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[nextpage title=”Introduction”]

The recently launched Radeon HD 4830 is basically a capped Radeon HD 4850, running at lower clock rates and having less graphics processors  available, but offering a far more attractive price tag than its big sister. Does this new video card provide a good cost/benefit ratio like its big sister? Let’s see.

Radeon HD 4830 uses the same architecture of Radeon HD 4850 and Radeon HD 4870, but with 640 graphics processors instead of 800 like these other high-end models. Clocks are also different. While Radeon HD 4850 runs at 625 MHz and accesses its memory at 1 GHz (2 GHz DDR), the new Radeon HD 4830 runs at 575 MHz and accesses its memory at 900 MHz (1.8 GHz DDR).

One very important thing to know is that the first batch of Radeon HD 4830 came with the wrong BIOS installed, which enabled 560 graphics processors instead of all 640 the graphics chip has. According to AMD this problem affected around 400 video cards. The solution to this problem is performing a BIOS upgrade. According to Sapphire, their model does not suffer from this issue. For a more detailed description and correction of this problem, click here.

In our review we will compare Radeon HD 4830 to a myriad of video cards available on the market, including its direct competitor, GeForce 9800 GT. We will talk more about the differences between the new Radeon HD 4830 and all other video cards included in our review in the next page, but before let’s take an in-depth look at the reviewed model from Sapphire.

The first thing that caught our eye was the fact that Sapphire decided to use its own cooler instead of using the infamous standard cooler designed by ATI/AMD, which is heavy and known to heat a lot, increasing the temperature inside your PC.

Sapphire Radeon HD 4830Figure 1: Sapphire Radeon HD 4830.

Sapphire Radeon HD 4830Figure 2: Sapphire Radeon HD 4830.

Sapphire Radeon HD 4830Figure 3: Sapphire Radeon HD 4830.

This video card requires the installation of one 6-pin auxiliary power connector.

The reviewed video card has eight 512 Mbit GDDR3 memory chips from Qimonda (HYB18H512321BF-10), making its 512 MB memory. These chips support up to 1 GHz (2 GHz DDR), so there is an 11% margin for you to overclock the memories with them still inside their specs. Of course you can try overclocking them above their labeled maximum clock rate.

In Figure 4, you can see all accessories and CDs/DVDs that come with this video card. With the accessories that come with this card you can convert the video output to VGA, HDMI, component video and composite video, plus the DVI and S-Video connectors already present on the product.

Sapphire Radeon HD 4830Figure 4: Accessories.

This video card doesn’t come with any games.

Now let’s compare the Radeon HD 4830 specifications to the specs of all other video cards included in our comparison.

[nextpage title=”More Details”]

To make the comparison between Radeon HD 4830 and the other video cards we included in this review easier, we compiled the table below comparing the main specs from these cards. If you want to compare the specs of the reviewed video card to any other video card not included in the table below, just take a look at our NVIDIA Chips Comparison Table and on our AMD ATI Chips Comparison Table.

GPU Core Clock Shader Clock Processors Memory Clock Memory Interface Memory Transfer Rate Memory Price
GeForce GTX 280 602 MHz 1,296 MHz 240 1,107 MHz 512-bit 141.7 GB/s 1 GB GDDR3 USD 405 – 470
GeForce GTX 260 576 MHz 1,242 MHz 192 1,000 MHz 448-bit 112 GB/s 896 MB GDDR3 USD 240 – 310
GeForce 9800 GX2 600 MHz 1,500 MHz 128 1,000 MHz 256-bit 64 GB/s 1 GB GDDR3 USD 220 – 285
GeForce 9800 GTX+ 738 MHz 1,836 MHz 128 1,100 MHz 256-bit 70.4 GB/s 512 MB GDDR3 USD 190 – 210
GeForce 9800 GTX 675 MHz 1,688 MHz 128 1,100 MHz 256-bit 70.4 GB/s 512 MB GDDR3 USD 148 – 180
Palit GeForce 9800 GT 1 GB 600 MHz 1.5 GHz 112 900 MHz 256-bit 57.6 GB/s 1 GB GDDR3 USD 170
Radeon HD 4870 X2 750 MHz 750 MHz 800 900 MHz 256-bit 115.2 GB/s 1 GB GDDR5 USD 530 – 550
Radeon HD 4870 750 MHz 750 MHz 800 900 MHz 256-bit 115.2 GB/s 512 MB GDDR5 USD 290 – 310
Radeon HD 4850 625 MHz 625 MHz 800 993 MHz 256-bit 63.5 GB/s 512 MB GDDR3 USD 160 – 200
Radeon HD 4830 575 MHz 575 MHz 640 900 MHz 256-bit 57.6 GB/s 512 MB GDDR3 USD 130
Sapphire Atomic HD 3870 X2 857 MHz 857 MHz 320 927 MHz 256-bit 59.3 GB/s 1 GB GDDR3
Radeon HD 3870 776 MHz 776 MHz 320 1,125 MHz 256-bit 72 GB/s 512 MB GDDR4 USD 95 – 150

It is important to note that this table reflects the current prices for the listed video cards at Newegg.com, which are lower than the prices we published in other reviews, since prices tend to drop every day.

