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Sapphire Radeon HD4850 512MB Graphics Card Review

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SKYMTL

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Sapphire Radeon HD4850 512MB Graphics Card Review




Product Number: 100242
Price: Click Here To Compare Prices
Warranty: 2 year
Manufacturer's Product Page: SAPPHIRE HD 4850 512MB GDDR3 PCI-E



If you think back to a few years ago (circa 2002 to 2003), ATI was flying high with the release of some of the best graphics cards on the market with the 9800 and 9700-series which were considered to be the crème de la crème at the time. These cards were competing against a somewhat mixed bag in the Nvidia lineup which included the solid 4-series and the lackluster 5-series. At this point you may be wondering why we are talking about relics from a bygone generation in a review about a brand new product. The reason for this is that once again we see a 9-series and a 4-series part vying for our attention and hard earned dollars but this time ATI is marketing their 4800 cards while it is Nvidia with the 9800 name. Neither of these series is geared towards the high end but rather the burgeoning performance class which offers the best possible performance at a palatable price. It is in this $150 to $300 price range that the new battles for market dominance are being fought which not only benefits the consumers but also forces the manufacturers to find new ways to market their products.

Over the last year or so there has been a significant shift away from the high end parts that had long been the staples of any GPU manufacturer. While the margins on these high end parts may bolster the bottom line, the Big Two (ATI and Nvidia) have to contend with a struggling economy, soaring gas prices and a subprime mortgage fiasco in the USA. While none of these economic issues is rooted in the high-tech world, they each contribute to whittle away at the consumer’s purchasing power and with it their likelihood of buying a $700 graphics card. Economics may be an odd thing to be talking about in a graphics card review but in this day and age it takes a huge toll on what can be sold in the current marketplace. So, Nvidia took a gamble with their $650 GTX 280 and brought in a card which performs well enough to take the overall performance crown but ATI has taken a significantly different route with their recent releases. We believe that ATI has priced their cards perfectly for this new market but the proof is in the pudding so to speak and only time will tell if this marketing strategy pays off for them.

The HD4850 is a product which is aimed straight for the throat of Nvidia’s 9800GTX and has actually incited a quick and dramatic response from the boys in green. After the initial performance reports of this card were released, Nvidia quickly knocked nearly $100 off the MSRP of their then $300 GTX so it could compete mono a mono with ATI’s new wunderkind. Not only is the HD4850 seemingly perfectly suited for budget-minded gamers in the $200 price bracket but it also offers a bevy of other features including audio out through HDMI as well as Havok physics support. The more features the better we say.

For this review, long-time ATI board partner Sapphire sent us one of their HD4850 cards to take a look at. Sapphire has been around for longer than many of us can remember and have a history of delivering very affordable cards to consumers even though they are often devoid of any extras. One thing that has always been a plus with Sapphire is that their products have always been widely available here in Canada and abroad which means that if you look at literally any e-tailer, you will find Sapphire cards for sale. Unfortunately, like many other ATI board partners Sapphire believes it is acceptable to offer customers a meager 2-year warranty. While we understand most people will keep their cards for less than a year and while I run the risk of sounding like a broken record, seeing a longer warranty would be nice for once.

All in all, this looks like it could be a banner year for ATI so let’s get this show on the road and give you this review you have been waiting for!!

 
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SKYMTL

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The Current ATI Lineup

The Current ATI Lineup



From the last time we looked at it about a month ago to today, there have been some serious changes in ATI’s lineup. Even though the lower-end stays the same with the HD36xx-series which aren’t included in the chart above, there has been a huge shakeup at the mid to upper end of their product range. To begin with, there have been steep price cuts instituted in order to bring down the price of the HD3870 512MB to a very, very affordable $140 while the HD3850 becomes even more appealing for HTPC users at $110. Meanwhile the HD3870X2 has officially become an End of Life product after meeting with some good success in the enthusiast category.


