Radeon HD 4770 in CrossFire

ATI Radeon HD 4770 512MB Video Cards CrossFire

Last week I brought you a review on ATI’s new Radeon HD 4770 graphics card and followed that up with a guide on how to overclock the card with RivaTuner. When the ATI Radeon HD 4770 512MB was announced it cost $109 with a $10 rebate, but today the card can be found for $99 without a rebate to mess with. If you search around a little you can find the HIS Radeon HD 4770 for $104.99 minus the $10 rebate. That means you can pick up a Radeon HD 4770 for as little as $94.99! If you bought a pair of these cards and ran them in CrossFire you'd be out ~$190, which isn't a bad price considering what you get and how well they overclock. The question is will a pair of Radeon HD 4770 graphics cards running in CrossFire be able to perform faster than the $172.58 Radeon HD 4870 1GB or the $189.99 XFX GeForce GTX 260 Core 216 as the are great cards in the $170-$190 price range. If a pair of Radeon HD 4770 graphics cards in CrossFire can't perform better than either of these single card solutions it wouldn't be worth the money to run CrossFire.

ATI Radeon HD 4770 512MB Video Cards CrossFire

Armed with a pair of ATI Radeon HD 4770 reference cards I was ready to see what a pair of these cards can do in the benchmarks. In the original review the Radeon HD 4770 seemed to be limited by the number of stream processors and the 512MB frame buffer. With a pair of Radeon HD 4770 graphics cards the number of available processing power doubles since the card is paired with another.

ATI Radeon HD 4770 Specifications

You now have 1,280 total shader processors, two 512 MB GDDR5 frame buffers (each on a 128-bit bus), 32 total ROPs and the ability to filter up to 64 textured pixels per clock. When running in CrossFire configuration the clock frequencies remain the same, so each card will still run at 750MHz core clock and 800MHz. That also means the memory bandwidth and data rate will remain the same. Will twice the number of stream processors and doubling the frame buffer help in games?  Let's take a look at the test system and find out.

The Test System

All testing was done on a fresh install of Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit with Service Pack 1 installed. All benchmarks were completed on the desktop with no other software programs running. All of the modules were run in triple-channel mode at 1866MHz. The NVIDIA GeForce graphics cards were benchmarked with Forceware 185.65 drivers; the ATI Radeon HD graphics cards were tested with 9.4 CATALYST beta drivers. The ASUS P6T Deluxe V2 motherboard was run using BIOS 0302 with the processor running stock settings and the Corsair 6GB memory kit was running at 1866MHz with 8-8-8-24 timings.

The Test System

Here is the Intel LGA 1366 Test platform:

Intel Test Platform

 

Component

 

Brand/Model

 

Live Pricing

 

Processor

Intel Core i7 965

 

Motherboard

ASUS P6T Deluxe

 

Memory

6GB Corsair DDR3 1866MHz

 

Video Card

 

Radeon HD 4870X2

 

Hard Drive

 

Western Digital VelociRaptor

 

Cooling

 

Intel Reference

 

Power Supply

 

Cooler Master 1000W

 

Chassis

 

Thermaltake Spedo Advance

 

Operating System

 

Windows Vista Ultimate 64-Bit

GPU-Z 0.3.4 Details on Some of the Cards Tested:

ATI Radeon HD 4770:

Radeon HD 4770

Radeon HD 4770

Sapphire Radeon HD 4890 OC:

Radeon HD 4850

ASUS Radeon HD 4890:

Radeon HD 4870

GeForce GTX 275:

GeForce GTX 275

Crysis Warhead

Crysis Warhead

Crysis Warhead updates and refines the gameplay of Crysis through a side story 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 features new fully customizable weapons, vehicles and enemies, along with new multiplayer content. It also showcases a new, enhanced and optimized version of Cry Engine 2.

Crysis Warhead Benchmark Settings

Playing in “Gamer” mode automatically sets resolution to 1280x1024 and optimizes the other settings around this resolution. We ran the HOC benchmark utility with very high image quality settings to benchmark Crysis Warhead.

Crysis Warhead Benchmark Results

Benchmark Results: Crysis Warhead is tough on video cards with the image quality settings cranked up as you can see from the results above. The Radeon HD 4770 went from being the slowest video card tested to the fastest when run in CrossFire!  The Radeon HD 4770 CrossFire setup performed faster than the Radeon HD 4890 and GeForce GTX 275, which are both more expensive cards. Looks like the Radeon HD 4770 CrossFire setup is going to give a number of higher-end graphics cards a run for their money! 

