MSI R4830-T2D512 OC Review
What a difference a year makes
With the holidays upon us, many gamers choose this time of year for their annual or semi-annual PC upgrade.
This time last year the upgrade everyone wanted was NVIDIAís GeForce 8800 GT. Packing 112 shaders clocked at 1500MHz, a 600MHz GPU core clock, and a 256-bit memory interface with 900MHz memory, the GeForce 8800 GT delivered an extraordinary amount of performance for its $300 price tag. In our GeForce 8800 GT Performance Preview we proclaimed ďClearly the GeForce 8800 GT is the best GPU in the mainstream segment right now, and may even tempt a few prospective GeForce 8800 GTX buyers. NVIDIA really has outdone themselves with this GPU.Ē
As we expected, consumers flocked to the card as well. Retailers couldnít keep the card in stock for more than a few hours before selling out their entire inventory. This situation lasted all the way throughout the Christmas selling season and into 2008. For months getting your hands on a GeForce 8800 GT was next to impossible.
Today the situation has changed drastically.
As a result of the overwhelming demand for the 8800 GT, NVIDIA ramped up production significantly. The company assumed demand would remain strong throughout the summer. However NVIDIA underestimated the strength of ATIís then upcoming Radeon 4800 line. Ahead of the 4800 release, everyone anticipated that ATIís high-end 4870 part was targeting GeForce 9800 GTX when actually ATIís mainstream Radeon 4850 offering had its sights set on the GTX. To put further pressure on NVIDIA, ATI priced the Radeon 4850 directly against the cheaper 8800 GT, giving consumers more performance than ever at the $200 price point.
It was a game-changing move that forced NVIDIA to slash prices on their entire GeForce lineup; the 9800 GTX saw its price reduced $100 from $299 to $199 while the 8800 GT was reduced to $169. Ultimately ATIís move crippled 8800 GT sales as enthusiasts gladly ponied up the extra couple of dollars for a Radeon 4850, forcing NVIDIA to reduce prices yet again. This eventually lead to a situation where NVIDIA had supplies of all these 8800 GT/9800 GT parts that they had a hard time moving, forcing them to trim prices yet again. Today GeForce 9800 GT boards can be found for an MSRP of $120-$130 with manufacturers offering mail-in rebates that bring the final price down to as low as $95!
This is simply an amazing value for gamers on a budget as the 8800 GT is still more than capable of handling most of todayís latest games at resolutions as high as 1920x1200 as long as you donít go overboard with the gameís graphics settings and levels of AA/AF. ATI needed to respond in kind with a new GPU of their own to counter this threat, so they prepped a watered-down derivative of the same RV770 GPU found in the Radeon 4850, the RV770LE-powered Radeon 4830.
The Radeon 4830
Rather than develop a new GPU from scratch, as we just mentioned the RV770LE GPU powering the Radeon 4830 is physically the exact same RV770 chip found in the Radeon 4850, only ATI lowers the clock speeds and disables two SIMD cores (ultimately disabling 160 stream processing cores), leaving 640 active shaders. The final product is then sold as the Radeon 4830.
ATI clocks the Radeon 4830 at 575MHz, 50MHz slower than the Radeon 4850ís 625MHz core clock speed. The board is then paired with cheaper 900MHz GDDR3 memory. Officially the card carries an MSRP of $129, but already street prices at online retailers have dipped as low as $105 after mail-in rebate.
Not content with ATIís reference specifications, MSI is the first 4830 manufacturer to ship with factory OCíed clocks. Their R4830-T2D512 OC sports more than just OCíing though, MSI equips the board with a more powerful dual-slot cooler, as well as a 4+1 power phase design.