The past and the present

The new kids on the block are the R770 cards in the guise of the HD4870 and the HD4850. Both of these are priced to move while offering a whooping 800 stream processors where reports indicated that they had only 480. There has also been a ramp in the number of texture units to 40 which should improve performance by leaps and bounds even though the ROPs stay at 16. Both of these GPUs are fabricated using TSMC’s 55nm manufacturing process and feature a bevy of features including HDCP, native HDMI support and DX10.1 compatibility.

No matter how impressive they look on paper, the one thing that stands out about the new cards is the HD4870’s inclusion of the new GDDR5 memory. Some people have said this is a bit of a risk on ATI’s part since using a new technology is a gamble in the extreme when a whole graphics card launch schedule is based off of its proper implementation. Luckily for ATI, from all the information we have it seems like the producers of GDDR5 (Qimonda, Samsung and Hynix) are loving ease by which they can manufacture GDDR5 so supply is not a problem. In addition to this, the fact that there are three manufacturers competing for the market will also drive down prices very quickly.

Meanwhile the, HD4850 makes due with somewhat less impressive specifications but they are nonetheless perfect for the price bracket it is targeting. The GDDR3 memory is naturally clocked quite a bit slower than the lightning-fast GDDR5 on the HD4870 and the core (which is the same as the one used on its bigger brother) gets downclocked quite a bit as well.

All in all, if ATI and their partners can keep the channel stocked with cards we see no problem with both the HD4850 and the HD4870 becoming the cards to have for the next few months.

*Please note that programs like GPU-Z and the Catalyst Control Center will read the memory speed as 900Mhz due to the fact that GDDR5 operates different from all other DDR memory types. Basically, there are two “banks” of memory each operating at 900Mhz SDR (1800Mhz DDR) and these programs will only read one of these banks. The two banks combine for a total of 3600Mhz DDR memory speed.
 

SKYMTL

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A Look at the TeraScale Graphics Engine

A Look at the TeraScale Graphics Engine



Even though the R770 core represents a huge departure from the 600-series of ATI cores, we have really not heard much about what this new architecture entails. In this section we will give you a quick glimpse (since I know you are itching to see benchmarks) into the R700-series cores and the improvements which have been made over previous generations.

In most of the official documentation you will see floating around; AMD is calling this new architecture their “TeraScale” graphics engine. This name alludes to the fact that these new cards can theoretically perform over one trillion floating point operations per second (one teraFLOP) which makes them the first mass market, single GPU products to do so. According to AMD, the ATI TeraScale Graphics engine is all about building in maximum performance, scalability, efficiency and affordability into one package which leads to lower costs for the consumer. Without a doubt this is a very loft goal which has been set by AMD so let’s see how they went about accomplishing it.


The R770 core is based off of a 55nm manufacturing process which means that it is power efficient and should put out a minimum of heat. AMD really has this process working well for them since they were able to pack in nearly a billion transistors (956 million to be exact) onto a die which measures a mere 266mm². For comparison, the overly hot, power hogging GTX 280 core measures a whopping 576mm². This means that ATI can fit more dies onto a wafer which in turn drives down the costs of the R700-series cores.


Welcome to the brave new world of the R770 core. Let’s put some of these complicated diagrams into a bit better context for you since they can get a bit overwhelming some you look at them for anything more than 2.5 seconds. Since we run the risk of this explanation getting overly complicated we will try to keep this short, sweet and in layman’s terms if possible.

Before being processed, the data going through the core gets passed through the Ultra Threaded Dispatch Processor which then prioritizes it towards one or more of the SIMD (Single Instruction, Multiple Data) cores. Each of these 10 cores holds 80 individual stream processors which can then pass off their data to individual texture units. There are additional Render Back-Ends as well but we will discuss these a little later. We can also see (at the extreme right of the diagram) that all the output operations like UVD, display controllers, PCI-E 2.0 bus interface, and Crossfire X support are all controlled by a central on-die hub. This is supposed to help speed up communications between the core and theses low bandwidth using interfaces.


