ATI's latest cards are out, and they are getting some major attention. These are supposed to be the cards that really put ATI back on the map in the GPU race. Personally I thought that the 38xx series were pretty good, however, I've got the new 4850, so we'll see how it stacks up against the previous generation.
The box was surprisingly small, it made me think of the boxes you find low-end budget cards in. Of course we all know that size isn't everything. The box has the usual suspects, with plenty of cables, connectors and CDs to get you started. The card itself was also rather small. I actually can't remember the last time I had a mid to high-end card that took up only a single PCI slot. I've pictured it with the single-GPU VisionTek 3870 for reference.
Yes, I know, looks are great and all, but you want to get down to business. How does it measure up? Well I've brought back both the VisionTek 3870 and 3870X2 OC for reference. I suspected that it would easily surpass the single-GPU card, but with it being the lower-end of the 48xx series, I figured that my X2 would still reign supreme. Let's see how it turned out.
First, here's our gaming rig setup. It's still the same as the last benchmarks I ran, but for reference, here are the specs.
CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 3.0GHz
Cooler: CoolIT PURE
OS: Windows Vista Ultimate
Mobo: Gigabyte GA-P35-DS3L
RAM: Corsair Dominator 2GB TWIN2X2408-8500C5DF
HDD: Western Digital Caviar SE 160GB SATA
Case: Ultra m998 Mid-Tower
Crysis and World in Conflict are still two of the top games for working the higher-end cards, so I've decided to stick with them. I've also included the 3dMark06 results as well.
To be perfectly honest, I was blown away here. I expected this card to fall short of the 3870X2 OC, however, it scored the exact same in the two higher-resolution tests. Even more, it bested the dual-GPU card by a slight margin at the lower setting.
Once again, the 4850 surpassed my expectations. With Anti-Aliasing turned on, it actually had more than a 25% increase over the 3870X2 OC. The other two tests were pretty much a tie, which is still incredible.
Here are the 3dMark06 scores for the card. Surprisingly, the card scored lower here, but higher when actually running through game benchmarks. How strange.
Right now, if you're buying a graphics card, don't bother spending the extra money on the 3870X2 OC. Sure, it's a great card, but you're going to get the same, if not better performance out of a card that costs half the price. You'll find the VisionTek 4850 on store shelves for around $199.
Overall, I give the VisionTek Radeon HD 4850 a solid 4.5 out of 5 gears.