Some important observations regarding this table:

  • All NVIDIA chips are DirectX 10 (Shader 4.0), while all AMD/ATI chips are DirectX 10.1 (Shader 4.1).
  • The memory clocks listed are the real memory clock. Memory clocks are often advertised as double the figures presented, numbers known as “DDR clock.” Radeon HD 4870 and Radeon HD 4870 X2 use GDDR5 chips, which transfer four data per clock cycle and thus the “DDR clock” for these video cards is four times the value presented on this table (i.e., 3.6 GHz).
  • GeForce 9800 GX2, Radeon HD 3870 X2 and Radeon HD 4870 X2 have two GPU’s.
    The numbers on the table represent only one of the chips.
  • All video cards included on our review were running at the chip manufacturer default clock configuration (i.e., no overclocking), except Sapphire Atomic HD 3870 X2. The official core clock for Radeon HD 3870 X2 is 825 MHz, while the official memory clock is 900 MHz. So this card was a little bit overclocked. We couldn’t reduce these clocks to their reference values and since we hadn’t any other Radeon HD 3870 X2 available we included this video card anyway.
  • Prices were researched at Newegg.com on the day we published this review.
  • We couldn’t find Sapphire Atomic HD 3870 X2 for sale. This model will be more expensive than cards from other vendors based on the same GPU because it features water cooling. Just for you to have an idea, prices on the regular Radeon 3870 X2 are quoted between USD 160 and USD 275.

Before going to our tests let’s recap the main features from Sapphire Radeon HD 4830.

[nextpage title=”Main Specifications”]

Sapphire Radeon HD 4830 main features are:

  • Graphics chip: Radeon HD 4830, running at 575 MHz.
  • Memory: 512 MB GDDR3 memory (256-bit interface) from Qimonda (HYB18H512321BF-10), running at 900 MHz (“1.8 GHz”).
  • Bus type: PCI Express x16 2.0.
  • Connectors: Two DVI (with HDMI support) and one S-Video output (with component video support).
  • Video Capture (VIVO): No.
  • Cables and adapters that come with this board: S-Video to component video cable, S-video to composite video adapter, DVI-to-VGA adapter, DVI-to-HDMI adapter and one standard 4-pin peripheral power plug to 6-pin PCI Express auxiliary power plug (PEG) adapter.
  • Number of CDs/DVDs that come with this board: One.
  • Games that come with this board: None.
  • Programs that come with this board: None.
  • Minimum Required Power Supply: 450 W.
  • More information: https://www.sapphiretech.com
  • Average price in the US*: USD 130.00

* Researched at Newegg.com on the day we published this review.

[nextpage title=”How We Tested”]

During our benchmarking sessions, we used the configuration listed below. Between our benchmarking sessions the only variable was the video card being tested.

Hardware Configuration

Software Configuration

  • Windows Vista Ultimate 32-bit
  • Service Pack 1

Driver Versions

  • nForce driver version: 15.17
  • AMD/ATI video driver version: Catalyst 8.5
  • AMD/ATI video driver version: Catalyst 8.6 + hotfix (8.501.1.0, 6/21/2008) (Radeon HD 4850, HD 4870)
  • AMD/ATI video driver version: 8.520.0.0 (Radeon HD 4870 X2)
  • AMD/ATI video driver version: 8.10 (Radeon HD 4830)
  • NVIDIA video driver version: 175.16
  • NVIDIA video driver version: 177.34 (GeForce GTX 260, GTX 280)
  • NVIDIA video driver version: 177.79 (GeForce 9800 GT, 9800 GTX+)

Software Used

Resolutions and Image Quality Settings

Since we were comparing very high-end video cards, we ran all our tests under three 16:10 widescreen high resolutions: 1680×1050, 1920×1200, and 2560×1600. We always tried to run the programs and games in two scenarios for each resolution, one with low image quality settings and then maxing out the image quality settings. The exact configuration we used will be described together with the results of each individual test.

Error Margin

We adopted a 3% error margin; thus, differences below 3% cannot be considered relevant. In other words, products with a performance difference below 3% should be considered as having similar performance.

