XFX HD 4890 XXX 1GB PCIe Graphics Card


XFX are a manufacturer not traditionally associated with ATI so when I was asked to review the latest ATI card, the 4890,  I was surprised to hear it was from XFX. Not only that but this card is a XXX edition! The guys from Hong Kong certainly don’t do things by halves! With a full line up of ATI products also under their umbrella (XFX ATI roundup coming soon), XFX will hopefully add to the impressive reputation they gained by being a major manufacturer for Nvidia products.

First things first, I’m afraid ATI have not reduced the fabrication down to 40nm with this card. Instead the card is still based on the 55nm architecture of its sister card the 4870. However there have been tweaks made to the power circuitry allowing ATI to increase the clockspeeds significantly. 1GB of GDDR5 also makes a showing which should ensure that the memory can keep pace with the GPU. XFX being XFX though were not happy with the stock clockspeed on the GPU and bumped it up to 900MHz on the core.
HD4800 core
The HD4800 core has an updated design with AMD adding decoupling capacitors to reduce signal noise. This does however, give a very minor increase ito the die area. The whole processor has been re-timed and the ASIC power distribution has also been tweaked to improve efficiency of the 4890. This, along with the decaps has allowed ATI to increase the clockspeeds of their GPU without the need for a die shrink just yet.

The HD 4890 has another trick up it’s sleeve too with DirectX 10.1. While this is a minor update to DX10, DX10.1 gives game developers better control over image quality amd more flexibility with some existing features of DX10 such as cube map arrays and independent blending modes. These features are best displayed with the DirectX 10.1 game – HAWX, which is included with the XFX 4890XXX.

With a stock core speed of 850 MHz, and the added tweak giving a speed of 900MHz, the HD4890 XXX is a mere 100MHz off the Golden 1GHz speed, something I hope to hit later in the review in the overclocking section.

So, with the card hitting some blistering speeds and priced at a competitive £240, the HD4890 is shaping up quite nicely in anticipation of Nvidia’s GTX275 release, due out today if reports are to be believed. We will keep you posted on how the two compare in the very near future.

Here’s what XFX had to say:

For some, beauty is defined by the level of realism achieved in a game. From true-to-life smoke and flying rock fragments caused by a lobbed grenade to reach-out-and-touch it textures on walls and streets to “you talkin’ to me???” facial expressions on animated characters, nothing can bring a tear to the eye of a gaming aficionado like a truly immersive graphic experience. Unless it’s all of that, plus exceptional price points AND unparalleled technology. In which case, have some tissue handy, because you’re in for a misty moment.
Introducing XFX’s new Radeon™ HD-powered 4000 series graphics cards powered by ATI Radeon GPUs. Crafted from state-of-the-art technologies, their inner beauty is truly frame-worthy.


The following specification was taken directly from XFX’s technical spec sheet with minor editing for the purposes of clarity:

Chipset ATI Radeon HD 4890
GPU Radeon HD 4890 XXX Edition
Bus Type PCI-E 2.0
GPU Clock 900 MHz
Stream Processing Units 800
Memory Bus 256-bit
Memory Type DDR5
Memory Size 1.0 GB
Memory Speed 3.9 GHz
Thermal Solution FANSINK
Minimum Power Supply Requirement 500 Watt
External Power Requirement 2 x 6-pin
TV Out x1
VGA x0
DVI x2
Dual-Link Support YES
Max Supported Resolution (DIGITAL) 2560 x 1600
Max Supported Resolution (ANALOG) 2048 x 1536

HDMI Ready
HDCP Ready
ATI CrossFireX Ready
ATI Stream Technology
ATI PowerPlay Technology
ATI Hybrid Grahpics Technology
Accelerated Physics Processing
Accelerated Video Transcoding

ATI Avivo HD

Package Weight 4.1 lbs est
Package Dimensions 13.0″ W x 9.5″ H x 6.5″ D

Enough of the small talk, let’s move on and take a look at the card itself…