Visiontek Radeon HD 4670 x2 Review

Author: Chris Ledenican
Editor: Howard Ha
Publish Date: Tuesday, August 10th, 2010
Originally Published on Neoseeker (http://www.neoseeker.com)
Article Link: http://www.neoseeker.com/Articles/Hardware/s/Visiontek_HD_4670x2/
Copyright Neo Era Media, Inc. - please do not redistribute or use for commercial purposes.

All the staff here at Neoseeker stay up-to-date on current and upcoming PC hardware, but still I was taken back by the product that was delivered to our labs last week. In fact, I was completely unaware of its existence until an email appeared in my inbox with the technical details and highlights just a few days prior to it arriving. Before we get any further the product being described is the HD 4670 x2 Quad DVI. That’s right, it is a dual GPU version of the popular, but long since retired ATI HD 4670.

When a product such as this shows up it is important to look at it from all angles, and determine what type of consumer it is ultimately marketed toward. In this case the Visontek HD 4670 x2 is a product for business environments that are looking to maximize their monitor real estate, but are limited by a single PCIE slot and DVI connections. So, this card is not intended from gamers or even the consumer market, but rather businesses looking to increase productivity though the use of additional displays.

To cater to this portion of the market Visiontek has created a dual GPU graphics card with two independent video controllers. This allows the graphics card to support up to four monitors simultaneously. However, unlike most Eyefinity options which use DispalyPorts for the connection, the HD 4670 x2 can do this through four dual-link DVI ports. This could be very beneficial to anyone with multiple DVI monitors and no means to tie them all together.

The burning question though, is why use the 4000 series? Well, it appears that is the means through which Visiontek intended to keep the cost of the graphics card down. This will allow the HD 4670 x2 to be accessible to both large and smaller businesses alike. Still with the MSRP being over $300 it does not come cheap. Additionally, since Visiontek used the older ATI architecture many current technologies such as DX11 and Eyefinity will not be supported.

If you are as intrigued as I am and want to see how a dual GPU HD 4670 will perform, you will definitely want to read on!

 

Specifications:

Graphics Engine

RADEON HD 4670 x 2

Video Memory

2GB DDR3

Engine Clock

725MHz

Memory Clock

800MHz

Memory Interface

128-bit

Direct X Support

10.1

Bus Standard

PCIE 2.0

Display Output

4 x DL DVIs on-board

HDTV Output

Yes

External Power input (6 pin)

Yes

Dual Slot Fan Cooler

Yes (4 Ports)

HDMI/HDCP Support

Yes (adapter is required)

For Factor

ATX size

The Visiontek HD 4670 x2 comes packaged in a large red and white box that highlights the dual GPU design of the product. The front of the packing has all of the little bits of information highlighting the main features of the card, and the back panel is where all of the in-depth details are found. The design of the packaging is actually very simple, which in my opinion gives the box a cleaner and more elegant look.

The inner box is solid white and uses cardboard folds to create separate compartments inside of the box. The HD 4670 x2 is located on the top portion of the box and the accessories are in the compartments below. The bundled goods consist of two VGA to DVI converters, a HDMI to DVI converter, a 6-pin power adapter, the manual and drivers disc.

The HD 4670 x2 has a very sleek look thanks to the custom cooling solution by Visiontek. The PCB uses the solid red ATI theme, while the black cooler creates a nice contrast. On the back side, the custom Dual GPU design becomes evident as you can see two separate rows of memory chips.

Connection is one of the main aspects of the HD 4670 x2 and with four dual-link DVI ports and two independent display controllers it is easy to see why. Through use of the dual controllers and four video ports, the video signal will be split between the GPUs allowing the card to drive four monitors simultaneously, each with their own refresh rate, color control and video overlay. Additionally, each dual-link DVI port can support resolutions up to 2560x1600, so it is possible to set up four 30" monitors using this single solution. There's also a single S-Video connector nestled between the DVI ports, which will allow for connectivity to a TV directly though the S-Video connector or a separate adapter.

Turning the card around shows that unlike the reference HD 4670, this dual GPU card requires more than 75W to run, meaning a power supply with a 6-pin connector and at least a 450W rating.

The HD 4670 x2 uses the PCI Express 2.0 x16 bus interface, which will work with any PCIE x16 slot. The PCIE slot supplies a portion of the power to the graphics card, but as stated before, additional power is supplied via the 6-pin adapter on the back. The additional power requirements are right in line with the dual 4670 GPU design of the graphics card, and there will be a total of 150W of available power through the PCIE slot and 6-pin adapter.

Taking the cover off the cooler reveals a large solid aluminum heatsink with a fan sitting in the middle of a finned array. The reference design for the HD 4670 actually uses a single slot cooling solution, so the size of the cooler should be more than enough to ensure the both cores stay cool.

