PowerColor Radeon HD 4830 Graphics Card

ATI pricing has become very aggressive over the past few months. Today we focus our attention on what could well be a top choice for budget gamers.
@ShawnBakerTW
Published Mon, Feb 23 2009 11:00 PM CST   |   Updated Fri, Sep 18 2020 10:50 PM CDT
Rating: 84%Manufacturer: PowerColor

Introduction


PowerColor HD 4830 Graphics Card



ATI continue to do things that frustrate me. We understand that they're not in the best position at the moment, but they continue to make amateur mistakes. I'm involved in the industry and the HD 4830 at launch made no noise whatsoever.

There wasn't a company out there that wanted to send out a sample as soon as possible, nor did ATI make any effort as far as advertising the product goes. The thing is, though, when I tested the HD 4830 from MSI I was surprised to see that it was a really a good card for its money.

Today we have PowerColors version of the card. To date we've only had one HD 4830 come through the door and that card managed to set the bar high for the model. You have to wonder, is PowerColor going to come within arm's reach of the bar, or hop straight over it?

There's ultimately only one way to find out, so let's have a look at what the company has done with the package before we have a closer look at the card and then its performance. From there we will wrap it all up and hopefully the PowerColor card can offer us something that we didn't get from the MSI one which managed to impress.

The Package




PowerColor have opted for a taller box that isn't as wide. Across the top of it we have the PowerColor logo while across the bottom we have a bit of a motto and just above that the model, in this case the HD 4830.

PowerColor HD 4830 Graphics Card


The rest of the box is mainly taken up by a picture of a sword wielding character (I want to say babe, but I'm worried it's just a guy with long hair). To the right of the box we have some ATI logos along with some of the main features including 512MB of GDDR3, DVI and more.

PowerColor HD 4830 Graphics Card


Turning the box over, we have some more information on the card, some of the main features, the technology implemented along with a bit of a run down on Crossfire and CrossFireX if you're interested in spending the big bucks.

PowerColor HD 4830 Graphics Card


Moving inside and bypassing the graphics card, you're greeted with nothing really. Apart from a very basic installation guide we have a DVD which offers us drivers along with some CyberLink software and another program called iClone2. As far as extra cables go, we have nothing provided here. This is not only disappointing, but also somewhat of a surprise.

The Card




Moving to the card, we can see a black heatsink fan that sits in the middle of the card. On top of the fan we have a sticker that lets you know the card is a PowerColor one. We can see a pretty basic fan design with nothing too fancy going on. While being hard to tell, the fan is a dual slot one, which is important to know for some people.

PowerColor HD 4830 Graphics Card


If you have a look closely you can see behind the heatsink/fan we have some gold colored heat sinks that sit on top of the memory. We can also see another heatsink that sits towards the back of the card.

PowerColor HD 4830 Graphics Card


PowerColor HD 4830 Graphics Card


Looking around the card some more, we have a single 6-pin PCI Express power connector located at the back of the card. Moving across the top of the card we're greeted with our Crossfire connectors which let you put multiples of this card together.

PowerColor HD 4830 Graphics Card


Finally, in the I/O department we see something a bit exciting. While we have our typical Dual-Link DVI connector, we also have a VGA connector present. This is the reason no DVI-to-VGA connector is included. What we also have is a HDMI connector, which is great and really opens the card up to other markets such as the HTPC one.


Specifications

In the clocks department the PowerColor HD 4830 doesn't hold any surprises. The core carries with it the stock 575MHz clock while the 512MB of GDDR3 memory carries the stock 1800MHz DDR clock, which can be seen below.

PowerColor HD 4830 Graphics Card

Test System Setup and 3DMark Vantage


Test System Setup

Processor(s): Intel i7 920 @ 3.8GHz (190MHz x 20)
Cooling: Noctua NH-U12P (Supplied by Noctua)
Motherboard(s): GIGABYTE EX58-UD5 (Supplied by GIGABYTE)
Memory: 3 X 2GB OCZ Technology PC-12800 DDR-3 8-8-8-24 (OCZ3G1600LV6GK)
Hard Disk(s): Western Digital 300GB Velicorapter (Supplied by Western Digital)
Operating System: Windows XP Professional SP2, Windows Vista SP1 64-Bit
Drivers: Catalyst 9.1


What we'll do today is have a look at how the PowerColor HD 4830 goes against the much loved HD 4850, but in this case it's a bit of a pimped out version from HIS which carries with it the IceQ4 cooling solution.

With the HD 4830 coming in at $89.99 U.S. Dollars from Newegg, it's anywhere from $50 to $60 cheaper than the HD 4850. While that might not sound like a lot for people who are buying GTX 295s, when you're talking about a $100 card it equates to a 50%+ price increase.

With that said, let's see not only how the PowerColor HD 4830 goes, but have a peek to see if it can pack some serious value with its aggressive price tag.


3DMark Vantage

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.0.1
Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com
Product 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.


