The ATI Radeon HD 4890 isn’t anything new; however, ASUS has been one of the few companies to break out of the mold with a slightly modified Radeon HD 4890 PCB and custom heatsink. Too often companies get lost in the monotony of the hardware industry product cycles, but ASUS always continues to surprise me with their innovation. That may be giving them a bit too much credit but it seems that many companies are content with buying the reference design and slapping their sticker on the heatsink. There is typically a mandatory period during which these reference samples are required to be sold, but too often companies keep selling the same stuff months later.
With the EAH4890, ASUS designed their own PCB and installed a custom cooling solution to create a Radeon HD 4890 video card that should push the envelope when it comes to performance and overclocking. Not only should it perform better, but it also looks better since it is no longer a cookie cutter Radeon HD 4890.
What’s that, my friends? That is a real heatsink. ASUS did not prance around with this one; I believe this heatsink could have handled the notoriously hot ATI Radeon HD 2900XT and asked for a second helping of heat. It has been a while since a “stock” heatsink has impressed me as much.
Besides the fancy heatsink, ASUS has included an 8-pin and 6-pin PCIe power connector instead of the standard dual 6-pin and a large capacitor known as a ‘Super ML Cap’ to help add stability input voltages to the cards. ASUS is the first in the video card industry to use these polymer-based capacitors, so it will be interesting to see if more companies follow in the months to come. Super ML Caps, a shorter term for Multilayer Polymer Capacitors, offer many advantages over ceramic capacitors. Super ML Caps have the lowest and most stable ESR among all kinds of caps, not to mention they remain stable under all voltage conditions and run cooler! ASUS claims that the Super ML Cap will help with the card’s overclocking potential by up to 300%, and we’ll put this claim to the test after our standard testing procedure.
For those interested in putting one of these fine pieces of work into their PCs, ASUS recommends at least a 550 Watt power supply with at least 40 Amps available on the +12v rail. Let’s take a closer look at the ASUS EAH4890 HTDI/1GD5 and then get to the benchmarks!