Above we have a diagram picturing the flow of data from the thread scheduler through SIMD cores. As already mentioned, each of these SIMD cores holds 80 individual stream processors which are broken into 10 blocks of 8 processors each.

The data is then passed on to the SIMD’s associated Texture Unit. Each of these texture units contains four Texture Address Processors which process the texture information before handing it off to the main Data bus along with 4 Texture Filter Units, and 16 Texture Samplers which are all accessed through a Texture Decompressor. This layout means streamlined data management across the entire range of core functions.


When we get a bit better look at this hierarchy beyond the texture units, we can see that each of the memory controllers has its own L2 cache while each SIMD has its own associated L1 cache and close to the top of the diagram there is a completely separate Vertex cache. This all leads to a claimed 480GB/s L1 texture fetch bandwidth and 384GB/s bandwidth just between the L1 and L2 cache.


Now we have come to what many figure to be the crowning achievement of this TeraScale architecture. Let’s be honest for a second here; a graphics card could have the fastest GPU in the world hooked up to it but if the memory interface sucks, it will be in for a world of hurt. To help alleviate any memory bottlenecks, ATI completely redid the memory interface design on the R770 so it would be distributed throughout the edges of the chip with its own blocks of render back-ends. ATI also gave each memory controller hub access to its own L2 cache which will further increase the data transfer speeds to and from the memory. This was done in order to take advantage of the massive bandwidth potential that comes with the implementation of GDDR5 onto some R770 cards. So, even though it looks like the HD4850 and HD4870 “only” have a 256-bit interface, because of the bandwidth afforded by this new memory design, it actually acts like a 512-bit interface.

Speaking of these rendering back-ends, they have now been specifically designed to improve upon AA performance which is a welcome change since we all remember how much the R600-series suffered when AA was turned on. This implementation effectively doubles the AA performance when compared to a HD3870.
 

SKYMTL

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Additional R770 Features

Additional R770 Features


It seems like in this brave new world of parallel processing capabilities of GPU cores, both ATI and Nvidia are racing to take advantage of the potential the modern graphics card has locked away within its confines. What we will soon see is a massive increase in the performance of certain applications like video transcoding, Folding and physics calculations. ATI has been on this bandwagon for some time now with their Folding @ home application which first came out for X19xx-series graphics cards, made the jump to the R600 / RV670 cores a few months ago and will soon be move over to the new HD4800-series as well. With their massive number of stream processors, the R770 cards should be able to handle any application thrown at them. Let’s take a look at what ATI has to offer with additional features.


DirectX 10.1


Even though DX10.1 is a minor update to the Vista-exclusive DX10, ATI feels that its implementation will benefit gamers quite a bit in today’s market. Let’s cut right to the chase: DX10.1 doesn’t offer us anything particularly new in terms of outlandishly new features but it does offer new paths for developers to simplify their code which in turn has the potential to increase performance in certain areas. At present, among the “big two” graphics processor manufacturers, ATI is the only one which supports DX10.1

Even though we run the risk of editorializing here we have to say that ATI’s acceptance of the DX10.1 API seems to be the right thing to do in today’s graphics card industry. After seeing first-hand the performance benefits it brings when applying AA to a DX10 environment in games like Assassin’s Creed we can only express disappointment and outright shock that other GPU manufacturers haven’t followed ATI’s lead. Consumers have been left high and dry without any reason to purchase an OS with DX10 for the simple fact that the performance in impact of DX10 is does not justify minor graphical benefits. DX10.1 works to alleviate those performance hurdles by offering developers more options when producing their games. We can only hope that ATI’s present generation cards become widespread enough that more game developers will implement DX10.1 into their titles.


