Feeds
75%

Sapphire Radeon HD 4850 X2 dual-GPU graphics card

One card, two very fast graphics chips

Security for virtualized datacentres

Review The thinking behind the ATI Radeon HD 4870 X2 seems quite clear. One 4870 and a bunch of GDDR 5 is the basis for a decent graphics card that costs £200-240 but lacks the grunt to take on the GeForce GTX 280. Join two 4870s together on a single card and you have the "fastest gaming graphics card in the world", allegedly.

As an added bonus the £399 price is marginally cheaper than buying two individual 4870s.

Sapphire HD 4850 X2

Sapphire's HD 4850 X2: four DVI-I ports, anyone?

The Radeon HD 4850 X2 follows the same blueprint by joining two 4850s on a single graphics card, but it’s a different proposition. The 4870 X2 was manufactured by AMD and marketed by its partners, while the 4850 X2 is made by the partners themselves. To date, this Sapphire card is the only 4850 X2 we’ve seen and we suspect that the strength of the dollar will kill off plans by some other companies to follow it.

The problem is that a 4850 X2 with 1GB of DDR 3 will sell for the equivalent of $369. The 2GB version is $419. In a sane and righteous world, we’d be looking at UK prices of £219 and £249, respectively, that compare quite favourably with a 1GB 4850 at £135 and a 2GB model at £165. Unfortunately, however, you can expect the two Sapphires to go on sale at £270 and £317, which is the same price as two individual 4850 cards.

There's a superficial similarity between the Sapphire 4850 X2, AMD's 4870 X2 and Nvidia's GeForce GTX 280: all three cards are double-slot designs that are very long. The 4870 X2 and GTX 280 measure 267mm in length, while the Sapphire is a tad longer, at 285mm. The Sapphire design department has clearly been hard at work, and while the 4870 X2 has a humongous weight of 1218g the Sapphire comes in at a sprightly 764g. To put that in context the GeForce GTX 280 weighs 908g.

Sapphire HD 4850 X2

Two fans make card light

The GTX 280 and 4870 X2 each use a single cylindrical 70mm fan that blows air the length of the card until the hot air exhausts through the vented bracket. In the case of the 4870 X2, the heatsink is a slab of copper, which explains the weight of the card, but Sapphire has chosen to install an aluminium heatsink on each of the 4850 GPUs, with a pair of 75mm fans to keep everything cool. They are the sort of coolers that you use on a CPU. The heat exhausts inside the PC case, so you may well need to consider some additional case cooling as the Sapphire draws 165W in Windows and 280W during a gaming session.

The black shroud you see in the photos is a piece of curved aluminium that pretties up the card and helps to keep cables out of the fans.

New hybrid storage solutions

More from The Register

next story
Apple iPhone 6: Missing sapphire glass screen FAIL explained
They just cannae do it in time, says analyst
Half a BILLION in the making: Bungie's Destiny reviewed
It feels very familiar - but it's still good
Oh noes, fanbois! iPhone 6 Plus shipments 'DELAYED' in the UK
Is EMBIGGENED Apple mobile REALLY that popular?
Apple's big bang: iPhone 6, ANOTHER iPhone 6 Plus and WATCH OUT
Let's >sigh< see what Cupertino has been up to for the past year
Huawei ditches new Windows Phone mobe plans, blames poor sales
Giganto mobe firm slams door shut on Microsoft. OH DEAR
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Apple's SNEAKY plan: COPY ANDROID. Hello iPhone 6, Watch
Sizes, prices and all – but not for the wrist-o-puter
Get your Indian Landfill Android One handsets - they're only SIXTY QUID
Cheap and deafening mobes for the subcontinental masses
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.