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Thursday, 19 June 2008 21:22

Sapphire HD 4850 shows its teeth

Written by Sanjin Rados

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Review:
Tails 9800 GTX


We already told you bits and pieces about Sapphire's HD 4850 GDDR3 card with 512MB memory, and since we worked extra hard we managed to get a few scores for you.

The card is, as we said, clocked at 625MHz core and 1986MHz 256 bit GDDR3 memory and it naturally has 512MB of this precious integrated circuitry.

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The GPU behind the card is something that we knew as RV770PRO and it surprisingly has a massive 956 million transistors. This is more than forty percent more than 666 mililion, the odd number that ATI had with RV670, or 43.5 percent more than the previous chip.

The chip is developed in 55nm process by TSMC and, of course, it supports DirectX 10.1 and Shader model 4.1. The GPU has 16 ROPs and it costs $199 in the U.S. e-tail, or about €150 to €180 in the EU, depending on the country and VAT.

The card itself looks almost identical to the good old Radeon 3850 and the cooler is actually the same. The card gets hot and reaches up to 80 degrees Celsius, which is acceptable for this card, but beware as you can be burned. At the same time its single-slot cooler is very quiet.

Being a single slot card isn’t an advantage, you simply get a lot of heat that you need to take out of your case. We hope someone will make a dua- slot card, as this would definitely get things cooler.

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The two DVI’s support HDMI over DVI, including 7.1 sound or VGA, depending which way you want to go. The GDDR3 memory is from Qimonda model number HYB18H512321BF-10 and the chips work at 1ns which is enough for 2GHz clock. The die size of RV770 is 256 mm², which is just a fraction of 576 mm², which is the size of GT200.

The card also has a single 6-pin power connector and during testing our whole testbed was happy with up to 270W, which is a great score for a Core 2 duo 6800 system with 680i board.

We didn’t have too much time to test many applications but we’ve tested 3Dmarks and a few games, including the almighty Crysis. Of course, we compared this with Radeon 3870 X2, 3870 and 3850 but please note that they were tested with the 8.5 driver as we simply didn’t have time to update it, as the new driver is out since last night.

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We also tested a few Nvidia cards, including 8800GT and 9800GTX which are the main competitors of this card. Before we forget about it, ATI is using a TeraFlop marketing gag, as this is the first card to go over that magical number, but you should really care more about frames per second.

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Last modified on Friday, 20 June 2008 16:53
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