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AMD ATI Radeon HD 4850 review

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AMD ATI Radeon HD 4850

Summary

Our Score:

9

You may have gathered over the last couple of weeks that we really like the ATI HD 4870. It isn't quite the fastest graphics card you can buy - that honour goes to nVidia's GTX 280 - but it performs very well and comes in at a quite phenomenal price. Still, there are many of us that would balk at the idea of spending nearly £200 on a graphics card, regardless of how fast it is, which is where the ATI HD 4850 comes in.

Like its more expensive sibling, the ATI HD 4850 is based on ATI's new RV770 chip. In fact, unlike the nVidia GTX 260, which uses the same chip as the GTX 280 but with a few sections disabled, the HD 4850 uses the full extent of RV770. The differences are confined to clock speed and memory configuration.

So, in essence you still get 800 stream processors, 40 texture address/ filtering units, and 16 ROPs, as well as the 256-bit wide memory interface - although the memory chips themselves are GDDR3 instead of the GDDR5 seen on the HD 4870. However, the core clock speed has been reduced by 17 per cent and memory speed by 45 per cent, which should result in a performance differential that sits somewhere within that percentage range - exactly what the difference will be will differ from game to game.

And that really is it. There's nothing more to say about the architecture of HD 4850 that hasn't already been said in our in-depth HD 4870 review. However, when it comes to the card itself there are some significant differences.

kalniel

July 21, 2008, 4:11 pm

Very interesting results, especially Crysis. Given the feature set is identical between the 4850 and 4870 you'd expect the only differences be due to slightly increased clock speed and significantly increased memory bandwidth. That being the case the OC'd 4850, especially if the memory is OC'd, should bring performance closer to the 4870 - as in fact the other games show.





So what's going on in Crysis - driver optimisations for the 4870? Heat throttling for the 4850?

aprado17

February 6, 2009, 10:16 pm

I got this card (the 4850) built-in the Dell Studio XPS (currently in production, hasn't shipped yet). I am not a gamer at all and personally only care about the connections that the card allows me to do: I noticed two DVI outputs and one s-video output. Does this mean that I can connect simultaneously (a) two computer monitors (one for each DVI) plus a TV through the s-video or (b) one computer monitor to one DVI output and a TV to the other DVI output? I would really love to be right in my guess. And this is pure guess, as I am not very familiar with the terminology of graphics cards (my old PC packs a whopping 64MB graphics card and I don't even know the brand). I would really appreciate it if someone would clear this little doubt of mine. Thanks.

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