Conclusions – Radeon HD 4850 Is The Winner
The minimum values can barely be achieved even by the fast graphics chips, but working upwards, the increase in frame rates are considerably higher. The GDDR5 RAM is not a wondrous answer to performance holes caused by anti-aliasing or minimum values, but Assassin’s Creed, Half Life 2: EP2, and World in Conflict do become evened out slightly. The HD 4870 has an almost identical progress to the HD 4850, just at a higher level.
The switch from a Radeon HD 3850 to a 4850 really is worth it. The overall results show an increase of up to 47.5%, while an upgrade from the HD 3870 to HD 4870 achieves a total of 40.6% more frames. If you are happy with a little less 3D performance, then the HD 3850 at $90 is a good buy, and is currently the best in terms of price/performance.
With the Nvidia cards, you need to take a closer look. Changing from a GeForce 8800 GTS 512 to an 8800 GTX or 9800 GTX would be pretty silly, as all three models show very little difference in the overall results. An upgrade from the GeForce 8800 GTS 512 to the GTX 260 would bring a total of around 18% more power, while changing to the HD 4870 would result in a 14% to 15% performance increase. The Nvidia recommendation is the 8800 GT for $120, which holds second place in the price/performance comparison.
Special models with old chips should always be compared against the Radeon HD 4850. A GeForce 9600 GT or 8800 GT, even with 1,024 MB of memory or higher clock rates, is only slightly faster than the new AMD card. A direct price and performance comparison is always worthwhile, as more graphics memory cannot compensate for higher basic 3D performance.
The GeForce GTX 280 is still a little too expensive. At the moment, it is a very powerful 3D beast, which when unleashed, becomes extremely power-hungry. The MSI Superclocked version can achieve a little extra in the higher resolutions, but the overclocked GTX 260 comes very close to the normally-clocked GTX 280.
The clear price recommendation goes to AMD’s Radeon HD 4850. It is quiet, but at the expense of performance versus the other current-generation GPUs. Bear in mind two issues, though. First, the standard design only has a single-slot cooler that gets very warm, which means your PC case needs excellent ventilation. Second, the test values were achieved using a good Core 2 Quad, and the card needs a lot of CPU power to achieve high frame rates. We’re also expecting dual-slot 4850s soon, which might be even more attractive for addressing cooling.
One recommendation goes to the Radeon HD 4870 and the other to the GeForce GTX 260. Both cards produced results too similar for us to single out just one of them. What the HD 4870 gains with its aggressive price, the GTX 260 compensates for via its 3D performance. Both cards have a two slot fan that exhausts heated air out of the case. AMD’s disadvantage is increased power consumption in 2D mode and very high temperatures. Nvidia’s disadvantage is high noise, but for that price, we’re willing to live with it.
Current page: Conclusions – Radeon HD 4850 Is The WinnerPrev Page Evaluation Of The New Generation
Stay on the Cutting Edge
Join the experts who read Tom's Hardware for the inside track on enthusiast PC tech news — and have for over 25 years. We'll send breaking news and in-depth reviews of CPUs, GPUs, AI, maker hardware and more straight to your inbox.
Looks like the results for SLI and Crossfire were switched with the single card results. . .Reply
Not a bad article, really comprehensive.Reply
My one complaint? Why use that CPU when you know that the test cards are going to max it out? Why not a quad core OC'ed to 4GHz? It'd give far more meaning to the SLI results. We don't want results that we can duplicate at home, we want results that show what these cards can do. Its a GPU card comparason, not a complain about not having a powerful enough CPU story.
Oh? And please get a native english speaker to give it the once over for spelling and grammar errors, although this one had far less then many articles posted lately.
No 4870x2 in CF so its the worlds top end Nvidia vs ATI mid to low end.Reply
It'd be a good article if you'd used a powerful enough CPU and up to date Radeon drivers (considering we're now up to 8.8 now), I mean are those even the 'hotfix' 8.6's or just the vanilla drivers?Reply
Version AMD Catalyst 8.6? Why not just say i'm using ATI drivers with little to no optimizations for the 4800's. This is why the CF benchmarks tanked.Reply
at 1280, all of the highend cards were CPU limited. at that resolution, you need a 3.2-3.4 c2d to feed a 3870... this article had so much potential, and yet... so much work, so much testing, fast for nothing, because most of the results are very cpu limited (except 1920@AA).Reply
WTF, hd4850 SHOULD be a lot faster than 9600 GT and 8800 GT even tough they have 1Gig of ramReply
No 4870X2 and 1920 X 1200 max resolution tested. How about finishing the good start of an article with the rest of it...Reply
I agree, the 4870 X2 should have been in there and should have used the updated drivers. Good article but I think you fell short on finishing it.Reply
@pulasky - Rage much? It's called driver issues you dumbass. Some games are more optimised for multicard setups than others, and even then some favour SLi to Crossfire. And if you actually READ the article rather than let your shrinken libido get the better of you, you'll find that Crossfire does indeed work in CoD4.Reply
Remember, the more you know.