Crossfire X


Up until the HD2900-series was introduced, running more than one ATI card was a clumsy affair which included external cables and more headache than should have been necessary. Then they introduced their very own Crossfire bridge connector and it was all sunshine and roses since daisy chaining two, three or even four cards together became possible. This technology continues today with the HD4800-series cards and AMD has promised that users will get better drivers, quick driver revisions and better industry acceptance among game developers.

The interesting thing about Crossfire is that since their cards are priced the way they are, many users are being enticed into buying a pair of cards. The choice seems very clear to consumers and it goes something like this: two HD4870 cards will put you back about $600 while a single Nvidia GTX 280 will put you back upwards of $650 here in Canada. Add to this the fact that most Intel chipset-based motherboards support and will continue to support Crossfire, the choice seems abundantly clear to enthusiasts. Or at least AMD would like you to think so.


PowerPlay Technology


In ATI’s never-ending quest to offer us the most power savings possible they have introduced something called PowerPlay. This technology allows the Catalyst software to dynamically adjust voltages and core speeds depending on the application it is being used for. This results in less idle power consumption and power being distributed when and where you need it.


Havok Physics


When AMD and Havok announced their partnership to optimize the Havok physics engine to run on ATI hardware, many enthusiasts perked up and listened. Havok Physics has been implemented into a vast variety of games form every single genre the vast majority of the industry’s upcoming blockbuster titles (including Starcraft II) support it. This not only gives ATI’s physics push a massive installed user base but it also guarantees that there will be games with Havok released for years to come. With both ATI and Nvidia firmly entrenched in the war to bring physics processing to a wider market acceptance, we may look back at this point in time as the moment when the renaissance of in-game physics really began.
 

SKYMTL

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Enhancing the Visual Experience

Enhancing the Visual Experience



ATI’s cards have been the staple of people building HTPCs for some time now with features like UVD, HDMI and high-end audio options. With the HD4800-series, AMD are taking things to the next level with some very interesting advances on their already-established technologies which will make these cards even more appealing to HTPC aficionados and regular consumers alike.

To do this they have set before themselves three primary goals: to provide multi-stream HD playback as supported in Blu-Ray 2.0 profiled movies, to improve the visual quality on HD monitors and to accomplish fast video transcoding by taking advantage of the processing power of the R770 core. Considering we have seen in the past how well features like UVD work, any enhancements to already-existing features is more than welcome in today’s quickly changing world of high definition. While we will be going over some of the features ATI has implemented it is just the tip of the iceberg of what is being offered to those of us who use our graphics cards to process HD signals.


UVD 2 – Dual Bitstream Playback


With Blu-Ray finally winning the high definition format wars, manufacturers have taken lightning-quick steps to step up support for the format. One of the many ways AMD is doing this is through full support of the Blu-Ray 1.1 profile and BD Live (profile 2.0). With UVD 2 the R770 processors are able to decode two streams of high definition (H.264, VC-1 and MPEG-2) content in order to give the viewer the picture-in-picture options present in the 1.1 profile. This gives us the capability to watch a movie in large format while having something like an alternate scene or director’s commentary playing in the smaller picture in the corner of the screen.


High Definition Audio & Video through HDMI


HDMI is quickly becoming the standard of choice for high definition movie and audio aficionados. With the HD3800 series AMD supported 5.1 channel audio-out through the HDMI connector but with the HD4800-series, they have taken things one step further by offering full 7.1 channel output. This means the these new cards will have support for AC3, DTS, Dolby True-HD and DTS HD formats with a full 6.144 Mbps bit rate and 192KHz sample rate along with up to 24 bits/sample. Add to this native HDCP support and true 1080P output and what we have here is a true multimedia powerhouse.

Did we mention that the R770 core has native support for Display Port as well? Well, it does but it is up to the board partner’s discretion whether they add the necessary output connector.


