We have managed to get a better explanation as to why AMD’s Radeon HD 4770 reference card was quite a bit different to the cards that have been available in the channel after speaking to several sources close to AMD.
Initially, AMD said that it manufactured the reference card and then board partners were left to create their own designs, using the reference card as a starting point.
The coincidence was that nearly every retail card we’ve seen has adopted exactly the same PCB design. The design is quite bare compared to the reference card and the power phases aren’t anywhere near as robust.
We have suggested that this was done to meet the price point in our reviews and this has now been confirmed. One source told us that “AMD admitted that it was nigh on impossible to meet the price point with the full design
” after several back-and-forth discussions.
Another source told us that after a number of talks, AMD came up with a second reference design and claimed that the first was “a reference design for the RV740 GPU
” and not for the 4770 – that’s where the cost-cut version comes in.
If RV740’s yields improve, we might see some more robust designs introduced at a slightly higher price with better cooling to boot, but our sources said that there is “no point
” in releasing more Radeon HD 4770 SKUs at the moment because there aren’t enough chips to go around.
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