Way back in October, I had the opportunity to review the Sapphire
HD4550, and I promptly crowned it reigning champion of HTPC video
cards in terms of HD content playback. At the time, I felt it
was the perfect solution for any HTPC owner, due to its awesome Blu-Ray
playback, low noise, and cool operation. Lo and behold,
Sapphire has sent us a new card looking to usurp the throne.
This new card, the Sapphire Radeon HD4670 Ultimate HD, sports the
RV730 core based on 55nm tech, which is largely what makes passively
cooling this card possible. On top of that, the 4670 sports
320 Stream Processors compared to the 4550's 80, which means it has
some gaming potential as well. So, will it find it's way into the hearts of HTPC owners? Read on
and find out!
The 4670 comes in an attractive white box with
what appears to be a futuristic supermodel ninja. She also
appears to be packing a special tool belt....and I am pretty sure I
don't want to find out its "special features", if you know what I
The actual card itself almost looks like a piece
of work out of the portfolio of H.R. Giger. If you compare the
Ultimate HD to the reference
HD 4670, you will also notice that the layout of the card has
changed. The dimensions are nearly the same, with the
exception of the added space taken up by the large passive heatsink.
The way the heatsink wraps around the backside is
also pretty unique in terms of design. This doesn't actually
do much to cool the back of the card, but it does effectively
increase the surface area of the heatsink. Also notice that
there are no crossfire connectors, either.
The backside shows the unique L-shaped design used
to wrap the heatsink around to the back of the card. It truly
is a very different design. If you are using an bracket in the
first PCI slot, you may have some clearance issues, but most people
should not have any problems.
Here is the view of the card as you would see it
once its installed. The funny thing is, the Sapphire brand
would actually be upside down in a standard case. Since most
HTPC cases are designed to be hidden away in a home theater cabinet,
this is probably an irrelevant detail for most.
The typical connector layout for the 4000 series
of ATi cards usually consists of two DVI ports with a proprietary
S-Video-like connection in the center. The Ultimate HD mixes
things up, however, as here we have a DVI, VGA, and onboard HDMI
connector. The upside here is that HDMI support is achieved
without an adaptor, but the downside is older TV's that use
S-Video/Component/Composite connectors are now left in the dust.
Finally, we have the money shot of the GDDR3
memory, and just like the reference 4670, this card is packing chips
from Hynix. The full data sheet for the GDDR3 can be found on
here. According to the specs, the N0C specification allows
for 2.05V and 2GHz effective data clock.