[nextpage title=”3DMark06 Professional”]

3DMark06 measures Shader 3.0 (i.e., DirectX 9.0c) performance. We run this software under three 16:10 widescreen resolutions, 1680×1050, 1920×1200, and 2560×1600, first with no image quality enhancements enabled – results we call “low” on the charts and tables below –, then setting 4x anti-aliasing and 16x anisotropic filtering. See the results below.

Radeon HD 4830

3DMark06 Professional 1.1.0 – 1680×1050 – Low Score Difference
Radeon HD 4870 X2 17557 61.10%
Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD 3870 X2 16260 49.20%
GeForce 9800 GTX+ SLI 16221 48.84%
GeForce 9800 GX2 15623 43.36%
GeForce GTX 280 14904 36.76%
Radeon HD 4870 14215 30.44%
GeForce GTX 260 13701 25.72%
GeForce 9800 GTX+ 13355 22.55%
GeForce 9800 GTX 12759 17.08%
Radeon HD 4850 11842 8.66%
GeForce 9800 GT 11471 5.26%
Radeon HD 4830 10898  
Radeon HD 3870 10694 1.91%
Radeon HD 4830
3DMark06 Professional 1.1.0 – 1920×1200 – Low Score Difference
Radeon HD 4870 X2 17414 77.93%
GeForce 9800 GX2 15547 58.85%
Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD 3870 X2 15489 58.26%
GeForce 9800 GTX+ SLI 15486 58.23%
GeForce GTX 280 14215 45.24%
Radeon HD 4870 13017 33.00%
GeForce GTX 260 12668 29.44%
GeForce 9800 GTX+ 12206 24.72%
GeForce 9800 GTX 11631 18.84%
Radeon HD 4850 10691 9.24%
GeForce 9800 GT 10253 4.76%
Radeon HD 4830 9787  
Radeon HD 3870 9454 3.52%
Radeon HD 4830
3DMark06 Professional 1.1.0 – 2560×1600 – Low Score Difference
Radeon HD 4870 X2 15920 117.84%
GeForce 9800 GTX+ SLI 14146 93.57%
GeForce 9800 GX2 13015 78.09%
Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD 3870 X2 12315 68.51%
GeForce GTX 280 11766 61.00%
Radeon HD 4870 10159 39.01%
GeForce GTX 260 9894 35.39%
GeForce 9800 GTX+ 9365 28.15%
GeForce 9800 GTX 8743 19.64%
Radeon HD 4850 8077 10.52%
GeForce 9800 GT 7679 5.08%
Radeon HD 4830 7308  
Radeon HD 3870 6823 7.11%
Radeon HD 4830
3DMark06 Professional 1.1.0 – 1680×1050 – High Score Difference
Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD 3870 X2 16260 104.71%
Radeon HD 4870 X2 16134 103.12%
GeForce 9800 GTX+ SLI 13946 75.58%
GeForce 9800 GX2 13900 75.00%
GeForce GTX 280 12157 53.05%
Radeon HD 4870 11063 39.28%
GeForce GTX 260 10617 33.66%
GeForce 9800 GTX+ 9391 18.23%
GeForce 9800 GTX 8981 13.07%
Radeon HD 4850 8881 11.81%
Radeon HD 4830 7943  
GeForce 9800 GT 7899 0.56%
Radeon HD 3870 6915 14.87%
Radeon HD 4830
3DMark06 Professional 1.1.0 – 1920×1200 – High Score Difference
Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD 3870 X2 15489 117.88%
Radeon HD 4870 X2 15313 115.40%
GeForce 9800 GTX+ SLI 13091 84.15%
GeForce 9800 GX2 12213 71.80%
GeForce GTX 280 10991 54.61%
Radeon HD 4870 10014 40.86%
GeForce GTX 260 9450 32.93%
GeForce 9800 GTX+ 8144 14.56%
Radeon HD 4850 7972 12.14%
GeForce 9800 GTX 7811 9.87%
Radeon HD 4830 7109  
GeForce 9800 GT 6826 4.15%
Radeon HD 3870 6114 16.27%
Radeon HD 4830
3DMark06 Professional 1.1.0 – 2560×1600 – High Score Difference
Radeon HD 4870 X2 12479 139.38%
Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD 3870 X2 12315 136.24%
GeForce 9800 GTX+ SLI 10893 108.96%
GeForce 9800 GX2 9829 88.55%
GeForce GTX 280 8704 66.97%
Radeon HD 4870 7550 44.83%
GeForce GTX 260 7285 39.75%
GeForce 9800 GTX+ 6065 16.34%
Radeon HD 4850 5896 13.10%
GeForce 9800 GTX 5774 10.76%
Radeon HD 4830 5213  
GeForce 9800 GT 5045 3.33%
Radeon HD 3870 4319 20.70%

