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The Radeon HD 4830 at the heart of this card is a cut-down version of AMD’s second-best graphics processor, the RV770. The 4830 has 640 stream processors, compared to the 800 processors in a higher-end card such as the Radeon HD 4870.
The 4830 is designed to run at slower clock speeds, too, and PowerColor sets this model to operate its core at 575MHz and its 512MB of GDDR3 memory at 900MHz. These are pretty hobbled specs compared to those of the reference-design Radeon HD 4870, which boasts core and memory clock rates of 780MHz and 1GHz, respectively.
PowerColor also departs from AMD’s reference design by slapping on an oversized cooler. The RV770 is known to run warm, so we applaud the decision. Bear in mind, however, that the heatsink and fan will obscure whatever slot is adjacent to the card.
We also cheer the company’s decision to include an HDMI port right on the mounting bracket, eliminating the need for an adapter that will add nearly two inches to your PC’s overall depth. When you shove your computer into your entertainment center, two inches can mean the difference between success and failure.
But the Radeon HD 4830 fails to meet our minimum gaming performance requirements, delivering Crysis at 53.5fps and Far Cry 2 at 52.7fps. And since this particular card is too noisy to be considered for a home-theater PC, we can’t recommend it to enthusiasts for that application, either.
HDMI port on the mounting bracket. Oversized cooler keeps the RV770 cool.
Doesn't meet minimum gaming performance requirements. Too noisy for home-theater setup.