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AMD ATI Radeon HD 4850 - Race Driver: GRID
Race Driver: GRID is the newest game in our testing arsenal and it's currently one of our favourites too. Its combination of arcade style thrills and spills with a healthy dose of realism and extras like Flashback makes it a great pickup and go driving game. It's also visually stunning with beautifully rendered settings, interactive crowds, destructible environments, and stunning lighting. All that and it's not the most demanding game on hardware, either.
We test using the 32-bit version of the game, which is unpatched and running in DirectX10 mode. FRAPS is used to record frame rates while we manually complete one circuit of the Okutama Grand Circuit, in a Pro Tuned race on normal difficulty. We find a framerate of at least 40fps is required to play this game satisfactorily as significant stutters can ruin your timing and precision. We'd also consider 4xAA as a minimum as the track, barriers, and car bodies suffer considerably from aliasing and are a constant distraction.
All in-game settings are set to their maximum and we test with 0xAA, 4xAA, and 8xAA. Transparency anti-aliasing is also manually turned on through the driver, though this is obviously only enabled when normal AA is being used in-game.
This is perhaps the biggest disappointment for the HD 4850 because we expected it to dominate like the HD 4870 does, but this is far from the case. Indeed it consistently limps in behind the nVidia 8800GT and nVidia GTX 260 in fourth place. Of course, it's worth remembering we haven't tested Asus' overclocked card in this title as it kept crashing. Had that worked we suspect the overclocking would've paid dividends. Regardless, though, it's not like the HD 4850 is unplayable at any of the settings we tested.