Sapphire Radeon HD 4670 in Crossfire

Today ATI have responded to the NVIDIA 9500 GT and to say we're surprised with the results would be an understatement.
| Sep 8, 2008 at 11:00 pm CDT
Rating: 92%Manufacturer: Sapphire

Introduction

Sapphire Radeon HD 4670 in Crossfire
IntroductionThis might sound a bit slack, but when continuously hearing so much information of what's coming, I've literally come to the point where I no longer listen to it or process it in my head until the product is in my hot little hands.While I had heard about the HD 4670 for a while and that it was going to be a 9500 GT DDR3 killer, I as usual didn't really process it all until just the other day when the card arrived.What we need to find out today is how the card performs, what it offers and also what happens when we put two of these $79 USD cards together. Before we get stuck into all that, though, let's have a look at the package Sapphire has put together.

The Package

The PackageThe box design isn't anything we haven't seen from Sapphire before; across the top of the box we have the Sapphire logo along with a number of other logos. Across the bottom of the box we have the model which in this case is the HD 4670 along with some of the main features.
Sapphire Radeon HD 4670 in Crossfire
In the middle of the box we have a picture of a woman with a sword along with a tag line. We also have mention that the card comes with 512MB of GDDR3 memory along with some Cyberlink software and the Ruby ROM we've been seeing on all the new Sapphire HD 4000 series cards.
Sapphire Radeon HD 4670 in Crossfire
Turning the box over, we have some more features explained on the card along with a few of the awards that Sapphire have won over the past few years. We also have a bit of a blurb, mention of what's in the box along with the brand and tag line across the top and model with some features across the bottom.
Sapphire Radeon HD 4670 in Crossfire
Moving inside the package, we have the standard user manual along with the driver CD. We also have included the software that was mentioned on the front of the box which included Ruby ROM and two Cyberlink DVDs with a number of programs on them.
Sapphire Radeon HD 4670 in Crossfire
Alongside standard cables like the component out cable, S-Video to RCA connector and DVI to VGA connector, we also have a Crossfire connector and DVI to HDMI connector included.

The Card

The CardPulling the card out of the box, there isn't a whole lot to get excited about which doesn't come as any real surprise. We can see that Sapphire have used the standard small heatsink/fan combination that we're quite accustomed to seeing from them in the mid-range cards.
Sapphire Radeon HD 4670 in Crossfire
Just above the cooler we can see some of our DDR3 modules showing while we have the typical blue PCB design from Sapphire that helps it stand out from the competition.
Sapphire Radeon HD 4670 in Crossfire
Being a mid-range card, there is of course no external power needed, which means as far as stand out features go, when looking around the only thing we notice are the two Crossfire connectors located at the top of the card.
Sapphire Radeon HD 4670 in Crossfire
The I/O side of things offers us two Dual-Link DVI connectors with a standard TV-Out port sitting in the middle of them.SpecificationsThe HD 4670 from Sapphire comes in with a 750MHz core clock and the 512MB of GDDR3 memory at a very healthy 2000MHz DDR. The card of courses uses a PCI-E 2.0 interface, but like all other ones, is backwards compatible to 1.1.Hidden beneath the core we have Direct X 10.1 support, 320 stream processors, a 128-bit memory interface, unified video decoding (UVD), Crossfire support and the ability to get 7.1 surround sound through the HDMI adapter.

Test System Setup and 3DMark06

Test System SetupProcessor(s): Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 @ 3GHz (333MHz x 9)Cooling: Corsair Nautilus500 (Supplied by Corsair) with Arctic Cooling MX-2 Thermal Compound (Supplied by Arctic Cooling)Motherboard(s): GIGABYTE X48-DQ6 (Supplied by GIGABYTE)Memory: 2 X 1GB Kingston PC6400 DDR-2 3-3-3-10 (KHX6400D2ULK2/2G) (Supplied by Kingston)Hard Disk(s): Seagate 250GB 7200RPM SATA-2 7200.10 (Supplied by Seagate)Operating System: Windows XP Professional SP2, Windows Vista SP1Drivers: NVIDIA ForceWare 177.79, Catalyst 8.8, Catalyst HD 4670 BetaWith two HD 4670 cards in hand, what we will do today is compare the card against the 9500 GT DDR3 which sits in the same price bracket. Since we do have two that we will Crossfire, we will also throw the HD 4850 into the mix to see how two of these cards perform against it; just to give us an idea of what's going on. 3DMark06Version and / or Patch Used: Build 110Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.comProduct Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com/products/3dmark06/Buy It Here
3DMark06 is the worldwide standard in advanced 3D game performance benchmarking. A fundamental tool for every company in the PC industry as well as PC users and gamers, 3DMark06 uses advanced real-time 3D game workloads to measure PC performance using a suite of DirectX 9 3D graphics tests, CPU tests, and 3D feature tests.3DMark06 tests include all new HDR/SM3.0 graphics tests, SM2.0 graphics tests, AI and physics driven single and multiple cores or processor CPU tests and a collection of comprehensive feature tests to reliably measure next generation gaming performance today.
Sapphire Radeon HD 4670 in Crossfire
Straight away we can see the HD 4670 has a big jump on the 9500 GT. Also, in Crossfire we can see the cards are able to outperform a single HD 4850.

