Gigabyte Radeon HD 4670

Introduction

Gigabyte Radeon HD 4670
Radeon HD 4670

Like most Graphics Cards, the Gigabyte Radeon HD 4670, by ATI, is manufactured by a wide variety of 3rd-Party component makers. I went with the Gigabyte brand for the mere fact that a wide variety of computer users seem to approve their AMD-based motherboards and other peripherals. Also, the darn thing only cost me $60 and that included shipping.

Performance

For a fairly high performance 1GB DDR3 PCI Express Graphics card, that is quite the bargain. I purchased this card to compliment the ASUS M3A78-EM Motherboard that I reviewed here a few months ago.
I’m neither a computer gamer, nor do I do any 3D Modeling or Computer Aided Design. While my Asus’s onboard ATI HD3200 Controller was adequate, I didn’t appreciate the fact it hogged up some of my 4GB of RAM. If you’re running Vista, you know what I mean when I say you need all the RAM you can get. As graphics benchmark scores go, the HD 4670 runs a whopping 300% faster than the onboard HD 3200. It’s not my intention to bore you with benchmark scores, but if you’re curious how this card stacks up, you can see it rated here: Video Card Benchmarks. I’ve used GeForce cards in the past, but since AMD now owns ATI and I am using an AMD based motherboard, I felt good about buying an ATI Radeon this time; especially the Gigabyte Radeon HD 4670.

Installation

Normally, installing a Graphics Card is a breeze. It’s pretty simple. Plug it into the slot, screw it down, connect monitor to the VGA port and power it on.
I didn’t have such luck on my first time. No video. I plugged the monitor back into the onboard slot and had instant video again. Obviously, changing a simple bios setting would solve the problem right? So, I went into the CMOS and found the graphics display options and a menu selection called, Internal Graphics Settings. I looked at my Asus M3A78-EM Motherboard manual to make sure I had the PCI-E card selected as my primary video card. I re-booted and still no video. At this point, I began suspecting the video card was dead, unless … unless, of course, there was another bios setting I was overlooking. It must be something that kept the PCI-E Card from producing a display. After searching the manual and Bios settings with a fine tooth comb, I found it! A menu selection, called display port was disabled. The three choices were enabled, disabled and auto. I chose auto, and bingo – the Gigabyte Radeon HD 4670 Graphics Card displayed for the first time! After my machine booted into windows, I inserted the Gigabyte Radeon HD 4670 Graphics Display Drivers disk and simply followed all of the prompts. After rebooting, I set my 22″ HP monitor back to it’s native 1680×1050 display and I was in business.

Quality and Performance

Nothing generates heat like a high performance 3D Accelerator Graphics Card. The Gigabyte HD 4670 tackles this problem with a very impressive, Zalman heatsink and cooling fan. I’ve used Zalman fans before on CPU’s and I won’t lie, they do a great job of keeping things cool. The Zalman Cooler really makes the HD 4670 look like a serious graphics card, with it’s wide-spread heat sink fins. One slight bone of contention, here: The Zalman cooler is so large that it completely takes up the space of the adjacent PCI slot, making it unusable. In fact, I would not even want to use the remaining, open PCI Slot next to that one for fear of blocking a good degree of the cooling fan’s air flow. Fortunately, I do not require any additional PCI Cards, so I ditched the old TV tuner card I never used anyway, and left both PCI slots open. For this reason, I recommend a full, mid-tower, ATX sized motherboard, if you are going to use a high-performance Graphics Card, particularly one that uses a large fan like a Zalman. When you buy your next PC, ask yourself if you will be using any additional PCI cards, and invest in a larger motherboard and case with more real estate to house the peripherals and keep them cool. My first impression, was that outside of any graphics rendering, my system seemed noticeably faster. Perhaps, this is due to the extra 512MB of RAM freed up by the dedicated video card. Just for kicks, I did run some of the Passmark Graphics Benchmarks, and got results similar to the online postings mentioned above. With well over 600 Graphics Cards tested, Passmark has the Radeon HD 4670 ranked # 59. This is easily in the top 10 % of Graphics Card. As a non-gamer, it’s way better than what I need. The HD 4670 includes 1 VGA Port, 1 DVI and 1 HDMI. I may not ever try the HDMI port on my 42″ LGD TV, but it’s nice to know it’s there.

Ratings

For Graphics Cards under $100, the Gigabyte radeon HD 4670, is hard to beat. It’s fast, well made and stays cool with the big, honking zalman fan. Whether you are a gamer on a budget, or a 3D Cad or business user just wanting better performance, you can’t go wrong with the Gigabyte Radeon HD 4670.

    • Value: 90
    • Quality: 88
    • Performance: 90
    • Value: 90

 

    • Overall: 90
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