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ASUS RADEON HD 4850/4870 and GeForce GTX 285/295

A few interesting graphics cards.

April 17, 2009



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More and more plain reference copies are released into the market, and it's a sad situation for reviewers, as there is no point in presenting just another copy for the Nth time.

Fortunately, company's R&D department still exists in its full strength, so we have an opportunity to see original ASUS products from time to time.

Still, there are some exceptions: e.g. NVIDIA GTX 2xx products have been represented only by reference designs so far. But those are special because of the complex PCB design with 512-bit and 448-bit buses. Engineers haven't probably come up with their own cheaper design yet. And if it's not cheaper, there is no point in it.

Let's examine new cards from ASUS based on top NVIDIA GPUs as well as Mid-End GPUs from AMD.

Design


ASUS EAH4870 MATRIX (RADEON HD 4870) 512MB
  • GPU: RADEON HD 4870 (RV770)
  • Interface: PCI-Express x16
  • GPU frequencies (ROPs/Shaders): 770/770 MHz (nominal -- 750/750 MHz)
  • Memory frequencies (physical (effective)): 920 (3680) MHz (nominal -- 900 (3600) MHz)
  • Memory bus width: 256bit
  • Vertex processors: -
  • Pixel processors: -
  • Unified processors: 800
  • Texture processors: 40 (BLF/TLF)
  • ROPs: 16
  • Dimensions: 260x100x33 mm (the last figure is maximum thickness of the graphics card)
  • PCB color: black
  • RAMDACs/TDMS: integrated into GPU
  • Output connectors: 2xDVI (1xDual-Link/HDMI, 1xSingle-Link), TV-out
  • VIVO: not available
  • TV-out: integrated into GPU
  • Multi-GPU operation: CrossFire (Hardware).
ASUS ENGTX295 (GeForce GTX 295) 2x896MB
  • GPU: 2 x GeForce GTX 280 (GT200)
  • Interface: PCI-Express x16
  • GPU frequencies (ROPs/Shaders): 575/1240 MHz (nominal -- 575/1240 MHz)
  • Memory frequencies (physical (effective)): 1000 (2000) MHz (nominal -- 1000 (2000) MHz)
  • Memory bus width: 2 x 448bit
  • Vertex processors: -
  • Pixel processors: -
  • Unified processors: 2 x 240
  • Texture processors: 2 x 96 (BLF/TLF)
  • ROPs: 2 x 32
  • Dimensions: 270x100x33 mm (the last figure is maximum thickness of the graphics card)
  • PCB color: black
  • RAMDACs/TDMS: in a separate NVIO chip
  • Output connectors: 2xDVI (Dual-Link/HDMI), HDMI
  • VIVO: not available
  • TV-out: not installed
  • Multi-GPU operation: internal SLI (Hardware). External SLI is supported (Quad-SLI)
ASUS ENGTX285 TOP (GeForce GTX 285) 1024MB
  • GPU: GeForce GTX 285 (GT200)
  • Interface: PCI-Express x16
  • GPU frequencies (ROPs/Shaders): 670/1550 MHz (nominal -- 650/1475 MHz)
  • Memory frequencies (physical (effective)): 1300 (2600) MHz (nominal -- 1250 (2500) MHz)
  • Memory bus width: 512bit
  • Vertex processors: -
  • Pixel processors: -
  • Unified processors: 240
  • Texture processors: 80 (BLF/TLF)
  • ROPs: 32
  • Dimensions: 270x100x33 mm (the last figure is maximum thickness of the graphics card)
  • PCB color: black
  • RAMDACs/TDMS: in a separate NVIO chip
  • Output connectors: 2xDVI (Dual-Link/HDMI), TV-out
  • VIVO: not available
  • TV-out: integrated into GPU
  • Multi-GPU operation: SLI (Hardware).
ASUS ENGTX285 Ultimate (GeForce GTX 285) 1024MB
  • GPU: GeForce GTX 285 (GT200)
  • Interface: PCI-Express x16
  • GPU frequencies (ROPs/Shaders): 710/1620 MHz (nominal -- 650/1475 MHz)
  • Memory frequencies (physical (effective)): 1377 (2754) MHz (nominal -- 1250 (2500) MHz)
  • Memory bus width: 512bit
  • Vertex processors: -
  • Pixel processors: -
  • Unified processors: 240
  • Texture processors: 80 (BLF/TLF)
  • ROPs: 32
  • Dimensions: 270x100x33 mm (the last figure is maximum thickness of the graphics card)
  • PCB color: black
  • RAMDACs/TDMS: in a separate NVIO chip
  • Output connectors: 2xDVI (Dual-Link/HDMI), TV-out
  • VIVO: not available
  • TV-out: integrated into GPU
  • Multi-GPU operation: SLI (Hardware).
ASUS EAH4850 MATRIX (RADEON HD 4850) 512MB
  • GPU: RADEON HD 4850 (RV770)
  • Interface: PCI-Express x16
  • GPU frequencies (ROPs/Shaders): 625/625 MHz (nominal -- 625/625 MHz)
  • Memory frequencies (physical (effective)): 990 (1980) MHz (nominal -- 1000 (2000) MHz)
  • Memory bus width: 256bit
  • Vertex processors: -
  • Pixel processors: -
  • Unified processors: 800
  • Texture processors: 40 (BLF/TLF)
  • ROPs: 16
  • Dimensions: 220x100x32 mm (the last figure is maximum thickness of the graphics card)
  • PCB color: black
  • RAMDACs/TDMS: integrated into GPU
  • Output connectors: 2xDVI (1xDual-Link/HDMI, 1xSingle-Link), TV-out
  • VIVO: not available
  • TV-out: integrated into GPU
  • Multi-GPU operation: CrossFire (Hardware).