PowerColor HD 4830 Graphics Card


In our first test the HD 4850 has quite the lead on the HD 4830. But being a synthetic test, it's not the most important. We will have to see if the two cards sit closer together in a real world environment.

Benchmarks - PT Boats: Knights of the Sea


PT Boats: Knights of the Sea

Version and / or Patch Used: Benchmark Demo
Developer 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.


PowerColor HD 4830 Graphics Card


PowerColor HD 4830 Graphics Card


At high the PowerColor HD 4830 is just a bit behind that 30 FPS minimum. Even at 1920 x 1200 it sits only 5 FPS behind. Adjusting the settings should allow you to be able to get that important 30 FPS minimum.

Benchmarks - CINEBENCH R10


CINEBENCH R10

Version and / or Patch Used: Release 10
Developer 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).


PowerColor HD 4830 Graphics Card


Under CINEBENCH we can see that the HD 4830 from PowerColor absolutely flies along.

Benchmarks - World in Conflict


World in Conflict

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.0.0.5
Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in Test
Developer 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.


PowerColor HD 4830 Graphics Card


PowerColor HD 4830 Graphics Card


Under WIC we find both cards have trouble getting over that 30 FPS minimum. While only a small drop in detail is needed for the HD 4850 to come around at 1680 x 1050, the HD 4830 does need a slightly larger drop. This will give us a smooth gaming experience, though, which is what we ultimately want.

Benchmarks - Crysis Warhead


Crysis Warhead

Version and / or Patch Used: unpatched
Timedemo or Level Used: Airfield
Developer Homepage: http://www.crytek.com
Product Homepage: http://crysiswarhead.ea.com/
Buy It Here




Crysis Warhead updates and refines the gameplay of the original game through a sidestory plot involving Psycho, one of previous protagonist Nomad's allies. The game is a parallel story that follows Sergeant Michael "Psycho" Sykes, a character from the original Crysis, as he faces his own trials and challenges on the other side of the island during the time period of the first game.

It also showcases a new, enhanced and optimized version of CryEngine 2 using full DX10 extensions and is the first game developed by Crytek's Budapest studio.

PowerColor HD 4830 Graphics Card


PowerColor HD 4830 Graphics Card


Crysis Warhead performance is a bit all over the place. We can see that the HD 4830 really struggles under this game and while the HD 4850 does do considerably better, its overall scores are less than stellar.

Benchmarks - Far Cry 2


Far Cry 2

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.01
Timedemo or Level Used: Ranch Long
Developer Homepage: http://www.ubi.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.farcry2.com/
Buy It Here




The Dunia Engine was built specifically for Far Cry 2 by the award-winning Ubisoft Montreal development team. It delivers the most realistic destructible environments, amazing special effects such as dynamic fire propagation and storm effects, real-time night-and-day cycle, dynamic music system, non-scripted enemy A.I. and so much more.


PowerColor HD 4830 Graphics Card


PowerColor HD 4830 Graphics Card


At Very High we can see the HD 4830 is right on the edge of that important 30 FPS barrier. With just a little tweaking there, we won't have any problems breaking the 30 FPS minimum. If you put a bit more time in to finding that sweet spot, you should be able to break the 30 FPS minimum at 1920 x 1200.

Benchmarks - S.T.A.L.K.E.R. - Clear Sky


S.T.A.L.K.E.R. - Clear Sky

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.5.07
Timedemo or Level Used: Custom Timedemo
Developer Homepage: http://www.gsc-game.com/
Product Homepage: http://cs.stalker-game.com/en/
Buy It Here




S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky, is the stand-alone prequel for S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl, a first-person shooter computer game by Ukrainian developer GSC Game World.[3] The game consists of a roughly 50/50 mix of new areas and old, remodeled areas from the previous game. The X-ray graphics engine has been updated to version 1.5 and includes DirectX 10 support (later patch 1.5.06 included DirectX 10.1). Additionally, the AI received an overhaul to accommodate the new faction wars feature.

PowerColor HD 4830 Graphics Card


PowerColor HD 4830 Graphics Card


Under Clear Sky we see the card doesn't perform that much slower than the HD 4850, but at these settings both cards struggle to put out playable FPS.

Benchmarks - Left 4 Dead


Left 4 Dead

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update
Timedemo or Level Used: Custom Timedemo
Developer Homepage: http://www.valvesoftware.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.l4d.com/
Buy It Here




Left 4 Dead uses the latest version of Valve's Source engine, with improvements such as multi-core processor support and physics-based animation to more realistically portray hair and clothing, and to improve physics interaction with enemies when shot or shoved in different body parts. Animation was also improved to allow characters to lean realistically when moving in curved paths.

Rendering and artificial intelligence were scaled up to allow for greater number of enemies who can navigate the world in better ways, such as climbing, jumping or breaking obstacles. Lighting has been enhanced with new self-shadowing normal mapping and advanced shadow rendering that is important to convey information about the environment and player actions.