The bottom portion of the heatsink took me be surprise, as not many cooling products available use a internal heatpipe design. Along with the heatpipes the cooler uses copper bases that make contact with the GPUs as well as the bridge chip. This will ensure the heat is quickly transferred from the core into the aluminum heatsink and pushed out by the fan. There are also thermal pads that connect the VRM and memory chip to the cooler. This design should be very efficient, however one issue is that with the additional DVI ports there are no ventilation holes for the air to escape though, so all the hot air will be circulated into the case.

The HD 4670 x2 uses dual 4670 GPUs, which pack in 514 million transistors per GPU on 55nm fabrication process, and 320 Stream processors. Each core comes clocked at 725MHz. As for the memory there is a total of 2GB of DDR3 memory which comes clocked at 1600MHz and uses a 128-bit interface. These specifications nearly match the reference design of the HD 4670, but this card has double the memory of the refernce models, and has a slight decrease of 25MHz per core. To tie it all together Visiontek uses a PLX bridge chip, which will allow the card to essentially run CrossFire on a single PCB. This is the same technology used in high-end dual GPU cards such as the HD 5970.

The specifications alone don't tell the whole story, but they do give use an understanding of how this card should perform. What we do know is that it is not going to be comparable to mid-range products such as HD 57XX series, so we will be testing it in an entry-level manner. Still, I am interested to see how it performs against the GDDR5 equipped ATI HD 5670 and NVIDIA GT 240 we have on the comparison table.
 

 

Overclocking:

Well, overclocking this card was just not meant to be. First off, Catalyst Control Center locks the graphics card at the preset factory level, so it was not possible to overclock using the ATI tool. Unfortunately, attempts with third party overclocking programs such as MSI Afterburner, AMD GPU clock Tool and Riva Tuner were met with a similar fate. Riva Tuner did seem to work the best, but only one core was able to overclock, but even a slight adjustment in the clock speeds resulted in a crash. The second core would not budge and even when trying to adjust the speeds individually, GPUZ showed no changes regardless of the program used. Since overclocking was not possible, only stock performance will be included in the gaming benchmarks.

Hardware Configuration:

Software:

All the ATI cards used the Catalyst 10.6 drivers, while the NVIDIA cards used Forceware 257.21 drivers.

Benchmarks DX11:

This graphics card does not support DX11, so any titles supporting this technology will not be included in this review.

Benchmarks DX10:

All benchmarks were performed at resolutions of 1280x1024, 1680x1050, 1920x1200. Vsync is disabled in the control panel and AA is set to x2 with AF set to x4. The only benchmark performed with lower AA and AF is Street Fighter IV which showed better scaling when AA and AF were set to 0.

Usage:

MSI's Kombuster will be used to gauge the power requirement and temperature of the graphics card. The program applies a very heavy load to the GPU and as such will push the card beyond that of a game or benchmark. For the minimum temperature and power consumption the system will be left in an idle state for 15 minutes and for load Kombuster will be left on for 15 minutes.

Comparison Specifications:

 
Visiontek HD 4670x2
ATI HD 4670
ATI HD 5550
ATI HD 5670
NVIDIA GT 240
Processing cores
320 x2
320
320
400
96
Core Clock
 
725MHz
750MHz
550MHz
775MHz
550MHz
Memory Clock
 
800MHz
800MHz
1300MHz
1000MHz
1340MHz
Memory Interface
128-bit
128-bit
128-bit
128-bit
128-bti
Memory Type
2GB DDR3
1GB DDR3
512MB DDR3
1GB GDDR5
512MB GDDR5
Fabrication process
55nm
55nm
40nm
40nm
40nm

3DMark Vantage is the stunning sequel to 3DMark 06. Futuremark's benchmarking programs have always been at the center of every bragging match. The best way to show that you've got the greatest gaming rig, is to show that you've got the highest 3DMark score. Vantage does just that. It puts your system through a series of strenuous tests, and provides you with a score to brag about!

The Visiontek HD 4670 x2 did a good job in 3DMark Vantage when compared to the single HD 4670, but it was not quite enough to match the GDDR5 equipped HD 5670.

Street Fighter 4 doesn’t necessarily push a graphics card to the limits, but it is a good benchmark to gauge the overall performance. This test is run at default settings to show the best scaling possible.

The 4670 x2 managed to pull ahead of the HD 5670 in this benchmark, but the GT 240 was the ultimate victor. Like the HD 5670 the GT 240 uses GDDR5 memory, which seems to be pushing it ahead of the dual GPU 4670, which uses slower DDR3 memory.

Batman: Arkham Aslyum mixes extraordinary visuals with great gameplay, in order to make an excellent benchmark. It's not a stressful as Crysis, but it can still push cards to their limits.

In Batman Arkham Asylum, both of the GDDR5 equipped models performed better than the HD 4670 x2.

Crysis Warhead is one of the most graphically intensive games on the mainstream market. It's graphically breathtaking, and can bring any system crashing to it's knees.

The Visiontek HD 4670 x2 performed admirably in Crysis Warhead, as it managed to have the best performance at the lower resolution, but did lose ground to the HD 5670 once the settings were increased.

