bit bus. The design of the PCB differs slightly from the standard Sapphire HD 4670 reviewed earlier this year.
The reason the Sapphire has not sent a ton of adapters for use with the HD 4670 Ultimate Edition, is that is has quite a bit of connectivity built in to it. For outputs, you have the standard VGA out, a single DVI output and last but not least, an HDMI output for those who really want to display high definition video with support for 7.1 digital surround sound. The back-end of the HD 4670 Ultimate Edition is dominated by the two large heatpipes that run from the GPU core up to the fin array.
One thing that is clear right away is the missing CrossfireX bridge connection that has been a fixture on just about every video card put out by ATI. The HD 4670 Ultimate can be run in Crossfire mode via software instead of the hard linking of the cards via the bridge connector. The fin array on the Ultimate Edition is large enough that it did interfere with the on-board X-FI sound card on the MSI Eclipse.
The heatsink used on the Ultimate Edition HD 4670 is a passive design. This means that its sole means of discharging the thermal load, is to rely on the temperature differential between the air in the chassis and the heatsink itself. Of course better case airflow will allow the heatsink to be more effective. Sapphire has come up with creative solutions for cooling ATI based video cards over the past year with the Toxic and Atomic series of video cards. Vapor Chamber cooling and water cooling are two of the avenues they have explored successfully. But now on the Ultimate Edition, the silent heatsink uses two heatpipes attached to a copper plate to and aluminum block and fin array. As large as the heatsink is, it should prove to be effective at cooling this series of cards.
Underneath the passive heatsink we have the RV730 XT core that features 320 stream processors has 514 million transistors and is built on a 55 nanometer process. The 512MB of GDDR3 memory on the Ultimate Edition is supplied by Hynix and carries part number H5RS5223CFR-N0C and is rated for operation at 1000MHz.
Putting the Sapphire HD 4670 Ultimate Edition into the test system presented only one challenge. That being the fact that the on-board sound solution on the test system uses a Creative X-Fi PCIe sound card that resides in the top 1x PCIe slot just above the HD 4670. The large passive heatsink does not allow this card to stay in the uppermost slot, so I pulled out the standard PCI X-Fi and moved on forward to get the card installed. No additional power is needed for this card, so the PCIe slot will provide all the juice it needs to run.
Now that this card from Sapphire is installed lest see how it performs in the OCC benchmark suite.