PowerColor HD 4830 Graphics Card


We can see that the HD 4830 does lag behind the HD 4850 a fair bit again, but at up to 1920 x 1200 you shouldn't have any drama playing Left 4 Dead at its max settings.

Benchmarks - High Quality AA and AF


High Quality AA and AF

Our 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.


Far Cry 2

PowerColor HD 4830 Graphics Card


PowerColor HD 4830 Graphics Card


At these intense settings you can see that both cards sit quite close together, which is a bit of a surprise. We saw this in our non AA tests, though, at 2560 x 1600.


World In Conflict

PowerColor HD 4830 Graphics Card


PowerColor HD 4830 Graphics Card


Both of these cards aren't really built for high resolution AA / AF gaming and we can see while the HD 4830 does again lag behind, the HD 4850 still struggles to offer a playable setup under these settings.


Left 4 Dead

PowerColor HD 4830 Graphics Card


We again see the HD 4830 lag behind as expected. Again, though, at these settings a 28 FPS or 35 FPS average isn't playable.

Benchmarks - World in Conflict - XP


World in Conflict

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.0.0.5
Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in Test
Developer 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.

PowerColor HD 4830 Graphics Card


PowerColor HD 4830 Graphics Card


We see under WIC that the HD 4380 offers a playable setup at 1680 x 1050. With a bit of fine tuning in the options, getting a 30 FPS minimum at 1920 x 1200 shouldn't be too much of an issue either.

Benchmarks - Far Cry 2 - XP


Far Cry 2

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.01
Timedemo or Level Used: Ranch Long
Developer Homepage: http://www.ubi.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.farcry2.com/
Buy It Here




The Dunia Engine was built specifically for Far Cry 2 by the award-winning Ubisoft Montreal development team. It delivers the most realistic destructible environments, amazing special effects such as dynamic fire propagation and storm effects, real-time night-and-day cycle, dynamic music system, non-scripted enemy A.I. and so much more.


PowerColor HD 4830 Graphics Card


PowerColor HD 4830 Graphics Card


Under XP we see the HD 4830 has trouble getting a 30 FPS minimum at 1680 x 1050 with these settings. Moving down to high or medium, however, should yield the increased performance we need in order to break that 30 FPS minimum.

Benchmarks - S.T.A.L.K.E.R. - Clear Sky - XP


S.T.A.L.K.E.R. - Clear Sky

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.5.07
Timedemo or Level Used: Custom Timedemo
Developer Homepage: http://www.gsc-game.com/
Product Homepage: http://cs.stalker-game.com/en/
Buy It Here




S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky, is the stand-alone prequel for S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl, a first-person shooter computer game by Ukrainian developer GSC Game World.[3] The game consists of a roughly 50/50 mix of new areas and old, remodeled areas from the previous game. The X-ray graphics engine has been updated to version 1.5 and includes DirectX 10 support (later patch 1.5.06 included DirectX 10.1). Additionally, the AI received an overhaul to accommodate the new faction wars feature.

PowerColor HD 4830 Graphics Card


PowerColor HD 4830 Graphics Card


We again see both cards struggle under Clear Sky. The settings would have to be dropped quite low for the game to be playable, even at our lowest resolution here.

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.


PowerColor HD 4830 Graphics Card


Even though the HIS HD 4850 has a very fancy aftermarket cooler, its temps are only slightly better than the HD 4830 cooling solution that PowerColor offers.


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).


PowerColor HD 4830 Graphics Card


Noise levels are pretty good with it lining up nicely with the aftermarket cooling option on the HD 4850.

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.


PowerColor HD 4830 Graphics Card


It's interesting to see the HD 4830 using slightly more power. But this is nothing to be worried about with most power supplies not having an issue running this card.

Final Thoughts




The HD 4830 really is a great little card. At $89.99 from Newegg you really can't go wrong. Spending the extra money on a HD 4850 is going to be worth it to people who can stretch the budget that far, but if you want to stay under that all important $100 barrier then you honestly can't go wrong with the PowerColor HD 4830.

What I love so much about this card as well is the included HDMI port; it really opens the card up for people who want a card for their HTPC while packing a bit more punch when compared to its lower end companions.

It's not all smiles, though; the PowerColor HD 4830 lacks any form of bundle. With only a single DVI port on the card we would have liked a HDMI-to-DVI connector included in the bundle, which is something that we quite often see with HDMI cards that don't have two DVI ports on the I/O.

Apart from the bundle, though, there's nothing to really complain about. Honestly, for the price there isn't a whole lot out there that's better. If you're not fussed about a bundle, want something that can game well on a 22" monitor (or even a 24" - 27" depending on your video settings) and don't want to spend a heap, the PowerColor HD 4830 is an excellent choice.

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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.

We openly invite the companies who provide us with review samples / who are mentioned or discussed to express their opinion. If any company representative wishes to respond, we will publish the response here. Please contact us if you wish to respond.

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