It seems like Sapphire always manages to produce some kind of an ace from their sleeve, and this time it’s no different. Sapphire’s dual-chip HD 4850 X2 graphics card is built by Sapphire themselves, rather than using ATI’s reference model, which enabled for some design changes. First of all there are 4 DVI outs and a large dual-fan cooler. Although clocks are identical to the single chip HD 4850 card, the fact that this card has two chips speaks for itself. AMD’s Crossfire X technology and the PLX chip enable two graphics cores on one PCB, and ATI milked that cow for all it’s worth. That’s how ATI managed to defeat Nvidia, and now they follow the tradition with their RV770PRO GPU. This card filled a gap between HD 4870 X2 and HD 4870 graphics cards and it uses cheaper DDR3 memory.
Sapphire’s packaging is never boring, and we quite liked it. The box is HD 4850 X2-themed, but you can see that for yourself.
The blue PCB has a large cooler with two powerful fans. During our testing, beta BIOS caused the fans to be too loud, so we’re hoping that Sapphire will remedy this with a new BIOS update. Temperatures were kept in check and never went over 45°C in idle and 60°C during operation. Compared to the HD 4870 X2, which gets really hot, this card barely heats up.
Each core has 1GB of GDDR3 memory at its disposal, which will definitely come in handy while playing demanding games like Crysis. With 4x antialiasing and 8x anisotropic filtering at 1600x1200, the card scores 41fps. Note that in the same scenario, one HD 4870 512MB scores 29fps whereas HD 4850 512MB scores 22fps.
So besides being priced to fill the gap between HD 4870 X2 and HD 4870, Sapphire HD 4850 X2 does the same performance-wise.