Radeon HD 4850 In Crossfire at 4GHz

We strap two HD 4850s into the 4GHz IBP rig and see what they're capable of when pitted against the NVIDIA bad boys.
| Jun 18, 2008 at 11:00 pm CDT
Manufacturer: none

Introduction

IntroductionBack to IBuyPower Australia we go. We have intentions of letting the HD 4850s really shine in the 4GHz Q9650 beast that we're becoming quite accustomed to using. I really do wonder if I walked out the front door with it, would they notice?! - One can dream!Later today we will be posting our Sapphire HD 4850 review from our own testbed. For that reason we won't be going into details on the cards here. What we will do is have a quick look the setup and get straight into these benchmarks.Without further ado, let's get stuck into it.

Some System Pictures

Some System Pictures

Test System Setup and 3DMark06

Test System SetupProcessor(s): Intel Core 2 Quad QX9650 @ 4GHz (400MHz x 10)Cooling: Swiftech Apogee GTX Block (CPU) 3x 120mm Radiator, MCP655-B PumpMotherboard(s): GIGABYTE X48-DQ6 Memory: 2 X 2GB OCZ Reaper X 1066MHz DDR-2 Hard Disk(s): Western Digital Velociraptor 300GB 10,00RPM SATAOperating System: Windows Vista SP1Drivers ForceWare 177.34 , Catalyst 6.5 and Catalyst 6.6 BetaWe've got 4GHz of POWAH! Time to compliment it with a pair of HD 4850s and make some magic happen.3DMark06Version and / or Patch Used: Build 110Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.comProduct Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com/products/3dmark06/Buy It Here
3DMark06 is the very latest version of the "Gamers Benchmark" from FutureMark. The newest version of 3DMark expands on the tests in 3DMark05 by adding graphical effects using Shader Model 3.0 and HDR (High Dynamic Range lighting) which will push even the best DX9 graphics cards to the extremes.3DMark06 also focuses on not just the GPU but the CPU using the AGEIA PhysX software physics library to effectively test single and Dual Core processors.
With everyone on an even 4GHz playing field, we can see the HD 4850 cards are able to slightly outperform the GTX 280 offering at a lower price point.

Benchmarks - 3DMark Vantage

3DMark VantageVersion and / or Patch Used: 1.0.1Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.comProduct Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com/products/3dmarkvantage/Buy It Here
3DMark Vantage is the new industry standard PC gaming performance benchmark from Futuremark, newly designed for Windows Vista and DirectX10. It includes two new graphics tests, two new CPU tests, several new feature tests, and support for the latest hardware. 3DMark Vantage is based on a completely new rendering engine, developed specifically to take full advantage of DirectX10, the new graphics API from Microsoft.
Moving to something a bit more intensive, we can see at the lower settings the HD 4850s are able to come out ahead when compared to the GTX 280. Although at X the HD 4850s sit just behind it.

Benchmarks - PT Boats: Knights of the Sea

PT Boats: Knights of the SeaVersion and / or Patch Used: Benchmark DemoDeveloper Homepage: http://en.akella.com/Product Homepage: http://www.pt-boats.net/
PT Boats: Knights of the Sea is a naval action simulator that places gamers in charge of a mosquito fleet of the Allied Forces, Russia or Germany during the height of World War II.Using the latest Direct X 10 technology PT Boards - Knights of the Sea manages to apply a lot of stress to the components of today which in turn gives us quite an intensive benchmark.
Under PT Boats we can see that the HD 4850s do lag a bit behind the GTX 280 in this case. We see the cards get a massive hit at 2560 x 1600.

Benchmarks - CINEBENCH R10

CINEBENCH R10Version and / or Patch Used: Release 10Developer Homepage: http://www.maxon.net/Product Homepage: http://www.maxon.net
CINEBENCH is a real-world test suite that assesses your computer's performace capabilities. MAXON CINEBENCH is based on MAXON's award-winning animation software, CINEMA 4D, which is used extensively by studios and production houses worldwide for 3D content creation. MAXON software has been used in blockbuster movies such as Spider-Man, Star Wars, The Chronicles of Narnia and many more.MAXON CINEBENCH runs several tests on your computer to measure the performance of the main processor and the graphics card under real world circumstances. The benchmark application makes use of up to 16 CPUs or CPU cores and is available for Windows (32-bit and 64-Bit) and Macintosh (PPC and Intel-based).
Under CINEBENCH we can see that the HD 4850s have a good jump on the GTX 280. We also see that the extra card doesn't add any extra performance, it actually takes a hit.

