Palit Radeon HD 4850 Sonic Graphics Card

Palit has ramped up the clocks on the HD 4850 and release the card under its Sonic naming scheme. We check it out today.
@ShawnBakerTW
Published Thu, Aug 21 2008 11:00 PM CDT   |   Updated Fri, Sep 18 2020 10:50 PM CDT
Rating: 88%Manufacturer: Palit

Introduction


Palit Radeon HD 4850 Sonic Graphics Card



Now that the HD 4850 has been hanging around for a bit, we're beginning to see more and more companies jump on the aftermarket bandwagon. The latest company to do this is Palit, bringing the highly popular HD 4850 to the also highly popular Sonic line.

The HD 4850 has had so much going for it from the word go; its aggressive pricing and excellent performance gave users everything they wanted. It wasn't all rosy, though; while the use of a single slot cooler was handy, it caused the card to run extremely hot.

This isn't the first time we've mentioned this; we've always said that while the single slot cooler has run the card very hot, it's never caused any problems. But as we've also said a number of times, it doesn't mean we don't want it to run cooler. So, along with overclocking the card, Palit have also strapped a new cooler onto the card.

Let's have a quick look at what's going on in the package department before we check out the new cooler and the speeds that Palit have opted for on the HD 4850 Sonic.

The Package




Palit have gone with a new box design this time around; it's slightly bigger, giving our old mate FroBot a bit more room to stretch his legs. There isn't actually a while lot going on with the front of the box, apart from FroBot in the middle we also have a bunch of logos running down the left side of the box.

Palit Radeon HD 4850 Sonic Graphics Card


Across the bottom we have a sticker that mentions the model. Also mentioned are some of the features like 512MB of GDDR3 memory, dual dual-link DVI, PCI Express 2.0 and a few other things along with mention that a minimum of a 500 Watt PSU should be used.

Palit Radeon HD 4850 Sonic Graphics Card


Turning the box over, we have some of the main specifications for the card in nine different languages. Across the bottom we also have the Palit logo along with their email address and website.

Palit Radeon HD 4850 Sonic Graphics Card


Moving inside the box, we don't have a whole lot going on. Paper wise, we find ourselves with only a quick install guide and alongside that we also have a driver CD.

Palit Radeon HD 4850 Sonic Graphics Card


Power wise, we have a 6-pin to 8-pin power connector which definitely came as a surprise alongside a DVI to VGA connector and a DVI to HDMI connector.

The Card




With the package out of the way, it's time to move onto the card. Upon pulling it out of the box, I have to admit I was surprised not to see the standard gold dual-slot cooler that we're so used to seeing from Palit over the last 12 months.

Palit Radeon HD 4850 Sonic Graphics Card


Instead, we have a black cooler with an aluminum heatsink sitting in the background. In the middle we have a fan and if you look you can see two heat pipes that run up from the center of the cooler and out the top, then down the sides of the heatsink.

Palit Radeon HD 4850 Sonic Graphics Card


What was interesting is when we took the time to take pictures of the card and moved to the power connector area, we find an 8-pin connector present instead of the standard 6-pin PCI Express one that is used on the standard HD 4850. Fortunately, Palit have been kind enough and smart enough to include a convertor in the package, as we saw.

Palit Radeon HD 4850 Sonic Graphics Card


Continuing to look around, we have our two Crossfire connectors across the top of the card which isn't anything out of the ordinary.

Palit Radeon HD 4850 Sonic Graphics Card


The I/O side of things gives us the two Dual-Link DVI connectors as we saw mentioned on the front of the box. In between them we have a TV-Out port. The card is of course a dual-slot one thanks to the larger cooler and the other slot is used as an exhaust to let the hot air escape.


Specifications

With the card carrying the Sonic naming scheme, like we have already mentioned it does mean it comes overclocked out of the box. The core has moved up from 625MHz to 685MHz while the 512MB of GDDR3 memory comes clocked in at 2000MHz DDR.

