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Hardware Sapphire ATI Radeon HD 4850 X2 2GB

Discussion in 'Article Discussion' started by Tim S, 23 Jan 2009.

  1. Tim S

    Tim S OG

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  2. alecamused

    alecamused Member

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    as usual great article ... with a tiny "but": single and crossfire 4850 card added to the benchmarks would have been great to compare the value of the card (you know, for a quick view in one window;) )
     
  3. wolfticket

    wolfticket Downwind from the bloodhounds

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    Mmmmm... quad dvi outputs and decent gaming performance on one card is almost worth the price of admission in itself.

    On a more pedantic note, "it will make your system cry, quite literally" irked me a little, but then I am a pedant :)
     
  4. remixme

    remixme Own a Dremel, but not used it yet!

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    "Frankly, the Sapphire Radeon HD 4850 X2 is too loud for a modern gaming system, driver support isn’t where we’d like it and the GeForce GTX 285 is too expensive."

    I might still be blurry eyed this morning, but I don't understand the reference to the Geforce in this sentence?
     
  5. Tim S

    Tim S OG

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    No worries, the GeForce is the main competition for the 4850 X2 and it's about £30-40 too expensive IMO. It was more of a general comment about the state of this market segment - the 4850 X2 has flaws (including being far too loud) and the GTX 285 is priced out of contention if you can live with the racket it makes. :)
     
  6. Goty

    Goty New Member

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    I don't think the missing driver support for the 4850X2 is a problem with AMD's driver release schedule, I think it's more a case of limited availability and market adoption, making bug fixes and performance improvements for the cards that are made by more than just one manufacturer (even if it is Sapphire) much more important in the overall scheme.
     
  7. Phil Rhodes

    Phil Rhodes Hypernobber

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    See, I might have looked for something like this, because I just sort-of-enjoyed a rather unsatisfactory play-through of Far Cry 2 on a system that wasn't quite up to it.

    Unfortunately I remain confused, and at sea in a world of acronyms and abbreviations, most of which sound like the model number of a Camaro. Can we please have a rundown article on the general state of graphics cards, with a list of current model numbers and what they all mean?

    Wot wun iz best?
     
  8. Mentai

    Mentai New Member

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    Bit-tech does a "what hardware should I buy" once a month, here's January's:
    http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/2009/01/05/what-hardware-should-i-buy-jan-2009/1
     
  9. Phil Rhodes

    Phil Rhodes Hypernobber

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    Yeah, that's fine, but I want to actually understand what all the numbers mean so I can make an informed decision.

    The graphics card manufacturers appear to be deliberately obscuring the performance of their products behind a dense layer of largely fabricated jargon which has no technical meaning.
     
  10. Goty

    Goty New Member

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    ... which is why people like the fine folks here at Bit-Tech do benchmarks for you!
     
  11. warriorpoet

    warriorpoet New Member

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    I think the answer is fairly simple at this point: GTX 280 for less than $300 after rebates. Sure it performs a bit less in scenarios favoring the x2, but it's single card, has better driver support, is quieter by far, burns less power and is a folding monster. Shame they're gone when stock runs out...
     
  12. tejas

    tejas New Member

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    This is the second article that Tim has brought up the shoddy AMD drivers. Like Tim and Derek Wilson from Anandtech, I fail to understand how AMD/ATI can boast about their X2 cards when their drivers have a 2 month lead time to get profiles for new games. I have experienced this with my awful 3870X2 quadfire and 4870CF setup. Both were sold for an SLI GTX285 setup working beautifully!

    Call the GTX295 what you will, it has far superior driver support. End of story.

    Excellent article btw and thank you Tim :)
     
  13. Goty

    Goty New Member

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    NVIDIA doesn't update its drivers to support new games any faster than ATI does, they just release fewer drivers. The fact that NVIDIA doesn't have to worry about profiles for every game is a testament to the design of SLI, not the drivers themselves.

    In my personal experience, I have FAR fewer issues with ATI drivers than with those from NVIDIA.
     
  14. lp1988

    lp1988 Well-Known Member

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    just too bad with the noise, a diffrent cooler and some better driver support, and this would have forced Nvidia to lower prices once again, giving even more competition on the market.

    Is it possible to see a bench for a 4850 (512) in crossfire? currently running one and would like to see how two of these compare to the competition as i am considering a upgrade with another 4850.

    A 4850X2 (2 GB) gives a general idea, however it would be nice to see a dedicated bench.
     