ASUS EAH4870 MATRIX (RADEON HD 4870) 512MB

The graphics card has 512 MB of GDDR5 SDRAM allocated in 8 Qimonda memory chips on the front side of the PCB. The chips are designed for the maximum frequency of 1000 (4000) MHz.

ASUS ENGTX295 (GeForce GTX 295) 2x896MB

The graphics card has 2 x 896 MB of GDDR3 SDRAM allocated in 14 Hynix memory chips (seven on each PCB). The chips are designed for the maximum frequency of 1200 (2400) MHz.

ASUS EAH4850 MATRIX (RADEON HD 4850) 512MB

The graphics card has 512 MB of GDDR3 SDRAM allocated in 8 Hynix memory chips on the front side of the PCB. The chips are designed for the maximum frequency of 1200 (2400) MHz.

ASUS ENGTX285 Ultimate (GeForce GTX 285) 1024MB
ASUS ENGTX285 TOP (GeForce GTX 285) 1024MB

Each graphics card has 1024 MB of GDDR3 SDRAM allocated in 16 Hynix memory on the front side of the PCB. The chips are designed for the maximum frequency of 1250 (2500) MHz.



Comparison with the reference design, front view
ASUS ENGTX295 (GeForce GTX 295) 2x896MB Reference card NVIDIA GeForce GTX 295
ASUS ENGTX285 Ultimate (GeForce GTX 285) 1024MB Reference card NVIDIA GeForce GTX 285
ASUS ENGTX285 TOP (GeForce GTX 285) 1024MB
ASUS EAH4870 MATRIX (RADEON HD 4870) 512MB Reference card ATI RADEON HD 4870
ASUS EAH4850 MATRIX (RADEON HD 4850) 512MB Reference card ATI RADEON HD 4850


Comparison with the reference design, back view
ASUS ENGTX295 (GeForce GTX 295) 2x896MB Reference card NVIDIA GeForce GTX 295
ASUS ENGTX285 Ultimate (GeForce GTX 285) 1024MB Reference card NVIDIA GeForce GTX 285
ASUS ENGTX285 TOP (GeForce GTX 285) 1024MB
ASUS EAH4870 MATRIX (RADEON HD 4870) 512MB Reference card ATI RADEON HD 4870
ASUS EAH4850 MATRIX (RADEON HD 4850) 512MB Reference card ATI RADEON HD 4850

We can see that all GTX 285/295 cards are copies of reference cards, that is they are just bought from NVIDIA. And GTX 285 cards are just overclocked.

The other cards have original design. Of course, the 4850 and 4870 cards are based on the existing reference designs, but there are many differences as well. For example, both cards are designed for 1GB of memory, so they have empty seats for memory chips on the back side of their PCBs.

All cards but GTX 295 have original TV-Out interfaces that require a special adapter to output video to a TV set via S-Video or RCA.

An analog monitor with a D-Sub (VGA) interface can be connected by means of a special DVI-to-D-Sub adapter. The bundle also includes a DVI-to-HDMI adapter (these graphics cards support video/audio output to HDMI receivers), so there should be no problems with such a monitor. And the GTX 295 has its own HDMI output.

Maximum resolutions and frequencies:

  • 240 Hz maximum refresh rate
  • 2048 x 1536 x 32bit @ 85Hz Max - analog interface
  • 2560 x 1600 @ 60Hz Max - digital interface (all Dual-Link DVIs)

As for HDTV, a review is available here.

All these cards require additional power supply, so each card is bundled with an adapter from molex to 6-pin, even though all modern PSUs are equipped with these cables. Note that the GTX 295 requires an 8-pin power adapter, and if your PSU does not have this cable, you can find a proper adapter in the box with this card.


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Article navigation:

Page 1: Introduction, design

Page 2: Cooling

Page 3: Bundles, packages

Page 4: Performance in games



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