[nextpage title=”3DMark Vantage Professional”]

3DMark Vantage is the latest addition to the 3DMark series, measuring Shader 4.0 (i.e., DirectX 10) performance and supporting PhysX, a programming interface developed by Ageia (now part of NVIDIA) to transfer physics calculations from the system CPU to the video card GPU in order to increase performance. Mechanical physics is the basis for calculations about the interaction of objects. For example, if you shoot, what exactly will happen to the object when the bullet hits it? Will it break? Will it move? Will the bullet bounce back? Notice that we didn’t upgrade the PhysX to the latest version, which would make the physics calculations for CPU Test 2 to be made by the GPU instead of the CPU on NVIDIA video cards (since we aren’t considering CPU or 3DMark scores this change wouldn’t produce any increase in our results anyway).

We ran this program at three 16:10 widescreen resolutions, 1680×1050, 1920×1200, and 2560×1600. First we used the “Performance” profile, and then we used the “Extreme” profile (basically enabling anti-aliasing at 4x, anisotropic filtering at 16x, and putting all detail settings at their maximum or “extreme” value. The combination of 2560×1600 resolution with extreme settings didn’t produce reliable results according to the program, so we aren’t going to add them here. The results being compared are the “GPU Scores” achieved by each video card.

Radeon HD 4830
3DMark Vantage Professional 1.0.1 – 1680×1050 – Performance Score Difference
Radeon HD 4870 X2 11697 177.18%
GeForce 9800 GTX+ SLI 8725 106.75%
GeForce GTX 280 7695 82.35%
GeForce 9800 GX2 6990 65.64%
Radeon HD 4870 6193 46.75%
GeForce GTX 260 5898 39.76%
Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD 3870 X2 5651 33.91%
Radeon HD 4850 4797 13.67%
GeForce 9800 GTX+ 4499 6.61%
Radeon HD 4830 4220  
GeForce 9800 GTX 3805 10.91%
GeForce 9800 GT 3691 14.33%
Radeon HD 3870 2977 41.75%
Radeon HD 4830
3DMark Vantage Professional 1.0.1 – 1920×1200 – Performance Score Difference
Radeon HD 4870 X2 9472 186.94%
GeForce 9800 GTX+ SLI 6545 98.27%
GeForce GTX 280 6106 84.97%
GeForce 9800 GX2 5379 62.95%
Radeon HD 4870 4880 47.83%
GeForce GTX 260 4582 38.81%
Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD 3870 X2 4336 31.35%
Radeon HD 4850 3725 12.84%
GeForce 9800 GTX+ 3370 2.09%
Radeon HD 4830 3301  
GeForce 9800 GT 2951 11.86%
GeForce 9800 GTX 2891 14.18%
Radeon HD 3870 2269 45.48%
Radeon HD 4830
3DMark Vantage Professional 1.0.1 – 2560×1600 – Performance Score Difference
Radeon HD 4870 X2 5542 201.69%
GeForce GTX 280 3549 93.20%
GeForce 9800 GTX+ SLI 3482 89.55%
GeForce 9800 GX2 2910 58.41%
Radeon HD 4870 2728 48.50%
GeForce GTX 260 2640 43.71%
Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD 3870 X2 2382 29.67%
Radeon HD 4850 2050 11.59%
Radeon HD 4830 1837  
GeForce 9800 GTX+ 1815 1.21%
GeForce 9800 GT 1638 12.15%
GeForce 9800 GTX 1557 17.98%
Radeon HD 3870 1244 47.67%
Radeon HD 4830
3DMark Vantage Professional 1.0.1 – 1680×1050 – Extreme Score Difference
Radeon HD 4870 X2 8405 181.86%
GeForce 9800 GTX+ SLI 6195 107.75%
GeForce GTX 280 6005 101.37%
GeForce 9800 GX2 4858 62.91%
GeForce GTX 260 4531 51.95%
Radeon HD 4870 4360 46.21%
Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD 3870 X2 3567 19.62%
Radeon HD 4850 3445 15.53%
GeForce 9800 GTX+ 3201 7.34%
Radeon HD 4830 2982  
GeForce 9800 GT 2741 8.79%
GeForce 9800 GTX 2703 10.32%
Radeon HD 3870 1855 60.75%
Radeon HD 4830
3DMark Vantage Professional 1.0.1 – 1920×1200 – Extreme Score Difference
Radeon HD 4870 X2 6916 194.42%
GeForce GTX 280 4732 101.45%
GeForce 9800 GTX+ SLI 4415 87.95%
GeForce GTX 260 3576 52.23%
GeForce 9800 GX2 3508 49.34%
Radeon HD 4870 3490 48.57%
Radeon HD 4850 2753 17.20%
Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD 3870 X2 2669 13.62%
GeForce 9800 GTX+ 2399 2.13%
Radeon HD 4830 2349  
GeForce 9800 GT 2136 9.97%
GeForce 9800 GTX 2038 15.26%
Radeon HD 3870 1439 63.24%