Benchmarks - 3DMark Vantage

3DMark VantageVersion and / or Patch Used: 1.0.1Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.comProduct Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com/products/3dmarkvantage/Buy It Here
3DMark Vantage is the new industry standard PC gaming performance benchmark from Futuremark, newly designed for Windows Vista and DirectX10. It includes two new graphics tests, two new CPU tests, several new feature tests, and support for the latest hardware. 3DMark Vantage is based on a completely new rendering engine, developed specifically to take full advantage of DirectX10, the new graphics API from Microsoft.
Sapphire Radeon HD 4670 in Crossfire
Under Vantage we see the HD 4670 comes out well ahead of the 9500 GT. In Crossfire the gains are also very good, though this time it's a little slower than the HD 4850.

Benchmarks - PT Boats: Knights of the Sea

PT Boats: Knights of the SeaVersion and / or Patch Used: Benchmark DemoDeveloper Homepage: http://en.akella.com/Product Homepage: http://www.pt-boats.net/
PT Boats: Knights of the Sea is a naval action simulator that places gamers in charge of a mosquito fleet of the Allied Forces, Russia or Germany during the height of World War II.Using the latest Direct X 10 technology PT Boards - Knights of the Sea manages to apply a lot of stress to the components of today which in turn gives us quite an intensive benchmark.
Sapphire Radeon HD 4670 in Crossfire
Sapphire Radeon HD 4670 in Crossfire
Under PT Boats we again see the HD 4670 perform very well when compared to the 9500 GT. In Crossfire we again see some good gains which puts the card just behind the HD 4850.

Benchmarks - CINEBENCH R10

CINEBENCH R10Version and / or Patch Used: Release 10Developer Homepage: http://www.maxon.net/Product Homepage: http://www.maxon.net
CINEBENCH is a real-world test suite that assesses your computer's performace capabilities. MAXON CINEBENCH is based on MAXON's award-winning animation software, CINEMA 4D, which is used extensively by studios and production houses worldwide for 3D content creation. MAXON software has been used in blockbuster movies such as Spider-Man, Star Wars, The Chronicles of Narnia and many more.MAXON CINEBENCH runs several tests on your computer to measure the performance of the main processor and the graphics card under real world circumstances. The benchmark application makes use of up to 16 CPUs or CPU cores and is available for Windows (32-bit and 64-Bit) and Macintosh (PPC and Intel-based).
Sapphire Radeon HD 4670 in Crossfire
Under CINEBENCH we can see all the cards sit quite close together.

Benchmarks - World in Conflict

World in ConflictVersion and / or Patch Used: 1.0.0.5Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in TestDeveloper Homepage: http://www.massive.se Product Homepage: http://www.worldinconflict.com
World in Conflict is a real-time strategy video game by Massive Entertainment and to be published by Sierra Entertainment for Windows (DX9 and DX10) and the Xbox 360.The game is set in 1989 where economic troubles cripple the Soviet Union and threaten to dissolve it. However, the title pursues a "what if" scenario where, in this case, the Soviet Union does not collapse and instead pursues a course of war to remain in power. It is an intensive new game is sure to put plenty of stress on even the latest graphics cards and we use the built-in benchmarking for our testing.
Sapphire Radeon HD 4670 in Crossfire
Sapphire Radeon HD 4670 in Crossfire
Firing up WIC, we see big gains when compared to the 9500 GT. In Crossfire we also see the cards perform very well, putting it right next to the HD 4850.

Benchmarks - Crysis

CrysisVersion and / or Patch Used: 1.2.1Timedemo or Level Used: Custom time demoDeveloper Homepage: http://www.crytek.com/ Product Homepage: http://www.ea.com/crysis/Buy It Here
From the makers of Far Cry, Crysis offers FPS fans the best-looking, most highly-evolving gameplay, requiring the player to use adaptive tactics and total customization of weapons and armor to survive in dynamic, hostile environments including Zero-G.Real time editing, bump mapping, dynamic lights, network system, integrated physics system, shaders, shadows and a dynamic music system are just some of the state of-the-art features the CryENGINE™ 2 offers. The CryENGINE™ 2 comes complete with all of its internal tools and also includes the CryENGINE™ 2 Sandbox world editing system.
Sapphire Radeon HD 4670 in Crossfire
Under Crysis we continue to see the HD 4670 wipe the floor with the 9500 GT. Going into Crossfire we again see a good performance increase which puts the cards at about the same performance as a single HD 4850.