Video Transcoding


In their presentations, AMD has stressed the importance of the amount of processing power their stream processors bring to the table in various applications including video transcoding. Through CyberLink’s upcoming Power Director 7, users will be able to simultaneously transcode multiple 1080P videos up to 19 times faster than they would if they were using a dual core processor. Coupled with the low power consumption of the HD4800-series processors, the possibility of using this feature in numerous video encoding and decoding applications is virtually boundless.
 

SKYMTL

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Packaging & Accessories

Packaging & Accessories


Please note that it has come to our attention that there are two versions of this Sapphire card. One version includes the accessory bundle we are showing here today but the other DOES NOT contain the software bundle. Please confirm with your retailer of choice which product they are stocking.


The package Sapphire uses for this card is somewhat generic but we happen to love an understated black box much more than the flashy magna-styled packages some companies use. On the front there is a picture of ATI’s femme fatale Ruby in a somewhat meditative pose along with stickers indicating what is included inside the box. The back shows us the various features of the HD4850 as well as a listing of what is included by way of accessories.


The HD4850 as well as all of the accessories bundled with it are housed with a well-padded brown cardboard box which ensures the card gets the protection it needs. It is then additionally wrapped in an anti-static bag.


There was once a time when Sapphire bundled only the bare necessities along with its cards but those days are long gone. What we have here is an accessory and software package to be proud of. For accessories you get the following:

- VGA to DVI Adaptor
- DVI to HDMI dongle
- HDTV-out cable
- Crossfire bridge
- Instruction Manual
- Case badge

You also get 4 CDs one of which contains Cyberlink Power DVD7 and DVD Suite which you can use to watch and create High-definition movies through the HD4850. You also get a copy of 3DMark06 Advanced and which is called the “Ruby Rom”. More on the Ruby Rom in a bit.


Sapphire has also bundled a full-sized 2GB flash drive in with this card which contains what they call the USB Sampler. We were actually pretty surprised when we opened the package and had this staring at us since a good 2GB USB flash drive goes for a good $25 these days. Let’s get on to the next page where we look at what kind of software is included on this drive and the Ruby Rom.
 

SKYMTL

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USB Software & Ruby ROM

USB Software & Ruby ROM


As we have already mentioned, with the Sapphire HD4850 you get both a USB flash drive sampler and a CD with Ruby’s name all over it. As far as we can tell, both of these are a Sapphire exclusive so let’s see what we get in addition to the extremely complete accessory package.


USB Sampler Software


When you install the flash drive, a Flash menu will immediately pop up which gives you a number of options. All in all, there really isn’t much here other than a few tech demos, a link to Sapphire’s website and a number of wallpapers. The wallpapers aren’t that bad but they are something only a proud owner of a Sapphire GPU would use on a regular basis.


There really isn’t much here that will interest people, the files take up about 400MB on the drive so you can either delete them for a blank 2GB flash drive of move them to a separate folder for future use. Even if there isn’t anything on this drive that blows us away, it is still a free 2GB flash drive that can be put to a literally infinite number of uses.


Ruby ROM


Now we have come to the meat of the software section with the aptly-named Ruby ROM which is chalk full of extras. When the menu opens there are a number of selections we can make; Games, Applications, Screensaver or Wallpaper. Let’s see what the Games and Applications sections holds for us.


In terms of games there are demos of the western FPS Call of Juarez, the free-to-download MMORPG called Dungeon Runners and finally a demo of John Woo’s Stranglehold. Of all these demos, I actually enjoyed playing Stranglehold since even in this shortened form, it is wonderfully addictive. Unfortunately, there aren’t any full games included but we would rather have demos included than some b-list game we would never play.

Applications-wise things are pretty barren with an included interactive screensaver called Earthsim and the nifty Gameshadow service. If you have never heard of it, Gameshadow is a free application which you can set up to keep all your games up to date with patches and hotfixes. It is a lot easier than searching aimlessly for a site which carries the patch you are trying to find and then finding a server that will give you proper download speeds so believe it or not, this is a service I set up on all my test systems.