[nextpage title=”Call of Duty 4″]

Call of Duty 4 is a DirectX 9 game implementing high-dynamic range (HDR) and its own physics engine, which is used to calculate how objects interact. For example, if you shoot, what exactly will happen to the object when the bullet hits it? Will it break? Will it move? Will the bullet bounce back? It gives a more realistic experience to the user.

We ran this program at three 16:10 widescreen resolutions, 1680×1050, 1920×1200, and 2560×1600, maxing out all image quality controls (i.e., everything was put on the maximum values on the Graphics and Texture menus). We used the game internal benchmarking
feature, running a demo provided by NVIDIA called “wetwork.” We are putting this demo for downloading here if you want to run your own benchmarks. The game was updated to version 1.6. The results below are the average number of frames per second (FPS) achieved by each card.

Radeon HD 4830
Call of Duty 4 – 1680×1050 – Maximum Score Difference
Radeon HD 4870 X2 134.6 104.56%
GeForce 9800 GTX+ SLI 127.7 94.07%
GeForce 9800 GX2 106.2 61.40%
GeForce GTX 280 105.3 60.03%
Radeon HD 4870 93.4 41.95%
GeForce GTX 260 91.0 38.30%
Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD 3870 X2 75.7 15.05%
Radeon HD 4850 72.4 10.03%
GeForce 9800 GTX+ 72.2 9.73%
GeForce 9800 GTX 69.1 5.02%
Radeon HD 4830 65.8  
GeForce 9800 GT 61.3 7.34%
Radeon HD 3870 43.0 53.02%
Radeon HD 4830
Call of Duty 4 – 1920×1200 – Maximum Score Difference
Radeon HD 4870 X2 120.6 129.28%
GeForce 9800 GTX+ SLI 110.7 110.46%
GeForce 9800 GX2 94.5 79.66%
GeForce GTX 280 91.7 74.33%
Radeon HD 4870 76.4 45.25%
GeForce GTX 260 77.1 46.58%
Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD 3870 X2 61.3 16.54%
Radeon HD 4850 59.1 12.36%
GeForce 9800 GTX+ 59.5 13.12%
GeForce 9800 GTX 57.7 9.70%
Radeon HD 4830 52.6  
GeForce 9800 GT 50.8 3.54%
Radeon HD 3870 35.4 48.59%
Radeon HD 4830
Call of Duty 4 – 2560×1600 – Maximum Score Difference
Radeon HD 4870 X2 83.8 150.90%
GeForce 9800 GTX+ SLI 74.3 122.46%
GeForce 9800 GX2 64.8 94.01%
GeForce GTX 280 64.8 94.01%
GeForce GTX 260 53.5 60.18%
Radeon HD 4870 48.1 44.01%
Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD 3870 X2 40.6 21.56%
GeForce 9800 GTX+ 39.7 18.86%
GeForce 9800 GTX 38.3 14.67%
Radeon HD 4850 36.7 9.88%
Radeon HD 4830 33.4  
GeForce 9800 GT 33.3 0.30%
Radeon HD 3870 22.4 49.11%

[nextpage title=”Crysis”]

Crysis is a very heavy DirectX 10 game. We updated this game to version 1.2.1 and used the HOC Crysis Benchmarking Utility to help us collecting data. Since we don’t think the default demo based on the island map stresses the video card the way we want, we used the HOC core demo available with the abovementioned utility. We ran this demo under three 16:10 widescreen resolutions, 1680×1050, 1920×1200, and 2560×1600, first with image quality set to “low” and then with image quality set to “high.” Since all video cards achieved a number of frames per second below 10 at 2560×1600 with image details set to “high,” we are not including this test as the results aren’t reliable. We ran each test twice and discarded the first result, as usually the first run achieves a lower score compared to the subsequent runs since the game loses time loading files. The results below are the average number of frames per second (FPS) achieved by each card.

