Feeds
75%

Sapphire Radeon HD 4850 X2 dual-GPU graphics card

One card, two very fast graphics chips

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

Moving on, the Sapphire 4850 X2 has a core speed of 625MHz with an effective memory speed of 1986MHz. It zipped through all the tests and compared very favourably with the GTX 280 in 3DMark and less well in Far Cry 2. We had the quality settings in Far Cry 2 set to Very High, which is a stern test but the 4850 X2 pulled through. The power draw was higher than GTX 280 in Windows at 165W but under load the figure was the same.

Power Draw Results

Sapphire HD 4850 X2 -Power Draw Results

Power draw in Watts
Nb. the two 4870 X2 scores use, respectively, the Catalyst 8.551.1.71310 and 8.11 drivers

We used the Catalyst 8.551.1.71310 driver to overclock the Sapphire to a core speed of 680MHz and memory speed of 2370MHz. This raised performance by ten per cent in 3DMark and Far Cry on DirectX 9 although this advantage dropped to a mere one frame per second in Far Cry 2 when we used DirectX 10.

The 4870 X2 uses the same technology as the 4850 X2 except that the core speed is higher - 750MHz - and the effective memory speed is a colossal 3600MHz due to the nature of GDDR 5 memory. This extra speed delivered 20-30 percent more performance in 3DMark compared to 4850 X2, and in Far Cry 2 the 4870 X2 delivered a few extra frames per second over 4850 X2. The power draw of the 4870 X2 is scarily high: 210W in Windows and 350W under load.

Just for larks, we hooked up the 4850 X2 and 4870 X2 in CrossFireX which cranked up 3DMark performance by a small amount. However, it clobbered performance in Far Cry 2, which pretty much sums up our experiences with CrossFire over the years.

The Sapphire HD 4850 X2 was horribly noisy because the drivers were only controlling one fan while the other fan roared away at full speed. Sapphire tells us that it will be releasing an updated Bios that will fix the noise issue in conjunction with a revised driver.

Verdict

The Sapphire HD 4850 X2 delivers the same performance as a single GTX 280 but unfortunately the horrendous dollar exchange rate means that they also cost the same. And that makes the Sapphire look far too complicated when it is compared to the Nvidia alternative.

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

75%

Sapphire Radeon HD 4850 X2 dual-GPU graphics card

Sapphire rolls out a Radeon HD 4850 X2 with two GPUs and 2GB of memory. And a price tag north of £300.
Price: £317 RRP

More from The Register

next story
So, Apple won't sell cheap kit? Prepare the iOS garden wall WRECKING BALL
It can throw the low cost race if it looks to the cloud
Samsung Gear S: Quick, LAUNCH IT – before Apple straps on iWatch
Full specs for wrist-mounted device here ... but who'll buy it?
Apple promises to lift Curse of the Drained iPhone 5 Battery
Have you tried turning it off and...? Never mind, here's a replacement
Now that's FIRE WIRE: HP recalls 6 MILLION burn-risk laptop cables
Right in the middle of Burning Mains Man week
Reg man looks through a Glass, darkly: Google's toy ploy or killer tech specs?
Tip: Put the shades on and you'll look less of a spanner
HUGE iPAD? Maybe. HUGE ADVERTS? That's for SURE
Noo! Hand not big enough! Don't look at meee!
AMD unveils 'single purpose' graphics card for PC gamers and NO ONE else
Chip maker claims the Radeon R9 285 is 'best in its class'
Tim Cook in Applerexia fears: New MacBook THINNER THAN EVER
'Supply chain sources' give up the goss on new iLappy
Just in case? Unverified 'supersize me' iPhone 6 pics in sneak leak peek
Is bigger necessarily better for the fruity firm's flagship phone?
prev story

Whitepapers

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup
Learn why inSync received the highest overall rating from Druva and is the top choice for the mobile workforce.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.