  15. Lepermessiah

    Lepermessiah New Member

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    when will ATI get its act together regarding drivers? They can make or break a cad or any product if it is not properly supported.
     
  16. Tim S

    Tim S OG

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    I've got CrossFired 4850 512s running right now. I'll also run a single card.
     
  17. HourBeforeDawn

    HourBeforeDawn a.k.a KazeModz

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    What drivers are you using for the Crossfire? When you tested the two 4870 1gb in crossfire? Just curious as from 8.10-8.12 there is a lot of issues with crossfire.
     
  18. Tim S

    Tim S OG

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    And the release would barely change anything - we had already waited nearly 3 months for official support while the product has gathered dust on etailers' shelves. Do you, as a consumer, want to wait 3 months for a product you bought (for nearly £300, no less) to be supported properly? We could have reviewed it any point between November and now and said the same.
     
  19. Tim S

    Tim S OG

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    The 8.12 mult-core CPU hotfix will not be rolled into 9.1. It might make it into 9.2... that's the way the driver schedule works, sadly. 9.1 might nulify my point, but then in another way it doesn't because there is still the fact that it's taken three months to get that support. Perfect storm or not, it wouldn't happen with a less rigid and limiting release schedule.

    Nvidia launched the GTX 295 and 285 right after the holiday season and it has managed to provide customers with WHQL certified drivers for those products. Why can't ATI do the same? They've had a few months to get their act together...

    The reason to avoid the segment altogether is not because the GTX 285 is too expensive, it's because the best choice - i.e. the 4850 X2 - sounds like a jet engine and I wouldn't put it anywhere near my machine. There are no custom cooling options available for the 4850 X2 because it's not at all similar to the 4870 X2's PCB layout. In the end you're left with an incredibly noisy card - the loudest I've tested in the last 12 months at the very least - and that's enough to turn most people off.

    If you can put up with the noise, great, go for it... it's a better option than the GTX 285, but I'm still not convinced with the driver support because come next year when major game releases start dropping without driver support for a couple of months, I'm sure there'll be a few frustrated customers around. A strategy that's led by multi-GPU at the high end needs a flexible driver schedule so that drivers can be dropped in the run up to (or days after) any major game release to ensure you can play it at the settings you deserve, not at half speed. As a gamer and enthusiast, I want to play games the day they come out, not a month or so later because I've had to wait for drivers to get my card working properly.
     
  20. Tim S

    Tim S OG

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    No, it's not being over stated. A card that is loud at idle is a noisy graphics card - there is no way around that unless one is trying to justify a purchase. :)

    If you can put up with noise, that's great, but I'm fairly tolerant (my PC is the noisiest in my household and I share a house with two likeminded enthusiasts) and this card was intolerable. Want to watch a dramatic movie on your PC, you've got a wonderful whirring sound in the background. The fact is, the majority of all PC uptime is with your graphics card idling. Unless you fold, of course.

    Take an average week where you play games for 2 hours per day, but spend around 9 hours using their PC each day (these aren't figures plucked out of thin air and are from a reader survey we conducted last year with thousands of responses, fwiw), 75 percent of the average day is idle time for the graphics card. Even if we modify this to account for only evenings and weekends (3 hours in the evenings, of which 2 hours are spent gaming, and 9 hours Saturday/Sunday), there's still 19 our of 33 hours per week where the average bit-tech reader's PC is not playing games... or 58 percent of the time.

    AMD talks about this card a lot in all of its sales and marketing documents... how it's much greater than the GTX 285, etc, etc. That's fine, but since this is the only 4850 X2 on the market, talking about the driver issues and lack of support is very much deserved - it affects the consumer because when a driver promising improvements is dropped, it doesn't work on the card you've purchased because there's no support. It's a three month old issue and we've been waiting to see how it plays out - it's played out too long though.

    In many respects, the driver situation is no fault of Sapphire's, but it is merely delivering a card to market that AMD said would be available shortly after the 4870 X2 launch. By that same rationale, you could argue that panning drivers in any partner card review is unfair - they don't develop the drivers, after all, but they are ultimately a part of the final product being delivered to market. That is why Sapphire is one of AMD's partners because there's a partnership that goes beyond AMD supplying a few GPUs and PCB designs. At the end of the day, a multi-GPU graphics card is made a sucess or failure by its drivers and so AMD is very much involved in the making or breaking of this card.
     
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