Radeon HD 4830

Crysis 1.2.1 – 1680×1050 – Low Score Difference
Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD 3870 X2 125 68.92%
GeForce GTX 280 125 68.92%
Radeon HD 4870 X2 120 62.16%
Radeon HD 4870 101 36.49%
GeForce GTX 260 99 33.78%
GeForce 9800 GTX+ SLI 91 22.97%
GeForce 9800 GTX+ 91 22.97%
GeForce 9800 GTX 84 13.51%
Radeon HD 4850 84 13.51%
GeForce 9800 GX2 75 1.35%
GeForce 9800 GT 75 1.35%
Radeon HD 4830 74  
Radeon HD 3870 71 4.23%
Radeon HD 4830
Crysis 1.2.1 – 1920×1200 – Low Score Difference
Radeon HD 4870 X2 119 95.08%
GeForce GTX 280 115 88.52%
Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD 3870 X2 108 77.05%
Radeon HD 4870 84 37.70%
GeForce GTX 260 83 36.07%
GeForce 9800 GTX+ SLI 76 24.59%
GeForce 9800 GTX+ 76 24.59%
GeForce 9800 GTX 69 13.11%
Radeon HD 4850 67 9.84%
GeForce 9800 GX2 63 3.28%
GeForce 9800 GT 61 0.00%
Radeon HD 4830 61  
Radeon HD 3870 58 5.17%
Radeon HD 4830
Crysis 1.2.1 – 2560×1600 – Low Score Difference
Radeon HD 4870 X2 103 171.05%
GeForce GTX 280 95 150.00%
Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD 3870 X2 71 86.84%
Radeon HD 4870 53 39.47%
GeForce GTX 260 52 36.84%
GeForce 9800 GTX+ SLI 49 28.95%
GeForce 9800 GTX+ 49 28.95%
GeForce 9800 GTX 44 15.79%
Radeon HD 4850 43 13.16%
GeForce 9800 GX2 42 10.53%
GeForce 9800 GT 39 2.63%
Radeon HD 4830 38  
Radeon HD 3870 35 8.57%
Radeon HD 4830
Crysis 1.2.1 – 1680×1050 – High Score Difference
Radeon HD 4870 X2 57 128.00%
GeForce GTX 280 42 68.00%
Radeon HD 4870 37 48.00%
GeForce GTX 260 32 28.00%
GeForce 9800 GTX 29 16.00%
Radeon HD 4850 29 16.00%
GeForce 9800 GTX+ 29 16.00%
GeForce 9800 GTX+ SLI 28 12.00%
Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD 3870 X2 26 4.00%
GeForce 9800 GX2 25 0.00%
GeForce 9800 GT 25 0.00%
Radeon HD 4830 25  
Radeon HD 3870 19 31.58%
Radeon HD 4830
Crysis 1.2.1 – 1920×1200 – High Score Difference
Radeon HD 4870 X2 47 135.00%
GeForce GTX 280 34 70.00%
Radeon HD 4870 30 50.00%
GeForce GTX 260 26 30.00%
Radeon HD 4850 23 15.00%
GeForce 9800 GTX+ 23 15.00%
GeForce 9800 GTX 22 10.00%
GeForce 9800 GTX+ SLI 21 5.00%
GeForce 9800 GX2 21 5.00%
Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD 3870 X2 20 0.00%
GeForce 9800 GT 20 0.00%
Radeon HD 4830 20  
Radeon HD 3870 16 25.00%

[nextpage title=”Unreal Tournament 3″]

Unreal Tournament 3 is the latest installment from this famous first person shooter franchise, supporting DirectX 10 graphics when installed on Windows Vista with a DX10 compatible card. We upgraded Unreal Tournament 3 to version 1.2 and benchmarked it with the help of HOC UT3 benchmarking utility using the “Containment” demo, maxing out image quality settings (image quality at “high” and anisotropic filtering at x16). It is important to note that we haven’t applied the PhysX mod to this game, which would transfer PhysX processing from the CPU to the GPU on NVIDIA cards. The results below are the average number of frames per second (FPS) achieved by each card.