Far Cry 2

Far Cry 2 is a first-person shooter video game developed by Ubisoft Montreal and published by Ubisoft. It was released on October 21, 2008 in North America. Crytek, the developers of the original game, were not involved in the development of Far Cry 2.

FarCry2 Screen Shot

Ubisoft has developed a new engine specifically for Far Cry 2 called Dunia, meaning "world," "earth" or "living" in Parsi but also used in many languages. The Dunia Engine was built specifically for Far Cry 2 by the Ubisoft Montreal development team. It delivers realistic destructible environments, special effects such as dynamic fire propagation and storm effects, real-time night-and-day cycle, dynamic music system and non-scripted enemy A.I. The engine takes advantage of multi-core processors as well as multiple processors and supports DirectX 9 as well as DirectX 10. Only 2 or 3 percent of the original CryEngine code is re-used, according to Michiel Verheijdt, Senior Product Manager for Ubisoft Netherlands. Far Cry 2 also supports the amBX technology from Philips. With the proper hardware, this adds effects like vibrations, ambient colored lights, and fans that generate wind effects.

For our testing today, we benchmarked exclusively in DirectX 10 with 8x AA enabled at 1280x1024 and then without AA turned on at 1920x1200.

Far Cry 2 Benchmark Results

Benchmark Results: In Far Cry 2 the Radeon HD 4770 512MB does okay at 1920x1200 and 1280x1024 without AA enabled, but once 8xAA was turned the card wasn't able to play the game smoothly like the other cards tested. The same proved true in CrossFire as with AA disabled it beat out all the other cards it was benchmarked against, but with 8xAA enabled at 1280x1024 the Radeon HD 4770 fell behind other single card solutions.

Stalker: Clear Sky

Year 2011. Five years passed since the Second Disaster, which eclipsed the events of April 1986. The Zone is shaken by frequent and powerful blowouts, which move anomaly fields, opening new routes to previously inaccessible locations. Stalker factions fight for the new territories and key points. A lot of stalkers die, but newbies keep on arriving. The action takes place one year prior to the events of S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl, one year before Strelok's most successful trip to the center of the Zone – the third one. We will learn about Strelok and his squad from another character's vantage point.

Image Description

The Zone is waiting for you ahead, new locations and unknown threats, spatial holes and monsters hiding in the fog, pitch-black nights and saving rays of a rising sun. Try to avoid anomalies and hide from blowouts, discover the Zone and collect artifacts, cure radioactive irradiation and fight for any stalker faction you like! Only then you will uncover the truth about Strelok and how he happened to get inside the death track and receive the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. tattoo on his arm.

STALKER Clear Sky Benchmark Settings

STALKER Clear Sky Benchmark Settings

Benchmark Results: S.T.A.L.K.E.R Clear Sky is a great DirectX 10 benchmark that puts some serious stress on graphics cards. The Radeon HD 4770 512MB graphics card in CrossFire was at the top of the performance chart once again easily beating out the more expensive Radeon HD 4890 OC and GeForce GTX 275 setups!

Call of Duty: World At War

Call of Duty: World At War

Call of Duty: World at War completely changes the rules of engagement by redefining WWII gaming and thrusting players into the final tension-filled, unforgiving battles against a new ferocious enemy in the most dangerous and suspenseful action ever seen in WWII.

Powered by Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare technology, Call of Duty: World at War brings an uncensored edge to combat, as soldiers face the most harrowing and climatic European and Pacific battles in which an enemy, who knows no surrender and no retreat, will fight to the last breath, unleashing an arsenal of lethal surprising tactics. Peril and danger lurk throughout the battlefield as players combat the unknown risk of the new chaos of battle.

From the remains of Russia and the ruins of Berlin, to the beach and jungles of the deadly Pacific Theater, the volatile action takes on added depth as players employ new features that previously were only available in multiplayer, including perks, rankings and online stats in up to full four-player cooperative gameplay. New infantry and vehicle-based weapons, like the potent flamethrower, bring the battlefield ablaze.

Call of Duty: World At War

Call of Duty: World At War

Benchmark Results: The Radeon HD 4770 doesn't scale well when running CrossFire in Call of Duty: World At War. I checked to see if I was running the latest drivers and noticed that AMD doesn't have any Radeon HD 4770 public drivers available for consumers. I contacted AMD before this article was published and was told that I had the latest drivers and that public drivers will be available for Radeon HD 4770 in next Catalyst release, which is slated for mid May. AMD also told us that they are seeing scaling internally but depending on the map you choose can impact the amount of scaling. They are seeing 1.3x-1.5x improvements on the map Blood and Irons, which is different from the one we benchmarked with FRAPS.

