The Sapphire Radeon HD4850 X2 2048MB graphics card is an exciting new entry into the market of high performance, high resolution gaming solutions. It is able to crank out some serious frame rates in modern 3D games, and you can do so with the settings turned up, way up.
During testing, the HD4850 X2 showed up some other high end cards, and the margin of victory got even larger as the resolution and other settings were increased. The card was able to overclock by 12% on the GPU and by 21% on the memory, so the performance can be boosted above and beyond the already impressive stock settings. And if you want to get even crazier with your system's performance, there is a single CrossFire tab available to make the Radeon HD4850 X2 work in conjunction with another dual or single GPU card.
The key negative related to this card is that it was never quiet. The noise level didn't seem to vary all that much from idle to load, and it was always noticeable. Even while using the fan speed control feature in the Catalyst Control Center to reduce the fans to the minimum speed, the fans were still audible. The temperatures on the GPUs never got particularly warm, and it seems like more control should be provided to eliminate fan noise. Perhaps a BIOS update is in order, like what was applied to the Toxic Radeon HD4870. Other than that, people should be aware that this is a big, thick card! It probably won't fit in most small form factor cases, and perhaps there could be issues with some mid-towers as well.
The Sapphire Radeon HD4850 X2 2048MB graphics card may not be widely available yet, but when it does appear at your favorite online retailer, the price is expected to be about $400 (US). This is definitely a big chunk of change, but compared to other high end graphics cards it is not outrageous. You could expect to pay somewhere around $550 for a Radeon HD4870 X2, and NVIDIA's GTX 280 might come in somewhere between these two offerings on the ATI side of the fence. The HD4850 X2 offers high end graphics performance at a price that is much more competitive with NVIDIA's top offering, and that makes it very appealing.
Considering the features, specifications, real world performance, and pricing, the Sapphire Radeon HD4850 X2 2048MB graphics card finds itself in a very interesting place in the graphics card market. With all things considered, it earns the Bigbruin.com awards of "Highly Recommended" and "Gaming Approved".
» High end performance
» GPUs run cool, even under a heavy load
» GPU and memory overclocked to Overdrive tab maximums
» $400 price tag is competitive with other top graphics solutions
» Drew a good deal of power, but was more energy efficient than I anticipated
» Four DVI connections
» Decent bundle of accessories and software
» Longer and thicker than typical card, so it won't fit in every system
» Exhaust air is dumped back into the computer case
» Fairly loud, even when fans are manually set to lowest speed
Special thanks to Sapphire for providing the Sapphire Radeon HD4850 X2 2048MB Graphics Card to Bigbruin.com for review!
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