Product: ATi Radeon HD4850
Company: AMD
Authour: Alex 'AlexV' Voicu
Editor: Charles 'Lupine' Oliver
Date: July 9th, 2008
ATi HD 4850 Crossfire - DX9 Tests

Quite a trip this has been, but we're at the end of the performance evaluation for the 4850. For the last time - in this batch - we'll walk you through our testing methodology:

  • We've moved from having a large heterogeneous mix of in-game settings to testing according to 3 exact presets:

    • BASELINE: This is the game set to its maximum quality settings, but without any AA or AF enabled

    • HIGH QUALITY: Same as above, but 4X AA gets enabled alongside 16X AF

    • EXTREME QUALITY: Game settings remain at their maximum respective value, but AA gets bumped to 8X, whilst AF remains pegged at 16X

    • CROSSFIRE EXTREME QUALITY: Still maximum in-game settings and 16X AF, but we're using the Crossfire exclusive 16X AA mode - this mode can only be forced through the CCC and thus will only work in games that support such forcing; we're investigating it since it probably is of interest to quite a few people out there

    • For games that have no support for AA, including Stalker in this investigation, the baseline setting has 16X AF enabled

  • We're using the presets in an effort to improve overall readability and usability of the data we provide

  • Most in-built benchmarking utilities have been relinquished in favor of FRAPS runs - whilst we most certainly don't consider this to be the be-all end-all of testing, it's probably a better way of showing how the games tested will actually perform in practice

  • We've also moved from averaging 3 three minute runs with FRAPS to averaging 6 of them - this should help remove some of the inherent variability associated with FRAPS testing

  • Unless otherwise specified, all tests are run at 1920x1200

  • For each game, a graph will be presented to you showing the percentile increase of card A vs. card B - the percentile increase is calculated as (A-B)/B  and expressed in percentage points

Since we're looking at Crossfire, we'll have to talk about the most recently discovered doomsday device, one which sends stutters down multi-GPU enthusiasts' spines - micro-stuttering. A fairly extensive bit of the 4850 closing thoughts (yep, those are almost here) was meant to be dedicated to figuring out what this horror story is all about and whether or not the world of multi-GPU users is ending ... but the project grew to slightly unmanageable size so it gained the right to have its own dedicated write-up. Look for it soon - it will have nice pictures and, by virtue of that, it will be interesting.

We won't be recycling general comments about each game (it's a poor way of giving the illusion of extra content), but rather go ahead and show results directly, with what we hope will be relevant comments made where necessary.

Here are the specs for the system we used during testing:

As you can see, we're using a mildly overclocked 3870X2 card from Gecube for illustrating CF performances of the old lineup, and we've also achieved driver parity for this round of tests, as opposed to the single card tests where we had to use the slightly older Catalyst 8.5s for the 3870.

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