Asus EAH 4890 1GB DDR5 PCIe Graphics card

Test Setup

To ensure that all reviews on Overclock3D are fair, consistent and unbiased, a standard set of hardware and software is used whenever possible during the comparative testing of two or more products. The configurations used in this review can be seen below:

i7 Rig

CPU: Intel Nehalem i7 920 Skt1366 2.66GHz (@3.8 Ghz)
Motherboard: Gigabyte EX58-UD5
Memory: 3x2GB Corsair DDR3 1600mhz @ 8-8-8-24
HD : Hitachi Deskstar 7k160 7200rpm 80GB
GPU:Asus EAH4890
Graphics Drivers: Supplied by Asus
PSU: Gigabyte ODIN 1200w


During the testing of the setups above, special care was taken to ensure that the BIOS settings used matched whenever possible. A fresh install of Windows Vista was also used before the benchmarking began, with a full defrag of the hard drive once all the drivers and software were installed, preventing any possible performance issues due to leftover drivers from the previous motherboard installations. For the 3DMark and gaming tests a single card configuration was used.

To guarantee a broad range of results, the following benchmark utilities were used:

3D / Rendering Benchmarks
• 3DMark 05
• 3DMark 06
• 3DMark Vantage

3D Games
• Crysis
• Far Cry 2
• Oblivion
• Race drive: GRID
• Call of Duty IV
• Unreal Tournament III

Power Consumption

Power consumption was measured at the socket using a plug-in mains power and energy monitor. Because of this, the readings below are of the total system, not just the GPU. Idle readings were taken after 5 minutes in Windows. Load readings were taken during a run of Crysis.

No big surprises here. Despite a refresh of power circuitry, the card is hardly what you would call lightweight in the power consumption tests. Consuming slightly more than the overclocked 4870 the 4890 is the highest power sapping single GPU on test, more even, than the power hungry GTX285.

Temperatures were taken at the factory clocked speed during idle in Windows and after 10 minutes of running Furmark with settings maxed out (2560×1600 8xMSAA). Ambient temperatures were taken with a household thermometer. As we use an open test bench setup consideration should be given to the fact that the temperatures would likely increase further in a closed case environment.


The Asus EAH4890 scores highly in the temperature stakes being the coolest card on test when placed under load. It should be noted though that with the fan at 100% the noise is unbearable. Akin to a Dyson vacuum cleaner, the reference cooler is nowhere near as quiet as the Nvidia cards but thankfully, with the fan set to auto, the noise is not too intrusive but certainly not what one would describe as being quiet.

Going back to the packaging, you will remember Asus saw fit to make Voltage Tweak a prime marketting point. I expected this to be a separate utility but this is simply a slider bar setting incorporated into the Asus Smartdoctor utility. Small voltage increments could be made to the GPU core so we were eager to see if this was actually needed.

voltage oc
Primarily, I maxed out the sliders in CCC and inevitably Call of Duty 4 crashed within seconds during testing. Relaxing the GPU clock slightly, I was able to run COD4 without a hitch at an astonishing 975MHz on the GPU and the maximum 1200MHz on the memory. Bring on Voltage tweak. A slight bump in voltage was all it took to fully max out the GPU core voltage and run the test without so much as an artifect at the full fat 1000MHz barrier. While the extra 25MHz was hardly groundbreaking it certainly goes to show that overclocks can be stablized with a slight bump in voltage and saves people from doing hard mods to the card thereby invalidating the warranty to get the most out of the card.
With the card clocked to it’s highest level (without adjusting the voltage), the run of COD4 showed some impressive improvements were to be gained. I do love the way ATI cards overclock but at the same time I feel cheated that the overdrive utility does not allow for higher overclocks as the card is clearly capable.
Returning the card back to its default settings, let’s move on to our suite of benchmarks where we pitch it up against the GTX295, ATI 4870×2, ATI4870 XXX and stock GTX285…