HIS and Sapphire Radeon HD 4850 Face Off

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Test System and 3DMark06 Results


e tested all of the graphics cards used in this article on an ASUS Striker II Formula nForce 780i SLI motherboard powered by a Core 2 Duo E6850 dual-core processor and 2GB of low-latency Corsair DDR2 memory. The first thing we did when configuring the test system was to enter their BIOS and set all values to their "optimized" default settings. Then we manually configured the memory timings and disabled any integrated peripherals that wouldn't be put to use. The hard drive was then formatted, and Windows Vista Ultimate and the latest DX10 update was installed. When the installation was complete, we then installed the latest chipset drivers available, and installed all of the other drivers necessary for the rest of our components.  Auto-Updating and System Restore were also disabled and the hard drive was defragmented.

The HotHardware Test System
Core 2 Powered


Motherboard -

Video Cards -

Memory -

Audio -

Hard Drive

Hardware Used:
Core 2 Duo E6850 (3GHz) 

Asus Striker II Formula
nForce 780i SLI chipset

Sapphire Radeon HD 4870
Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD 3870
Diamond Radeon HD 3850
EVGA GeForce 8800 GT OC
PNY GeForce 8800 GTS 512
Gigabyte GeForce 9800 GT
ECS GeForce 9800 GTX+
HIS Radeon HD 4850 IceQ4 TurboX
Sapphire Toxic Radeon HD 4850

2048MB Corsair PC2-6400
2 X 1GB

Integrated on board

Western Digital Caviar SE16

250GB - 7,200RPM - SATAII

OS - 

DirectX -

Video Drivers

Synthetic (DX) -

Synthetic (DX) - DirectX9 -

DirectX10 -
DirectX10 -
OpenGL -

Relevant Software:

Windows Vista Ultimate

DirectX 10

NVIDIA Forceware v177.19 (98xx)
NVIDIA Forecware v175.19 (88xx)
ATI Catalyst v8.9

Benchmarks Used:
3DMark06 v1.0.2
3DMark Vantage
Half-Life 2: Episode 2
Company of Heroes
Enemy Territory: Quake Wars*

* - Custom Test
(HH Exclusive demo)

Performance Comparisons with 3DMark06 v1.0.2
Details: www.futuremark.com/products/3dmark06

3DMark06 is a synthetic benchmark, designed to simulate DX9-class game titles. This version differs from the earlier 3Dmark05 in a number of ways, and includes not only Shader Model 2.0 tests, but Shader Model 3.0 and HDR tests as well.  Some of the assets from 3DMark05 have been re-used, but the scenes are now rendered with much more geometric detail and the shader complexity is vastly increased as well. Max shader length in 3DMark05 was 96 instructions, while 3DMark06 ups that number to 512. 3DMark06 also employs much more lighting and there is extensive use of soft shadows. With 3DMark06, Futuremark has also updated how the final score is tabulated. In this latest version of the benchmark, SM 2.0 and HDR / SM3.0 tests are weighted and the CPU score is factored into the final tally as well.


The two Radeon HD 4850s showcased in this review start off in a virtual tie with only 21 total 3DMarks separating them.  Their collective performance puts them right on par with the GeForce 8800 GTS 512 and overclocked 8800 GT from EVGA, and just ahead of the newer (in name, if not in specs) 9800 GT.  There's still a little room, however, between these cards and the more powerful HD 4870 and 9800 GTX+.   


When it came time to look at the individual shader model scores, the HD 4850s from HIS and Sapphire didn't fare as well in the SM 2.0 test.  Hovering near 5000 points each, the only two cards that were bested here were the ones getting replaced - the HD 3850 and HD 3870 models.  The good news is that in the SM 3.0 testing, the complete opposite held true.  Both cards zipped right to the top, beating out even the GeForce 9800 GTX+, although ultimately still a good deal behind the HD 4870.

Tags:  Radeon, Sapphire, HD, App, 4850, HIS, Radeon HD, SAP, AC, AP, and

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