Benchmarks - Unreal Tournament 3

Unreal Tournament 3Version and / or Patch Used: 1.1Timedemo or Level Used: Developer Homepage: http://www.epicgames.com/ Product Homepage: http://www.unrealtournament3.com/Buy It Here
Following the formulae that made Unreal Tournament so great the third installment to the series has hit us recently with better than ever graphics. The games uses the latest Unreal Engine which like most modern day games when maxed out puts the pressure on our lineup of graphics cards.
Sapphire Radeon HD 4670 in Crossfire
We continue to see excellent performance from the HD 4670 for this price bracket. In Crossfire, while the lower resolution performance doesn't give much at 1600 x 1200, we again see a nice boost.

Benchmarks - High Quality AA and AF

High Quality AA and AFOur high quality tests let us separate the men from the boys and the ladies from the girls. If the cards weren't struggling before they will start to now.3DMark06
Sapphire Radeon HD 4670 in Crossfire
Turning on AA, we can see that the new 4000 series cards don't fumble like they used to with it performing extremely well. In Crossfire we can see the performance increase is excellent, putting it ahead of the HD 4850.World In Conflict
Sapphire Radeon HD 4670 in Crossfire
Sapphire Radeon HD 4670 in Crossfire
WIC with AA and AF on doesn't disappoint with the HD 4670 performing just as we have become accustomed too. Under Crossfire we see the cards perform exceptionally well too.

Benchmarks - 3DMark06 - XP

3DMark06Version and / or Patch Used: Build 110Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.comProduct Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com/products/3dmark06/Buy It Here
3DMark06 is the worldwide standard in advanced 3D game performance benchmarking. A fundamental tool for every company in the PC industry as well as PC users and gamers, 3DMark06 uses advanced real-time 3D game workloads to measure PC performance using a suite of DirectX 9 3D graphics tests, CPU tests, and 3D feature tests.3DMark06 tests include all new HDR/SM3.0 graphics tests, SM2.0 graphics tests, AI and physics driven single and multiple cores or processor CPU tests and a collection of comprehensive feature tests to reliably measure next generation gaming performance today.
Sapphire Radeon HD 4670 in Crossfire
Under XP we continue to see the HD 4670 perform well with the Crossfire performance also being impressive. Of course, the test is only synthetic so not the be all and end all of tests.

Benchmarks - CINEBENCH R10 - XP

CINEBENCH R10Version and / or Patch Used: Release 10Developer Homepage: http://www.maxon.net/Product Homepage: http://www.maxon.net
CINEBENCH is a real-world test suite that assesses your computer's performace capabilities. MAXON CINEBENCH is based on MAXON's award-winning animation software, CINEMA 4D, which is used extensively by studios and production houses worldwide for 3D content creation. MAXON software has been used in blockbuster movies such as Spider-Man, Star Wars, The Chronicles of Narnia and many more.MAXON CINEBENCH runs several tests on your computer to measure the performance of the main processor and the graphics card under real world circumstances. The benchmark application makes use of up to 16 CPUs or CPU cores and is available for Windows (32-bit and 64-Bit) and Macintosh (PPC and Intel-based).
Sapphire Radeon HD 4670 in Crossfire
Under XP we can see that all the ATI cards perform very similar with the 9500 GT falling to the back of the pack.

Benchmarks - World in Conflict - XP

World in ConflictVersion and / or Patch Used: 1.0.0.5Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in TestDeveloper Homepage: http://www.massive.se Product Homepage: http://www.worldinconflict.com
World in Conflict is a real-time strategy video game by Massive Entertainment and to be published by Sierra Entertainment for Windows (DX9 and DX10) and the Xbox 360.The game is set in 1989 where economic troubles cripple the Soviet Union and threaten to dissolve it. However, the title pursues a "what if" scenario where, in this case, the Soviet Union does not collapse and instead pursues a course of war to remain in power. It is an intensive new game is sure to put plenty of stress on even the latest graphics cards and we use the built-in benchmarking for our testing.
Sapphire Radeon HD 4670 in Crossfire
Sapphire Radeon HD 4670 in Crossfire
Like all our other WIC tests, we see the HD 4670 perform very well when compared to the 9500 GT. Adding a second card into the mix has also given us some impressive gains, putting it at a similar level to the HD 4850.

