The Sapphire HD 4650 adds legs to older PC’s that are still running AGP graphics. Bringing in the newest features that the 4000 series graphics cards offer including cooler running second generation 55nm chips, DirectX 10.1 graphics and HDMI support. The question presented here is can the older AGP systems keep up with today’s graphics or is it worth it just to upgrade to PCI-E?
I will be looking at Sapphire’s HD 4650 AGP graphics card. Yep, that’s right I said AGP. Some of you may have thought this interface was gone with the dinosaurs but it still lives and in fact breaths in many homes. The fact is there are many reasons people still have an old system laying around. Maybe they upgraded and kept the old one or maybe the old one is working just fine for their needs. The fact is they are still around but are slowly fazing out. With the price of a PCI-E systems pretty low these days why would anyone still buy a AGP graphics card? Well, the answers to that are the same as before. Probably the most important of which is because it’s cheaper. If you can get by with what you have for an upgrade for under $100 bucks why not just do that? This is where the 4650 comes in. It’s cheap, and according to it’s specs it looks very likely that this card might make older systems still able to hang in there with today’s games and needs.
Before we get too much into the details of the graphics performance lets get a general overview of the product. Firstly, the Sapphire HD 4650 AGP comes in a nice small box and from first glance looks almost identical to the box from the HD4650 OC review that I did a while back. The give away is the small black symbol in the bottom left corner that says 8x AGP. The rest as far as graphics goes is the same. On the back and side you will find a nice list of features that this card is capable of. It is Vista capable so DirectX10.1 is on the table providing your older system can handle the abuse that Vista dishes out. I’m assuming it is Win7 compatible too as my other ATI AGP card runs fine under Win7 and this one is more up to date.
Inside you will find the graphics card nestled inside a cardboard egg crate looking package. the card is wrapped in an anti-static bag with the accessories loosely placed underneath it. Included inside is a Driver DVD, HDTV cable, power cable adapter, DVI to HDMI adapter, S-video to composite adapter and a DVI to VGA adapter. Not a bad haul and as you can see from the bundle the HD4650 seems like it would pair nicely with a media center setup.
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* ATI PowerPlay™ technology consists of numerous power saving features. Not all features may be available in all ATI Radeon HD 4600 Series graphics cards.