With the launch of the Radeon HD 4800 series in June of last year, AMD made an evolutionary leap in their Linux support. For the first time, when introducing a brand new graphics processor (the RV770) it was greeted by same-day Linux support, compared to the past where Linux users had to wait many months for any new level of support. Not only was there this Linux support via the Catalyst driver, but there was even open-source support in the X.Org driver the very same month. In the months that followed, they then introduced CrossFire support, OverDrive, and other features to put their Linux Catalyst suite closer to their Windows driver. This morning AMD is announcing a high-end refresh of the RV770 GPU that will be known as the RV790 and is found in the Radeon HD 4890 graphics card. Is AMD continuing to play ball with Linux? We will tell you this morning as we look closely at the ASUS Radeon HD 4890 on Ubuntu Linux.
The RV790 is not a complete redesign of the RV770 GPU, but is a moderate upgrade to serve prior to the release of the R800 series later this year. The RV790-based Radeon HD 4890 reference design calls for an 850MHz core clock speed with 975MHz memory clock, 1GB of 256-bit GDDR5 video memory with a maximum memory bandwidth of 124.8GB/s, and 1.36 Teraflops worth of computing power. Like the RV770, the RV790 with its 959 million transistors continues to be based off a 55nm process and there remain 800 Stream processors. The beast that is designed to be a step above the Radeon HD 4870 is set to cost a mere $250 USD!
Simply put, the Radeon HD 4890 is designed to be AMD's fastest single-GPU graphics card, and at $250 or less it is made to be affordable and compete with the more expensive NVIDIA GeForce GTX 285. Compared to the Radeon HD 4870, the Radeon HD 4890 most notably has its core clock frequency increased by 100MHz (a 13% increase) and its GDDR5 memory increased by 75MHz (an 8% increase). The number of ROPs and texture units remains the same.