Product: ATi Radeon HD4850
Company: AMD
Authour: Alex 'Morgoth Bauglir' Voicu
Editor: Charles 'Lupine' Oliver, Eric 'Ichneumon' Amidon
Date: June 25th, 2008
Introduction & Setup

Hello again ladies and gentleman. How has release day treated you until now? Scouring all write-ups around the web we're sure (don't miss Beyond3D's and TechReport's ones, those are two constant sources of quality content). As promised earlier in the closing bits of our architecture investigation, we're back with the performance numbers for a single HD 4850 card, in DX10 titles, with DX9 coming a bit later. The specs were already mentioned in the aforementioned article, but here's a quick recap:

A few words on the card:

  • The cooling solution for the 4850 is fairly similar to the version found on the 3850

  • Due to the focus on silent operation, the fan will only go as fast as needed to keep the chip within specifications: this means fairly elevated idle and load temps, however, it does not mean a thermonuclear device has made its way into your PC and that it's bound to explode-the chip is built to perform at those temperatures without issues.

  • Inter-generational (4800+3800) Crossfire isn't supported as of now - it was allowed with some older driver sets, but the technical issues associated with it are somewhat serious

  • The card requires a 6-pin power-plug (as you can see in the pictures)

Now, before we start pouring out the graphs, we have to inform you about a number of changes we've implemented which we hope will improve the overall quality of our reviews:

  • We've moved from having a large heterogenous 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

    • For games that have no support for AA, including Stalker, Timeshift, Bioshock DX10, and Gothic 3 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

This is a single-card performance investigation and Crossfire numbers will follow shortly. We'll also be looking at more "exotic" features like Edge-Detect or AAA quite soon, but those deserve their own separate piece.

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

Onwards to the results!

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