AMD has made the eagerly-anticipated Radeon HD 4770 GPU official. Although it is based on some of the most advanced technology--it's the first GPU manufactured using a 40nm process and has nearly as many transistors as the flagship Radeon HD 4890--it is neither the company's fastest nor most costly GPU.
The first Radeon HD 4770 cards with 512MB of memory cost around $110, but AMD says a rebate will push the cost just below a hundred dollars. That puts the new cards right between the Radeon HD 4670, which starts at around $70, and the top-of-the-line Radeon HD 4800 series, which starts at around $150 (not counting the Radeon HD 4830). The 4800 series cards are also available in dual GPU (X2) configurations.
Don't let the bargain price fool you. In terms of performance, the new GPU rivals the Radeon HD 4850 thanks to several features--750MHz core clock, fast GDDR5 memory--it shares with the Radeon HD 4870. That leaves the Radeon HD 4830 in a bit of an awkward spot, and perhaps AMD will cut the prices on that card to clear out inventory. Nvidia may also be forced to make some changes. Though it is designed to go head-to-head with GeForce 9800 GT, which starts at about $115, the Radeon HD 4770 not only outperformed it, but on many tests also performed on par with the GeForce 9800 GTX+, which costs at least $130.
Cards based on the Radeon HD 4770 are already available from Asus, Gigabyte, HIS, PowerColor, Sapphire and XFX. Here's some of the extensive reviews coverage:
Separately, AMD announced a faster dual-core Athlon processor priced at $69. The 2.8GHz Athlon X2 7850 is a "Black Edition" chip, which means it can easily be over-clocked using AMD's OverDrive utility to boost performance. These dual-core Black Edition parts have reportedly been over-clocked to around 3.3GHz. AMD is pushing the Athlon X2 7850--combined with a Radeon HD 4000 series card, such as the $99 Radeon HD 4770, and the 7-series chipset--as a good value for gamers. And frankly it's hard to argue with them on this one.