X is for Xtreme
By Kenny Yeo
Not too long ago, XFX used to sell NVIDIA graphics cards exclusively. Known for their excellent, overclocked performance, these cards gave XFX an image of being a premier vendor of NVIDIA cards. However, times have changed. Recently, XFX announced that they will now sell ATI graphics cards as well. Today, we take a look at their latest ATI offering, the XFX Radeon HD 4890 XXX Edition, to see if it keeps to their high standards.
The Radeon HD 4890 might be ATI's single fastest GPU at the moment, but you'll be hard pressed to tell just by looking at it. Like other vendors, XFX's Radeon HD 4890 XXX Edition, though factory-overclocked, sports a reference design board and cooler and therefore looks exactly identical to any other Radeon HD 4890 card that we've seen thus far.
The only way to tell one from the other is from the sticker that the vendor has plastered across the cooler, which is boring and dull, to say the least. However, XFX does try to make up for it with a radical X-shaped packaging, which unfortunately makes it quite a hassle to take the card out.
While the XFX Radeon HD 4890 XXX Edition might look ordinary, it certainly has quite the graphics horsepower. The Radeon HD 4890 is presently ATI's single fastest GPU and in stock form, a HD 4890 card will be clocking in at 850MHz at the core and 3900MHz DDR at the memory. This card from XFX, however, is doing 900MHz at the core while keeping to the reference memory clock speed. It might not seem much on paper, but in our tests, it was able to increase performance by between 5 to 10%.
To further elaborate, we got rather impressive Crysis Warhead scores which were significantly better than NVIDIA's competing GeForce GTX 260 Core 216. Far Cry 2 was very playable with frame rates in excess of 40fps even at a resolution of 1920 x 1440 with 4x anti-aliasing enabled.
The Radeon HD 4890 has gained much fanfare for being the first graphics card to reach 1GHz at the core and we are pleased to report that the XFX Radeon HD 4890 XXX Edition is a keen overclocker. We managed to top out the card at 990MHz at the core and 4600MHz DDR at the memory, giving us 5321 3DMarks at the Extreme preset in 3DMark Vantage. You get the idea. The XFX Radeon HD 4890 XXX Edition is an extremely fast card.
The XFX Radeon HD 4890 XXX Edition is a solid performing card. It's not particularly unique or innovative, but at the moment, it's the fastest Radeon HD 4890 card we've tested. There may not be a fancy custom cooler or overclocking console and all that flash, but it is fast where it matters. And that is good enough for us.
- Radeon HD 4890 GPU
- 1GB GDDR5
- Core: 900MHz
- Memory: 3900MHz DDR
- Video output: HDTV, Dual-link DVI
- Package contents: VGA adapter, HDMI adapter, HDTV component adapter, 6-pin PCIe to Molex connector
- Card dimensions: 9.5 x 4.376 x 3.8cm