Computer upgrade: ATI HD 4670 graphics card

The last component of my computer upgrade arrived today in a surprisingly small box. I purchased an ATI HD 4670 graphics card based on the Tom’s hardware recommendation for entry level graphics cards. I didn’t have a lot of money to spend on this upgrade, but yet I wanted a card that would allow me to harness some of the parallel processing power via GPGPU programming. The HD 4670 has 320 streaming processors, which I am hoping to experiment with to increase the map rendering speed for

After installing the card, I updated my Windows Vista Experience Index and it went from 3.3 up to a whopping 5.8 (5.9 is the maximum possible score). Note that my Primary hard disk – (2) 500 gb seagate drives in RAID 0 configuration – is rated at 5.9. This is significant for my PC Mark Vantage experiment further down in this post.

Windows Vista Experience Index – 5.9 is the highest score possible

Next, I re-ran PC Mark Vantage and was hoping for a figure somewhere in the 8000’s. Instead, I saw an increase from 6144 to 6655 – much lower than expected. Further investigation revealed that tests involving my HDD (hard disk drive) performance had very low scores. I discovered that Windows search was indexing my drive in the background, so I disabled Windows search and re-ran the benchmark. This saw a further increase to 6934 with slighly improved HDD performance. See screenshots below:

PC Mark Vantage results before turning off Windows search

PC Mark Vantage results after turning off Windows search

Puzzled, I downloaded a program called HD tune, which has a benchmark for testing transfer rate and access time. I ran the test and saw that my transfer rate was 50% higher than any of the posted online test results, but my access time was only mid-range. My preliminary conclusion is that the PC Mark vantage benchmark is emphasizing access time over transfer rate. Here is the screenshot showing my HD tune test run:

HD Tune results

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