Radeon HD 4830
Unreal Tournament 3 – 1680×1050 – Maximum Score Difference
GeForce 9800 GTX 112 25.84%
GeForce 9800 GX2 108 21.35%
GeForce GTX 260 106 19.10%
GeForce GTX 280 104 16.85%
Radeon HD 4870 104 16.85%
GeForce 9800 GTX+ 104 16.85%
Radeon HD 4850 96 7.87%
Radeon HD 4870 X2 96 7.87%
GeForce 9800 GT 95 6.74%
Radeon HD 4830 89  
Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD 3870 X2 84 5.95%
Radeon HD 3870 83 7.23%
Radeon HD 4830
Unreal Tournament 3 – 1920×1200 – Maximum Score Difference
GeForce 9800 GTX 108 31.71%
GeForce 9800 GX2 106 29.27%
GeForce GTX 260 103 25.61%
Radeon HD 4870 98 19.51%
Radeon HD 4870 X2 95 15.85%
GeForce 9800 GTX+ 94 14.63%
GeForce GTX 280 91 10.98%
Radeon HD 4850 89 8.54%
Radeon HD 4830 82  
GeForce 9800 GT 80 2.50%
Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD 3870 X2 78 5.13%
Radeon HD 3870 75 9.33%
Radeon HD 4830
Unreal Tournament 3 – 2560×1600 – Maximum Score Difference
GeForce 9800 GTX 92 73.58%
GeForce 9800 GX2 92 73.58%
Radeon HD 4870 X2 91 71.70%
Radeon HD 4870 78 47.17%
GeForce GTX 260 76 43.40%
GeForce 9800 GTX+ 63 18.87%
GeForce GTX 280 62 16.98%
Radeon HD 4850 60 13.21%
Radeon HD 4830 53  
GeForce 9800 GT 52 1.92%
Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD 3870 X2 51 3.92%
Radeon HD 3870 47 12.77%

[nextpage title=”Half-Life 2: Episode Two”]

Half-Life 2 is a popular franchise and we benchmark the video cards using Episode Two with the aid of HOC Half-Life 2 Episode Two benchmarking utility using the “HOC Demo 1” provided by this program. We ran the game in three 16:10 widescreen resolutions, 1680×1050, 1920×1200, and 2560×1600, under two scenarios. First with quality set to maximum, bilinear filtering and anti-aliasing set to x0. This configuration we are calling “low” on the charts and tables below. Then we maxed out image quality settings, enabling x16 anisotropic filtering and 16xQCS anti-aliasing. This configuration we are calling “high” on our charts and tables. We updated the game up to the June 9th 2008 patch. The results below are the average number of frames per second (FPS) achieved by each card.

Radeon HD 4830

Half-Life 2: Episode Two – 1680×1050 – Low Score Difference
Radeon HD 4870 170.0 6.92%
Radeon HD 4850 164.9 3.71%
Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD 3870 X2 160.4 0.88%
Radeon HD 4870 X2 160.0 0.63%
GeForce 9800 GTX+ 160.0 0.63%
Radeon HD 4830 159.0  
GeForce GTX 260 157.0 1.27%
GeForce GTX 280 156.3 1.73%
GeForce 9800 GT 156.0 1.92%
GeForce 9800 GTX 153.8 3.38%
GeForce 9800 GTX+ SLI 151.0 5.30%
Radeon HD 3870 145.7 9.13%
GeForce 9800 GX2 136.8 16.23%
Radeon HD 4830
Half-Life 2: Episode Two – 1920×1200 – Low Score Difference
Radeon HD 4870 165.0 19.57%
Radeon HD 4870 X2 158.0 14.49%
Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD 3870 X2 156.7 13.55%
GeForce GTX 280 156.3 13.26%
GeForce 9800 GTX+ 155.0 12.32%
GeForce GTX 260 153.0 10.87%
Radeon HD 4850 149.8 8.55%
GeForce 9800 GTX+ SLI 149.0 7.97%
GeForce 9800 GTX 146.9 6.45%
GeForce 9800 GT 143.0 3.62%
Radeon HD 4830 138.0  
GeForce 9800 GX2 135.2 2.07%
Radeon HD 3870 120.1 14.90%
Radeon HD 4830
Half-Life 2: Episode Two – 2560×1600 – Low Score Difference
Radeon HD 4870 X2 156.0 85.71%
GeForce 9800 GTX+ SLI 147.0 75.00%
GeForce GTX 280 145.1 72.74%
GeForce 9800 GX2 130.6 55.48%
Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD 3870 X2 129.7 54.40%
GeForce GTX 260 124.0 47.62%
GeForce 9800 GTX+ 119.0 41.67%
Radeon HD 4870 117.0 39.29%
GeForce 9800 GTX 107.9 28.45%
GeForce 9800 GT 96.0 14.29%
Radeon HD 4850 93.9 11.79%
Radeon HD 4830 84.0  
Radeon HD 3870 72.8 15.38%
Radeon HD 4830
Half-Life 2: Episode Two – 1680×1050 – High Score Difference
Radeon HD 4870 X2 157.0 55.45%
GeForce 9800 GTX+ SLI 145.0 43.56%
Radeon HD 4870 144.0 42.57%
GeForce 9800 GTX 137.9 36.53%
Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD 3870 X2 126.1 24.85%
GeForce 9800 GX2 125.4 24.16%
GeForce GTX 260 121.0 19.80%
Radeon HD 4850 116.2 15.05%
Radeon HD 4830 101.0  
GeForce 9800 GTX+ 94.0 7.45%
GeForce GTX 280 89.3 13.10%
GeForce 9800 GT 80.0 26.25%
Radeon HD 3870 68.3 47.88%
Radeon HD 4830
Half-Life 2: Episode Two – 1920×1200 – High Score Difference
Radeon HD 4870 X2 157.0 84.71%
GeForce 9800 GTX+ SLI 131.0 54.12%
Radeon HD 4870 124.0 45.88%
GeForce 9800 GTX 116.3 36.82%
GeForce 9800 GX2 111.1 30.71%
Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD 3870 X2 106.5 25.29%
GeForce GTX 260 101.0 18.82%
Radeon HD 4850 97.2 14.35%
Radeon HD 4830 85.0  
GeForce 9800 GTX+ 74.0 14.86%
GeForce GTX 280 70.3 20.91%
GeForce 9800 GT 63.0 34.92%
Radeon HD 3870 56.8 49.65%
R
adeon HD 4830
Half-Life 2: Episode Two – 2560×1600 – High Score Difference
Radeon HD 4870 X2 130.0 154.90%
Radeon HD 4870 75.0 47.06%
GeForce 9800 GTX 71.3 39.80%
GeForce GTX 260 61.0 19.61%
Radeon HD 4850 58.4 14.51%
Radeon HD 4830 51.0  
Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD 3870 X2 50.6 0.79%
GeForce 9800 GTX+ SLI 46.0 10.87%
GeForce 9800 GTX+ 39.0 30.77%
GeForce 9800 GX2 37.5 36.00%
GeForce 9800 GT 36.0 41.67%
GeForce GTX 280 35.5 43.66%
Radeon HD 3870 34.9 46.13%

