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The HD 4890 from MSI: A Factory Overclocked Card Sporting Reference Cooling
George Ross, April 24, 2009

With the RV770 putting AMD back into a favorable position in the graphics game last year the hopes are high for the much touted RV790 or HD 4890. The HD 4890 is almost just the same as a HD 4870 with no added stream processing units or new manufacturing process. However the HD 4890 does offer an optimized core that is able to run at higher clock frequencies than the HD 4870. The cooler is also very similar to that of the HD 4870 with the only difference being an added heatpipe to better cool the processing core.

Packaging & Contents

When you first pick up the box that MSI packs the HD 4890 in it is apparent that this is one heavy video card. Perhaps that's why it comes with a handle so you can handle the load better. I really liked the packaging job MSI has done with the HD 4890. It is unique and provides the card with ample protection from the riggers of shipping. The only thing I felt was off was the lack of foam for the front of the card. With such a nice box you would think they would have added the foam for the front of the card, but I guess that that takes away from the 'WOW' moment when you first open the box.

I was most impressed with how the accessories were placed in this package. They were packed under the card and out of the way. The card does come with all the accessories that you need to get this card up and running. What is nice to see is a video card come with most the video output options covered and this card delivers with a DVI to D-Sub adapter, a DVI to HDMI adapter, an S-Video cord, a RCA adapter, and a composite HDTV adapter. The only noticeable absence is the lack of DisplayPort output. Couple the video output accessories with the two 4-pin Molex to 6-pin PCI-E adapters, a CrossFire bridge, two quick install guides and a driver CD it is plain to see that MSI has done a good job at providing you with the accessories you may need.

Test Hardware
The HD 4890 was tested against a stock HD 4870, an overclocked HD 4870 and an overclocked 8800GT. Here are the rest of the particulars on the 3.6GHz quad core test system.

Processor Intel Core 2 Quad Q6700 @ 3.6GHz
Motherboard GIGABYTE GA-EP45C-DS3R
Memory OCZ 4GB DDR3 1600 (PC2 12800) @ 720 MHz (DDR 1440) 7-7-7-28 Dual Channel Mode
Hard Drive Seagate Barracuda ES.2 ST3250310NS 250GB 7200 RPM 32MB cache SATA 3.0Gb/s
Video Cards MSI Radeon HD 4890 @ 880 MHz core 999 MHz memory (3996 Gb/s)
Catalyst 9.4
POWERCOLOR Radeon HD 4870 @ 750 MHz core 900 MHz memory (3600 Gb/s)
Catalyst 9.4
POWERCOLOR Radeon HD 4870 @ 850 MHz core 1100 MHz memory (4400 Gb/s)
Catalyst 9.4
EVGA GeForce 8800GT @ 738MHz Core 1836MHz Shader 1000MHz Memory
182.50 Driver
Optical Disk Drive Pioneer DVR-112DBK
Power Supply Rosewill Xtreme RX750-S-B 750W
Operating System Windows Vista Ultimate x64 SP1

Gaming Benchmarks

The numbers speak for themselves the HD 4890 puts up some serious performance for its $250 price point. The HD 4890 outpaces the overclocked HD 4870 in overall frames per second by a margin of 7%. This shows the HD 4890 is more than just a higher clocked HD 4870.

Power Consumption
The HD 4890 draws less power when idling than the HD 4870 and draws more power under load.

MSI has done a good job with there version of the HD 4890 providing you with all the things you need to get this card up and running, packaging it very well, and giving you a 30MHz speed bump over the standard HD 4890.

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