The final two sections include a single Stranglehold screensaver and number of ATI wallpapers. The screensaver is pretty cool but other than that there really isn’t anything which will catch your attention here.

All in all, the variety of software choices is pretty good and the inclusion of a couple of game demos should keep you busy for a good amount of time. It is interesting to see a company like Sapphire who is usually known for their frugal packaging schemes to include such a complete software package but I guess that stranger things have happened.
 

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A Closer Look at the Sapphire HD4850

A Closer Look at the Sapphire HD4850



The first thing many of you will think when you first look at the HD4850 is how similar it looks to its distant relative: the HD3850. If you do a quick one-take, the heatsink looks the same and even the general layout of the PCB is very similar as well. Speaking of the PCB, ATI has once again used their signature red PCB for this card and carries this color into the fan assembly as well.

Aside form the obvious performance differences; the main thing that differentiates this card from the HD4870 is the fact that it uses a single slot cooler. While this may be great for those of you with a premium on space within your case and on your motherboard, it means that hot air from the heatsink will be dumped right back into your case. Single slot coolers also have a history of underperforming when compared to their dual-slot brethren.


The heatsink is somewhat dominated the single 19-bladed, 60mm fan which is used to draw in cool air before pushing it over the copper fins placed over the core. Sapphire has chosen to go with a classy carbon fiber-like patterned sticker on their card which is actually quite nice considering many ATI cards of late have been sporting stickers with either Ruby or odd looking manga characters.


The rearmost portion of the card is partially covered in what looks like one of those dead-sexy Enzotech ramsinks that water cooling aficionados love to use on their graphics cards. These small copper “towers” are used to disperse the heat generated by the VRM modules they cover.

Unlike the HD4870 which has a pair of PCI-E 6-pin power connectors, the HD4850 consumes less power and therefore only needs only one. This means the engineers were perfectly happy with the 75W a PCI-E 1.1 slot combined with the 75W a 6-pin PCI-E connector are rated to carry in order to power this card.


Looking a bit closer at the layout of the heatsink, we can see that there is a copper runner which runs almost the entire length of the card on one side. Personally, I think this is here to make the heatsink base a bit more rigid but here is a word of advice: this little piece gets bloody hot. Let your card cool down for at least 10 minutes before removing it from your case or you WILL burn yourself.

Instead of directing heat directly towards the back of your case, the heatsink on the HD4850 is slightly curved so its exhaust is directed towards the side, away from the motherboard. This suits us just fine but I would have personally liked to have seen a perforated expansion slot cover included with any card that has a single slot cooler. This would partially alleviate any worries about all the heat getting trapped in no-man’s land within your enclosure.


As with nearly all ATI cards these days, the HD4850 has a double Crossfire connector which can be used to daisy-chain one, two, three or even four of these cards together. Meanwhile, on the backside of the card we get the usual pair of DVI-D connectors as well as the video-out port. Since this card supports full audio and video out through a DVI to HDMI dongle, there really isn’t a reason to include a stand-alone HDMI connector.


There really isn’t much to see on the back of the HD4850 other than the X-shaped hold down plate mounted around the core to make sure the heatsink puts sufficient pressure on the core.


The Sapphire HD4850 is one compact card when compared to both the 9800GTX and the HD4870. It is a mere 9” long which means that it shouldn’t have a problem fitting into most mATX HTPC cases as long as they don’t require low-profile video cards.
 
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SKYMTL

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Under the Heatsink

Under the Heatsink


Please remember that removing the heatsink on this card will void your warranty.


Even though removing the heatsink will make short work of any warranty, the process of taking it off is extremely easy. There are a few screws securing it to the PCB and once these are loosened, it is just a matter of gently wiggling the heatsink free.


The R770 core is surrounded by a metal shim to keep it in place underneath the heatsink and unlike some recent Nvidia cards, there is no IHS to disperse the heat. Rather, the core makes direct contact to the underside of the heatsink which should help speed up heat transfer.

