AMD RV740 is all its cracked up to be

The new AMD Radeon HD 4770 is the world’s first 40nm GPU and brings even more performance to a world of sub-$100 graphics cards. Does AMD’s technology advantage make the 9800 GT and GTS 250 looks like schmucks?
The Budget Market Keeps Moving

2008 and 2009 have been very interesting in the world of the GPU – not because we have seen huge increases in available performance (though the GeForce GTX 295 and Radeon HD 4890 are good cards) but because of the dramatic shift to incredibly low priced parts.  It wasn’t long ago that top-end GPUs were going to run you $599 or more; now you can find AMD’s best single-GPU configuration for $230 or so and the computing power encompassed in it is impressive.

Of course as the various new GPU releases came out at lower and lower prices, the remainder of the market has been compressing down into even lower prices and smaller margins.  We have seen the HD 4870 and HD 4850 drop to $150 or less and now with today’s release, there is a new contender in the sub-$100 market. 

AMD Introduces the Radeon HD 4770 GPU

The new AMD Radeon HD 4770 GPU, previously known as the RV740 product, is AMD’s updated offering for the $99-109 product segment.  This GPU is significant not only because of its pricing and position, but because it is the first GPU to be manufactured on the 40nm process from either GPU vendor. That allows AMD to make the part cheap and power efficient.

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AMD is aware that as the market demands have changed, with a slowing economy and the encroachment of the console into PC gaming’s market share, the amount of money that PC gamers are willing to pay for a GPU has changed.  You can see in the graph on the right that by far the majority of GPUs sold are at $100 or less – there is another spike at the $300 price point for the enthusiast gamer crowd that is good to see. 

Obviously AMD is hoping the new Radeon HD 4770 will take over as the dominant product in the $99 segment. 

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The Radeon HD 4770 is a dual-slot cooled card that runs at 750 MHz and includes GDDR5 memory support.  Of course, it helps to know WHAT exactly is running at 750 MHz, doesn’t it?  The HD 4770 will sport 640 stream processors compared to the 800 stream processors on the HD 4800 series of cards; that is a 20% cut in shader power but the card still can pump out 960 GFLOPs of raw compute power.

AMD including GDDR5 memory on such a low cost product is also an interesting move – obviously GDDR3 would save them even more money but they feel that the extra memory bandwidth is required to keep the 640 shader cores fed efficiently. 

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AMD is pitting the new HD 4770 against the NVIDIA GeForce 9800 GT though it does seem to fit BETWEEN the 9800 GT and GTS 250 (9800 GTX+) in terms of pricing – our testing will reflect that.  Here though AMD is pointing out the raw power advantages the HD 4770 has over the aging 9800 GT; while interesting it really all comes down to how the GPU performs in our coming game tests.

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