[nextpage title=”Conclusions”]

Let’s first compare Radeon HD 4830 to its main competitor, GeForce 9800 GT, as both can be found on the same price range (USD 130). Both cards achieved the same performance level on Crysis, with Radeon HD 4830 being between 9% and 14% faster on 3DMark Vantage, up to 7% faster on Call of Duty 4 and between 26% and 41% faster on Half-Life 2: Episode Two with image quality enhancements maxed out. GeForce 9800 GT was up to 5% faster on 3DMark06, up to 7% faster on Unreal Tournament 3 and between 4% and 14% faster on Half-Life 2: Episode Two with image quality enhancements disabled.

As you can see, we have a technical tie, because which card is faster will depend on the game, resolution and image quality settings you play, with Radeon HD 4830 having a slight advantage on DirectX 10 games.

We decided to compare it to GeForce 9800 GTX, as this model from NVIDIA can be found at USD 150, not being a far more expensive video card. Except on 3DMark Vantage, where Radeon HD 4830 was between 10% and 18% faster than GeForce 9800 GTX, this card from NVIDIA was faster than Radeon HD 4830, being up to 20% faster on 3DMark06, up to 15% faster on Call of Duty 4, up to 16% faster on Crysis, up to 74% faster on Unreal Tournament 3 and up to 40% faster on Half-Life 2: Episode Two.

Then we have the natural question: by how much is Radeon HD 4850 faster than the new Radeon HD 4830? The big sister was up to 17% faster. On 3DMark06 it was up to 13% faster, on 3DMark Vantage it was up to 17% faster, on Call of Duty 4 it was up to 12% faster, on Crysis it was up to 16% faster, on Unreal Tournament it was up to 13% faster and on Half-Life 2: Episode Two it was up to 15% faster.

Now we have to think in terms of cost/benefit ratio. Radeon HD 4850 – which is a video card that we highly recommend to users looking for a high-end performance at a very affordable price – is at least 23% more expensive than the new Radeon HD 4830, but it doesn’t bring a 23% performance increase over the reviewed card.

That said, Radeon HD 4830 (and GeForce 9800 GT, we most remember) provides a good cost/benefit ratio for users looking for a video card on the USD 130 range that will provide an excellent performance for this price point. Of course if you can afford a Radeon HD 4850, go for it. But if you are a mainstream user that likes to play but doesn’t want to spend a lot of money on a video card, Radeon HD 4830 is a good option.

As mentioned, Radeon HD 4830 is a technical tie with GeForce 9800 GT, so basically your choice will be based on the games, resolutions and image quality settings you use (see our results) and your personal preference for ATI or NVIDIA brands (unless you want to run Folding at Home; in this case GeForce 9800 GT is a better option, see here why).

Talking specifically about Sapphire’s model, we loved the fact that Sapphire decided to use its own cooler instead of using ATI’s reference model, which is heavy and heats a lot.