Surrounding the core are the eight GDDR3 modules which are used on this card. On the HD4850 ATI is using Qimonda HYB18H512321BF-10 modules which are laid out in an 8x64MB pattern and are rated to run at 1Ghz (2Ghz DDR) at 2.0V. Considering they are running at 1.986Ghz we don’t expect much in the way of overclocking on stock volts but there have already been some outstanding overclocks achieved on these cards in the short time they have been out.


Where the HD4870 used extremely robust Pulse and Vitec inductors for voltage regulation, the HD4850 needs a bit more mundane components considering the core and memory run at much lower speeds. To this end it is equipped with a quartet of larger inductors each of which is paired up with a set of smaller VRMs. Due to their small size in relation to the heat they produce, it is strongly recommended that you cover all of these components with heatsinks if you are going the aftermarket cooling route.


The underside of the HD4850 heatsink looks much like any other heatsink we have come across other than the fact that it is completely made out of copper. There are thermal pads for the eight ram modules as well as the VRMs closer to the back of the card but there is one thing that really sticks out for us: it looks like there is a mini vapor chamber where the heatsink makes contact with the R770 core.

Regular readers among you may remember our http://www.hardwarecanucks.com/foru...pphire-hd3870-512mb-toxic-edition-review.html where we went into the details of what a vapor chamber is and how it performs when cooling off a graphics card. While their Toxic version had a vapor chamber which ran nearly the entire length of the heatsink, the HD4850 places a 2” x 2” chamber directly above the core. In theory, this will negatively impact the cooling potential of this technology since it really shines when the heat is spread over a wider area and can be distributed to a large number of fins placed near the fan. To be honest with you though, the only way to check if this is an actual vapor chamber is to cut the cooler in half…which we are unwilling to do.


Interestingly, the entire base of the heatsink (except directly over the core contact plate) is covered in a clear plastic that looks to be shrink-wrapped in place. The reason for this is a bit of a mystery to us.
 

SKYMTL

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Test System & Setup

Test System & Setup

System Used

Processor: Intel Core 2 Quad Extreme QX9770 @ 3.852Ghz
Memory: G.Skill 2x 2GB DDR2-1000 @ 1052Mhz DDR
Motherboard: DFI LanParty DK X38 T2R
Disk Drive: Pioneer DVD Writer
Hard Drive: Hitachi Deskstar 320GB SATAII
Fans: 2X Yate Loon 120mm @ 1200RPM
Power Supply: Corsair HX1000W
Monitor: Samsung 305T 30” widescreen LCD
OS: Windows Vista Ultimate x64 SP1


Graphics Cards:

Sapphire Radeon HD4850 512MB (Stock)
Palit Radeon HD4870 512MB (Stock)
EVGA Geforce GTX 280 (stock)
EVGA 8800GT 512MB (stock)
XFX 8800GTS 512MB (stock)
BFG 9800 GTX (stock)
HIS HD3870 (stock)


Drivers:

ATI 4800 Series 5 Beta (release: June 23rd) Public availability: ???
Nvidia 177.41 WHQL (GTX 280)
Nvidia 175.19 WHQL
ATI Catalyst 8.6 WHWL (HD3870)

Due to the unpredictability of some beta drivers in Windows Vista x64, we have decided to only use WHQL drivers for all graphics cards other than the one being tested.


Applications Used:

3DMark06 Professional
3DMark Vantage
Enemy Territory: Quake Wars
Devil May Cry 4 Demo
Crysis
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
PT Boats: Knights of the Sea Demo
Prey
Unreal Tournament III
World in Conflict


*Notes:

- All games tested have been patched to their latest version

- The OS has had all the latest hotfixes and updates installed

- All scores you see are the averages after 4 benchmark runs

- If the game did not support 2560 x 1600 resolution, the closest resolution to that was used
 
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