I've never started like that before, but I'm legitimately excited about this review and having the ability to write about it. I, like a lot of people out there had hoped that the HD 4850 was going to be a great card for AMD; competition is good and the last thing we want is for AMD to wither away and NVIDIA to become supreme ruler.
I actually tested the HD 4850 before I finished writing my review on the GTX 280, which turned out to be good news for AMD but bad news for NVIDIA. It completely changed my opinion on the GTX 280 before I had even finished writing. The thing is, the GTX 280 is a good card in the sense of what it's capable of. Such technology as CUDA and PhysX are great inclusions. But I'm a gamer; I want FPS! - I can't sum it up better than that, and the GTX 280 really didn't deliver in that department.
I wrote in my editorial the other day that the HD 4850 in Crossfire wasn't going to bring me fully back into the world of PC gaming, but I think the HD 4870 has the ability to do this. While the performance on the HD 4850 is excellent in Crossfire, it's not loads faster than the GTX 280. That's fine; we didn't expect it to be faster at all simply because of the price. The thing is though, it is, and this is awesome news for people who want what could probably be the absolute best value for money setup we've ever seen - Yes, ever! I said it. However, people with deep pockets will of course prefer to hold out for the HD 4870 due in the first week of July.
The HD 4850 in Crossfire is going to really bring BIG performance to the everyman and women at an excellent price. You can't really ask for much more from a graphics card. FPS talks; there isn't much else to it. Gamers want big numbers for as little money as possible.
It's been a while since I wrote an intro this big, and it's because like I said, I'm legitimately excited about this product. We've got a pair of Sapphire cards here with us today; so before we get into the benchmarks, let's just have a look at the package and the card itself.