Benchmarks - Unreal Tournament 3 - XP

Unreal Tournament 3Version and / or Patch Used: 1.1Timedemo or Level Used: Developer Homepage: http://www.epicgames.com/ Product Homepage: http://www.unrealtournament3.com/Buy It Here
Following the formulae that made Unreal Tournament so great the third installment to the series has hit us recently with better than ever graphics. The games uses the latest Unreal Engine which like most modern day games when maxed out puts the pressure on our lineup of graphics cards.
Sapphire Radeon HD 4670 in Crossfire
Finally we leave our game testing with UT3 and the HD 4670 continues not to disappoint with some good numbers in single and Crossfire form.

Temperature and Sound Tests

Temperature Tests
With the TES 1326 Infrared Thermometer literally in hand we found ourselves getting real-world temperatures from the products we test at load (3D clock speeds).There are two places we pull temperature from - the back of the card directly behind the core and if the card is dual slot and has an exhaust point we also pull a temperate from there, as seen in the picture.
Sapphire Radeon HD 4670 in Crossfire
The HD 4670 cooler doesn't run too hot at all; you have to make note though that the ZOTAC 9500 GT is a passively cooled card.Sound Tests
Pulling out the TES 1350A Sound Level Meter we find ourselves quickly yelling into the top of it to see how loud we can be.After five minutes of that we get a bit more serious and place the device two CM away from the fan on the card to find the maximum noise level of the card when idle (2D mode) and in load (3D mode).
Zotac 9800 GTX+ Zone
The little fan is a little loud, but nothing too concerning.

Power Consumption Tests

Power Consumption Tests
Using our new PROVA Power Analyzer WM-01 or "Power Thingy" as it has become quickly known as to our readers, we are now able to find out what kind of power is being used by our test system and the associated graphics cards installed. Keep in mind; it tests the complete system (minus LCD monitor, which is plugged directly into AC wall socket).There are a few important notes to remember though; while our maximum power is taken in 3DMark06 at the same exact point, we have seen in particular tests the power being drawn as much as 10% more. We test at the exact same stage every time; therefore tests should be very consistent and accurate.The other thing to remember is that our test system is bare minimum - only a 7,200RPM SATA-II single hard drive is used without CD ROM or many cooling fans.So while the system might draw 400 watts in our test system, placing it into your own PC with a number of other items, the draw is going to be higher.
Sapphire Radeon HD 4670 in Crossfire
Power draw was surprisingly lower on the HD 4670 when compared to the 9500 GT. Under Crossfire there's a bit of an increase, but nothing too crazy.

Final Thoughts

Final ThoughtsIt seems like we're not the only one with the HD 4670. I know there are plenty of review sites with the card, but it also seems like some people at NVIDIA have a card which lead to an interesting e-mail this morning.The e-mail pretty much said in a nutshell "Please compare the HD 4670 to the 9600 GSO and 9600 GT and not the 9500 GT, because that's where the card is really aimed at". This was fair enough, so I took the time to do a bit of research on pricing; the HD 4670 has a launch RRP of $79 US. A 9500 GT DDR3 card with 512MB can be had for as cheap as $64 US, but most seem to sit around the $74 US to $79 US mark. What this means is that the card sits perfectly against the HD 4670. The 9600 GSO is actually more in the $89 US price range and carries with it less memory. If you look at the 768MB version to compare against the 512MB 9500 GT, the price tends to be up over $100 US.So, with that sorted let's talk about the HD 4670. For a mid-range card the thing is an absolute beast. The HD 4000 series is everything the HD 3000 series should have been. High end is important, but ultimately it's the under $100 cards that sell and it looks like the HD 4670 is a real winner. It's clear that NVIDIA are concerned about the card. And so they should be with the performance it puts out. Sure it lacks in some features like CUDA and PhysX, but what is so important to people is how well is it going to run their games. At the end of the day the HD 4670 is going to run every game you play better than the 9500 GT 512MB GDDR3 card. AMD deserve a pat on the back because this card is really fantastic and running two in Crossfire is also great. We didn't have any nasty problems, incompatibilities or anything like that. It ran fast from the word go. Adding a second card is going to be a cheap upgrade path for a lot of people later down the track.Since NVIDIA already have their lineup of mid-range cards out, the only way they can combat the HD 4670 is with an aggressive price drop. We've seen them do it before, but today if you're looking for a mid-range card that offers simply fantastic value for money that will let you play games at up to about 1600 x 1200 with medium settings or even 1680 x 1050 which requires slightly less power, the card is a fantastic option for people looking for value.
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Shawn takes care of all of our video card reviews. From 2009, Shawn is also taking care of our memory reviews, and from May 2011, Shawn also takes care of our CPU, chipset and motherboard reviews. As of December 2011, Shawn is based out of Taipei, Taiwan.

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