ATI's new Radeon HD 4770 GPU debuts today, and with boards based on the chip expected to cost about $99, the 4770 could be an ideal option if you're interested in light gaming and multimedia playback.
The Radeon HD 4770 is the first desktop GPU built from a 40-nanometer manufacturing process (allowing for smaller, more powerful chips), and includes 512MB of speedy GDDR5 memory and support for DirectX 10.1.
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ATI sent us an HD 4770 reference board which the Test Center has begun benchmarking for real-world gaming frame rate performance (still one of the easiest ways to compare graphics cards). As you'd expect, the Radeon HD 4770 keeps pace with the pack at a basic settings (1024-by-768 resolution, normal detail), but it begins to fall away at resolution increases towards 2560-by-1600. The drop off is even more pronounced when high-detail settings or anti-aliasing are selected.
While we finish our testing--and throw some similarly-priced Nvidia GeForce 9800GT and 9800GTX-based boards into the mix--below are some frame rates we've seen for tests run in high-detail at 1680-by-1050. That's the default resolution of 20- and 22-inch widescreen monitors, two of the most popular monitor sizes in use today.