Explain the ATI Radeon range, please.


Solid State Member
As we all know, higher numbers mean better stuff, right? Buy a Ferrari 458 and you know it's faster than the 440 was. A 747 is bigger than a 737. This naming convention holds true for just about every manufacturer out there.
Anyway, for years I've been using a Radeon HD 4670. I don't play a lot of games, mostly simulators, and it's never really had any problems. I only really play Geoff Crammonds Grand prix 4 (I dunno how old that is, but Schumi is driving for Ferrari, and Mika Hakkinen is in it, so...pretty old) and Microsoft FSX. (Not sure what year). I also play Quake live, but have everything set to the basic settings on that, and I use Maya a lot, too. I've never run into any problems that looked like the GFX card was struggling, and it's by far the oldest component in my system.
Anyway, it started acting up a bit lately, irrespective of when I last hoovered it out, or gave the heatsink a spring-clean and re-applied thermal paste, so I decided I might as well get a replacement. I ordered a Radeon HD 6450 on Ebay for what I thought was a pretty low price all things considered. My reasoning being that the higher number MUST mean it's a better card than the 4670, and that I'd never had any limitations with that original card that would warrant me buying what would be considered a good card today.
Now (the point. Finally) I notice that a lot of the raw specs for the 4670 are better than those on the 6450. What's up with that? Will someone please explain why ATI don't get that BIGGER NUMBERS MEAN BETTER STUFF!
Also, I can't find comprehensive spec lists for these cards that use the same terminology, so a side-by-side on-paper comparison is proving difficult, but is it worth just keeping the 4670 in there until it dies, then only using the 6450 as a stop-gap till I find something better?
And finally, can anyone suggest a good card? I'm not looking to spend much as, like I said, my really old card has always been ok. I've had it in the last three systems I've built and never felt like it was holding things back. Then again, It's the only card I've ever had. What difference does a better card even make?
Yep, I know that was long, but there were questions in there even though some of them may not have been phrased as such.
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