Tom Clancy: H.A.W.X.

Call of Duty: World At War

Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X. (High Altitude Warfare eXperimental squadron) is an aerial warfare video game developed by Ubisoft Romania and published by Ubisoft for Microsoft Windows. It was released in United States on March 6, 2009 and features Microsoft DirectX 10.1 game play.

Call of Duty: World At War

For this game VSync was turned off, but Antialiasing was turned on and set to 8x for better image quality.

Call of Duty: World At War

All of the DirectX 10 options were set to high including Ambient occlusion (SSAO) on both the NVIDIA and ATI graphics cards.  All of the ATI cards tested had DirectX 10.1 enabled, as in the real world anyone owning one of these cards will have the feature enabled for better performance and improved image quality.

Call of Duty: World At War

Benchmark Results: Tom Clancy's H.A.W.K. has awesome graphics and the ATI Radeon HD 4770 in CrossFire made it playable at 1920x1200 with 8x AA enabled! At 1280x1024 the Radeon HD 4770 CrossFire easily beats out the rest of the cards as it was 21% higher frame rates than the $250 Sapphire Radeon HD 4890 OC graphics card.

3DMark Vantage

3DMark Vantage

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.

3DMark Vantage

The Extreme settings were used for testing, so a resolution of 1920x1200 was used.

3dmark Vantage Benchmark Results

Benchmark Results: The Radeon HD 4770 512MB graphics card scores X3083 in the Extreme test in 3DMark Vantage, but in CrossFire mode the score jumps up to X5504! This puts the Radeon HD 4770 in front of many of the other graphics cards, but by now that isn't a shock!

Power Consumption

For testing power consumption, we took our test system and plugged it into a Seasonic Power Angel. For idle numbers, we allowed the system to idle on the desktop for 15 minutes and took the reading. For load numbers, we measured the peak wattage used by the system while running the game S.T.A.L.K.E.R. - Clear Sky at 1280x1024 resolutions with high image quality.

Total System Power Consumption Results

Power Consumption Results: A pair of ATI Radeon HD 4770 graphics cards running CrossFire uses more power at idle than any of the other cards tested, but this makes sense as it is two cards and this setup has the most stream processors. Under gaming load the results look much better as the Radeon HD 4770 CrossFire uses less power than many of the graphics cards that it beat in the benchmarking.

Final Thoughts and Conclusions

ATI Radeon HD 4770 512MB Video Cards in CrossFire

When the ATI Radeon HD 4770 graphics card was launched it featured a good price versus performance value for a card that cost $109. Now that the price has dropped down to $94.99 after rebate you can purchase two Radeon HD 4770 to be used in CrossFire for $190, which is a phenomenal price for a great setup. At just $190 after rebates the Radeon HD 4770 CrossFire setup will easily out perform ATI’s Radeon HD 4890 OC, which retails for $219.99 after rebate. This puts a dent in the Radeon HD 4890 OC as the Radeon HD 4770 CrossFire setup was 11% faster in Crysis Warhead and costs 13% less. To play devil's advocate a single Radeon HD 4890 OC did lead in a couple benchmarks and if you own a motherboard that lacks CrossFire compatibility you'd need a card like that. A Radeon HD 4890 OC is also nice if want an upgrade path down the road as you can always add another card for more performance. That being said for thoe wanting the most performance for under $200 the Radeon HD 4770 is clearly the right choice.

The Radeon HD 4770 512MB graphics card performs like what many would expect out of a card in the $100 price range, but adding in a second card for CrossFire creates a stellar gaming experience. The 40nm RV740 GPU is a welcomed addition to the ATI lineup and consumers on a budget should be happy with the results being seen with the Radeon HD 4770. As time goes on the price will likely come down even more and you the consumer will end up getting some serious bang for your buck. The only negative we had about running CrossFire on this setup was the lack of real scaling in Call of Duty: World at War. It just goes to show that CrossFire doesn't scale well in every title, but like AMD told us it also depends on the map being benchmarked in the game. No one has time to benchmark every map in a game to see how it performs though.

Legit Bottom Line: Running a pair of Radeon HD 4770 512MB video cards in CrossFire is awesome and the performance boost is enough to compete with cards that cost over $250!