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ATI Radeon HD 4850 - benchmarked against mid-range and high-end GPUs

by Tarinder Sandhu on 20 June 2008, 23:17

Tags: Sapphire RADEON HD 4850 , Sapphire

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qanub

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Mid-range system setup


Hardware

Graphics cards Sapphire Radeon HD 4850 512MiB Sapphire Radeon HD 3870 512MiB Sapphire Radeon HD 3850 512MiB BFG GeForce 9800 GTX 512MiB MSI GeForce 8800 GTS 512, 512MiB Palit 8800GT 512MiB Inno3D 9600 GT 512MiB
Current pricing, including VAT TBA (£125?)
£89
£79
£179 £149
£99
£79
Shader Model 4.1 4.0
Stream processors 800 320 320 128 112 64
GPU clock speed (MHz) TBA 702 777 675 650 600 650
Shader clock speed (MHz) TBA 702 777 1,688 1,625 1,500 1,625
Memory clock speed (MHz) TBA 1,656 2,252 2,200 1,940 1,800 1,800
Memory bus width (Bits) 256
CPU Intel Core 2 Q6700 LGA775 (2.66GHz, 8MiB L2 cache, quad-core)
Motherboard ASUS P5K Premium Deluxe WiFi-AP (Bearlake P35) eVGA NF68 (nForce 680i SLI)
Motherboard BIOS 0504 P31
Mainboard software Intel Inf 8.4.0.1016 NVIDIA device driver 15.08
Memory 4GiB (2x 2GiB) DDR2-1066
Memory timings and speed 5-5-5-15 2T @ 1,066MHz
PSU Enermax Galaxy DXX 850W Gigabyte ODIN GT 800W
Monitor Dell 24in 2405WFP - 1,920x1,200
Disk drive(s) Seagate 160GiB SATAII (ST3160812AS)
Graphics driver CATALYST 8.6 (press driver for HD 4850) NVIDIA ForceWare 175.16
Operating system Windows Vista Business, 64-bit

Software

3D Benchmarks Company Of Heroes: Opposing Fronts v2.103: DX9 - high quality
Enemy Territory: Quake Wars v1.2 (demo_00010.dem, map Valley): OpenGL - medium quality
Lost Planet: Extreme Condition v1.004 built-in benchmark: DX10 - medium quality
Crysis v1.2.1 custom-recorded benchmark: DX10 - medium quality
Futuremark 3DMark Vantage b1.0.1 - default test


Notes

We're running the Radeon HD 4850 512MiB under both our mid-range platform, detailed above, and with our high-end setup, shown on page seven.

The reason for running two platforms and comparing it against different cards lies squarely with the price.

At a guesstimated £125, the pricing is decidedly mid-range, so why should we look at against, say, a GeForce GTX 280, costing nearly four times as much? Knowing this, comparing mid-range performance, with mid-range settings, against the likes of stock-clocked GeForce 8800 GTS 512, 8800 GT, and 9600 GT makes sense, as well as adding ATI's own previous-generation HD 3870 and 3850 cards.

But the intrinsic nature of the Radeon HD 4850, which we'll go into serious detail on Wednesday, means that it punches well above its financial weight, so much so that NVIDIA's been obliged to reduce the pricing of its GeForce 9800 GTX from around $290 to $199 (£179 to £125). We'll see this price-drop rolled into etailers' catalogues at the end of next week. This is precisely why we've added the BFG card, currently etailing for around £179, to this mid-range line-up.

Our mid-range settings run the benchmarks at 1,280x1,024 (720 for Lost Planet) and 1,680x1,050, with mid-level image-quality enhancements on everything bar Company of Heroes. Our high-end platform, more for comparison's sake than financial parity, extends the resolutions to 1,920x1,200 and 2,560x1,600, with high-level I.Q to boot. A £125 card shouldn't do too well there, but HD 4850 shows promise. Remember, you can't cross-compare, say, Enemy Territory 1,680x1,050 4xAA 16xAF performance between the two setups; one runs mid-level quality and the other high-level quality settings.

Got all that?