Benchmarks - World in Conflict

World in ConflictVersion and / or Patch Used: 1.0.0.5Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in TestDeveloper Homepage: http://www.massive.se Product Homepage: http://www.worldinconflict.com
World in Conflict is a real-time strategy video game by Massive Entertainment and to be published by Sierra Entertainment for Windows (DX9 and DX10) and the Xbox 360.The game is set in 1989 where economic troubles cripple the Soviet Union and threaten to dissolve it. However, the title pursues a "what if" scenario where, in this case, the Soviet Union does not collapse and instead pursues a course of war to remain in power. It is an intensive new game is sure to put plenty of stress on even the latest graphics cards and we use the built-in benchmarking for our testing.
Against the GTX 280 we can see the HD 4850 in Crossfire perform very close to the GTX 280 offering. Sometimes it sits ahead at some points, and other times just a little behind in both the minimum and average department.

Benchmarks - Crysis

CrysisVersion and / or Patch Used: 1.1Timedemo or Level Used: Custom time demoDeveloper Homepage: http://www.crytek.com/ Product Homepage: http://www.ea.com/crysis/Buy It Here
From the makers of Far Cry, Crysis offers FPS fans the best-looking, most highly-evolving gameplay, requiring the player to use adaptive tactics and total customization of weapons and armor to survive in dynamic, hostile environments including Zero-G.Real time editing, bump mapping, dynamic lights, network system, integrated physics system, shaders, shadows and a dynamic music system are just some of the state of-the-art features the CryENGINE™ 2 offers. The CryENGINE™ 2 comes complete with all of its internal tools and also includes the CryENGINE™ 2 Sandbox world editing system.
Firing up Crysis, we can see that up to 1920 x 1200 the GTX 280 performs only just ahead of the HD 4850. At 2560 x 1600 it sits at twice the speed, though the numbers are still far from playable.

Benchmarks - Unreal Tournament 3

Unreal Tournament 3Version and / or Patch Used: 1.1Timedemo or Level Used: Developer Homepage: http://www.epicgames.com/ Product Homepage: http://www.unrealtournament3.com/Buy It Here
Following the formulae that made Unreal Tournament so great the third installment to the series has hit us recently with better than ever graphics. The games uses the latest Unreal Engine which like most modern day games when maxed out puts the pressure on our lineup of graphics cards.
Moving onto UT 3, we can see at the highest resolution the CF HD 4850 setup comes out ahead while at the lower ones the GTX 280 does sneak ahead. With that said though, we're still getting very playable numbers from the cards.

Benchmarks - High Quality AA and AF

High Quality AA and AFOur high quality tests let us separate the men from the boys and the ladies from the girls. If the cards weren't struggling before they will start to now.3DMark06
Checking out 3DMark 06, we can see the HD 4850 in Crossfire gets a good jump on the GTX 280. It seems that the AA and AF issues ATI/AMD had over the past few generations of cards are finally fixed.World In Conflict
WIC finds both setups performing very similarly with the HD 4850 CF setup of course coming in at about 30% less.

Final Thoughts

Final ThoughtsWhat's great about the HD 4850 isn't just the fact that it offers excellent value for money in Crossfire, but also that the performance you get is the difference between playing games at 1920 x 1200 and not. While the HD 4850 on its lonesome is probably best for gaming at up to about 1680 x 1050, if you really want to up the ante and get some 1920 x 1200 or 2560 x 1600 gaming in, going Crossfire is definitely the right thing to do.What AMD has on its side is the fact that Intel boards are Crossfire compatible, and what enthusiast doesn't have an Intel CPU with a supporting Intel chipset? - While the 700i series of chipsets from NVIDIA are popular, they have nowhere near the market share of Intel. Thanks to the price and the ease of setup, anyone can really get on the Crossfire wagon. And if you find yourself with a system as powerful as the one we've got here today from IBuyPower Australia, that's when the cards will really begin to shine.It looks like NVIDIA really has some competition this time around, and as long as enthusiasts around the world get excited about the new HD 4k series, AMD could really begin to pick up some market share.

Last updated: Apr 7, 2020 at 12:27 pm CDT

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR -

Shawn takes care of all of our video card reviews. From 2009, Shawn is also taking care of our memory reviews, and from May 2011, Shawn also takes care of our CPU, chipset and motherboard reviews. As of December 2011, Shawn is based out of Taipei, Taiwan.

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