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Confirmed: Some ATI Radeon HD 4830s are gimped

Confirmed: Some ATI Radeon HD 4830s are gimped

We have just received confirmation from AMD that some ATI Radeon HD 4830 boards have less stream processors enabled than there should be.

We have just received confirmation from AMD that some ATI Radeon HD 4830 boards have only 560 stream processors enabled, instead of the 640 that there should be. A limited number of these have made it into the channel.

It's something we'd been scratching our heads over for a few days now, after finding that the performance data we'd collected didn't make a lot of sense. We've heard various stories from AMD, from it being a "known issue" to there being problems with the application calculating the number of stream processors.

The latter statement was one we frankly didn't believe because our own calculations based on theoretical performance just didn't add up at all. On that note, I guess it's good to know that AMD has finally come out and admitted that there was a problem with the samples, following what essentially amounted to a "no comment" earlier in the week.

Here's the quote:

"AMD has identified that, in addition to reference samples of the ATI Radeon™ HD 4830 boards sent to media with a pre-production BIOS potentially impacting the card’s performance, a very limited number of ATI Radeon™ HD 4830 boards were released to market with the same pre-production BIOS. This is in no way hardware related, and an updated BIOS fully resolves the performance limitation.

Through consultations with AMD board partners, it has been determined with a high degree of certainty that fewer than 400 ATI Radeon™ HD 4830 boards from one AMD board partner, HIS, have reached the market with the pre-production BIOS incorrectly provided by AMD. As only a small number of HIS-branded ATI Radeon™ HD 4830 cards are impacted, we ask any customers that purchased an HIS-branded ATI Radeon™ HD 4830 to test the board using the GPU-Z utility (available at http://www.techpowerup.com/gpuz). If the GPU-Z utility reports fewer than 640 shaders, please visit the HIS website for information on how to update the card BIOS via a downloadable install utility.
"

Now that we've got to the bottom of this problem, we'll be publishing our review early next week - stay tuned for that and, in the meantime, you can discuss this news in the forums.

9 Comments

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biebiep 26th October 2008, 11:18 Quote
It's a damn conspiracy I tell ye!

Green Spies in the Red camp! *Yarrr*




On a more serious note: Ppl with no tech knowledge whatsoever aren't going to find this funny. How are they even going to hear about this?
DougEdey 26th October 2008, 11:30 Quote
So the review will be using the non-limited BIOS?
Cupboard 26th October 2008, 15:49 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by biebiep
On a more serious note: Ppl with no tech knowledge whatsoever aren't going to find this funny. How are they even going to hear about this?

Chances are they won't even notice. I shouldn't think there are many people buying graphics cards that aren't tech savvy - most will be coming with computers and then the OEMs will be sorting it out.
Vigilante 26th October 2008, 15:53 Quote
What interests me is... if these boards can have the eighth SIMD unlocked simply with a bios update - Would that in turn mean flashing the board with a 4850 bios would unlock all 10, enabling 4850-class performance for a lower price? (when the boards drop to rrp levels of course)
DougEdey 26th October 2008, 16:31 Quote
That used to happen all the time Vigilante, X800PRO going to X800XT IIRC. Same with the 9800 series. I used to have it done to my old 9800 PRO
Tim S 26th October 2008, 17:14 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by DougEdey
So the review will be using the non-limited BIOS?

yep, we've got the non-gimped BIOS on our card now
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vigilante
What interests me is... if these boards can have the eighth SIMD unlocked simply with a bios update - Would that in turn mean flashing the board with a 4850 bios would unlock all 10, enabling 4850-class performance for a lower price? (when the boards drop to rrp levels of course)

As far as I'm aware, the 2 remaining SIMDs are 'locked down' on the 4830s, so you can't unlock the remaining two to make a 4850.
docodine 26th October 2008, 17:50 Quote
But is it worth it to get this instead of a 4850? Hopefully it is significantly less hot...
Omnituens 26th October 2008, 20:17 Quote
GREEN SPAH SAPPIN' MAH RED SHADER COUNT!
xaser04 26th October 2008, 22:19 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by docodine
But is it worth it to get this instead of a 4850? Hopefully it is significantly less hot...

Given the current UK pricing and the reviews already circling the net there is not point in this card when compared to the HD4850.

At £20 less than the current pricing it may be worthwhile.
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