Call of Duty is one of the most successful game franchises of all time and Modern Warfare 2 is the latest iteration in the series. The games combine modern-day settings and locations with jaw-dropping graphics and explosions.

While the 4670 x2 didn't have the highest performance at  the lowest resolutions, it did a great job and was able to come out ahead of the HD 5670 at 1920x1200.

Darkest of Days puts the player in historic battles to ensure the survival of key figures from the past. It is a very interesting concept and the use of real life conflicts keeps the title engaging. The in-game options does not allow PhysX to be disabled, so it can often favor NVIDIA graphics cards over those from ATI.

Darkest of Days has never done well with multi GPU graphics cards, or CrossFire for that matter, so the fact that the 4670 x2 is that the bottom of the performance scale is not surprising.

Bioshock 2 is the sequel to the extremely popular Bioshock game, which was released back in 2007. The game uses the graphics friendly Unreal Engine, but it can still push a graphics card to its limits once the settings are increased.

Bioshock 2 is yet another title that has not shown great performance increases with CrossFire and SLI, so the results are understandable. The reason why this model fell so far behind the stock version is that the HD 4670 x2 uses memory clocked at 700MHz, whereas the reference card uses memory clocked at 1000MHz.

Resident Evil V is the newest installment of the Resident Evil series. The game comes with a built in benchmark that features a bunch of zombies walking around the center of a village. Believe it or not this seemingly simple benchmark can push video cards way out of their comfort zone!

The Visiontek HD 4670 x2 achieved great frames-per-second, but even with dual GPUs at its disposal it was still not enough to match the HD 5670.

Just Cause 2 places you in Panau, Southeast Asia as Agent Rico Rodriguez. The game is a third-person shooter that pits you against countless enemies with the opportunity for plenty of environment destruction. With explosions and gun fire galore, this game is perfect for testing out the latest hardware.

Just Cause 2 is one of the games that scales very well with dual GPU cards and the results here show it! While the HD 4670 x2 was not way ahead of the crowd this is one of the few titles that had it on the top of our charts.

Temperature:

To measure core GPU temperature, MSI's Kombustor was used. The idle temperature was taken after leaving nothing running for up to 15 minutes. The load temperature was taken 15 minutes after starting Kombuster for Multi-Core graphics cards.

The Visiontek HD 4670 x2 performed very well for a dual GPU graphics card, and was even ahead of the reference HD 4670 by 15°C.

Power Usage:

To measure power usage, a Kill A Watt P4400 power meter was used. Note that the above numbers represent the power drain for the entire benchmarking system, not just the video cards themselves. For the 'idle' readings we measured the power drain from the desktop, with no applications running; for the 'load' situation, we took the sustained peak power drain readings at the end of a 30 minute Kombustor run.

The power requirement for the HD 4670 x2 is understandable as it requires additional power for each core, but for an entry-level graphics card to require nearly 200W while idle is quite excessive.

 

Conclusion:

Not all products on the market are designed for the general consumer and the HD 4670 x2 is one such product. This graphics card was instead designed exclusively for business situations where monitor real estate is essential, but current hardware is limited to one PCIe slot. With this single graphics solution utilizing dual GPUs and display controllers it can support up to four monitors using the four dual-link DVI connectors. This could essentially allow any business to expand their workstation to support up to four monitors, which can greatly improve multitasking and productivity. In this regard the Visiontek HD 4670 x2 did a outstanding job, and as an added bonus it costs less than upgrading to a whole new PC capable of supporting a quad-monitor setup.

While the choice to use the 4670 core was a bit surprising to me it did handle our graphics tests quite well in CrossFire mode, showing it is still a very capable graphics core. Ultimately I am not convinced it was the best means to add multiple monitor support, when taking into account there are other graphics cards on the market such as PowerColor HD 5770 Eyefinity 5 edition, which  can support up to five monitors, is cheaper, more powerful and comes packed with all the latest technologies. Additionally, the Eyefinity 5 graphics card can support 3D applications across multiple monitors using Eyefinity, which is something the Visiontek HD 4670 x2 cannot do.

So, in many regards this graphics card is still very limited. The advantage though is unlike the Eyefinity 5 this card uses dual-link DVI ports, which each support resolutions of up to 2560 x 1600 pixels. This is definitely an incentive over the PowerColor as the Eyefinity 5 card requires expensive active DP adapters to connect additional DVI monitors and can only support 1920 x 1200 on a single DVI display. So, taking the extra expense of additional adapters into account the HD 4670 x2 could ultimately be a cheaper option when using monitors that do not utilize the DisplayPort connection type.

You have to hand it to Visiontek for being creative and really thinking outside of the box. This product is a very innovative design, and gives users a means to expand their workstation that would not have otherwise been available. Sure it comes with some issues, but there is not a card available that supports a quad-monitor setup and doesn't come some form of limitations. So, while the HD 4670 x2 doesn't quite steal the thunder away from Eyefinity, it is a nice addition to what is currently available.

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