Test System Setup and 3DMark06


Test System Setup

Processor(s): Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 @ 3GHz (333MHz x 9)
Cooling: Corsair Nautilus500 (Supplied by Corsair) with Arctic Cooling MX-2 Thermal Compound (Supplied by Arctic Cooling)
Motherboard(s): GIGABYTE X48-DQ6 (Supplied by GIGABYTE)
Memory: 2 X 1GB Kingston PC6400 DDR-2 3-3-3-10 (KHX6400D2ULK2/2G) (Supplied by Kingston)
Hard Disk(s): Seagate 250GB 7200RPM SATA-2 7200.10 (Supplied by Seagate)
Operating System: Windows XP Professional SP2, Windows Vista SP1
Drivers: ATI Catalyst 8.7


Today we'll take the time to see what kind of performance increase we get against the stock HD 4850 from Sapphire.


3DMark06

Version and / or Patch Used: Build 110
Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com
Product Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com/products/3dmark06/
Buy It Here





3DMark06 is the worldwide standard in advanced 3D game performance benchmarking. A fundamental tool for every company in the PC industry as well as PC users and gamers, 3DMark06 uses advanced real-time 3D game workloads to measure PC performance using a suite of DirectX 9 3D graphics tests, CPU tests, and 3D feature tests.

3DMark06 tests include all new HDR/SM3.0 graphics tests, SM2.0 graphics tests, AI and physics driven single and multiple cores or processor CPU tests and a collection of comprehensive feature tests to reliably measure next generation gaming performance today.


Palit Radeon HD 4850 Sonic Graphics Card


Straight away, we can see a slight boost in performance across the board.

Benchmarks - 3DMark Vantage


3DMark Vantage

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.0.1
Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com
Product 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.


Palit Radeon HD 4850 Sonic Graphics Card


The gains become a bit more noticeable under the intensive 3DMark Vantage.

Benchmarks - PT Boats: Knights of the Sea


PT Boats: Knights of the Sea

Version and / or Patch Used: Benchmark Demo
Developer 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.


Palit Radeon HD 4850 Sonic Graphics Card


Palit Radeon HD 4850 Sonic Graphics Card


PT Boats also manages to see a slight bump in performance across all resolutions.

Benchmarks - CINEBENCH R10


CINEBENCH R10

Version and / or Patch Used: Release 10
Developer 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).


Palit Radeon HD 4850 Sonic Graphics Card


Since the overclock doesn't really help under CINEBENCH, we see the two cards perform extremely close to each other.

Benchmarks - World in Conflict


World in Conflict

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.0.0.5
Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in Test
Developer 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.


Palit Radeon HD 4850 Sonic Graphics Card


Palit Radeon HD 4850 Sonic Graphics Card


Under WIC we see the best gains are seen at 1920 x 1200. Under that we don't see too much of a difference.

Benchmarks - Crysis


Crysis

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.2.1
Timedemo or Level Used: Custom time demo
Developer 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.


Palit Radeon HD 4850 Sonic Graphics Card


Like our other tests, Crysis also manages to see a small bump in performance.

Benchmarks - Unreal Tournament 3


Unreal Tournament 3

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.1
Timedemo 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.


Palit Radeon HD 4850 Sonic Graphics Card


UT 3 follows the trend with increases across all resolutions, thanks to the overclock on the HD 4850 Sonic from Palit.

Benchmarks - High Quality AA and AF


High Quality AA and AF

Our 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

Palit Radeon HD 4850 Sonic Graphics Card


Turning on AA and AF under 3DMark06, we see the Palit HD 4850 Sonic ahead coming out ahead.


World In Conflict

Palit Radeon HD 4850 Sonic Graphics Card


Palit Radeon HD 4850 Sonic Graphics Card


The overclock doesn't help us get any extra performance under WIC with AA and AF on.

Benchmarks - 3DMark06 - XP


3DMark06

Version and / or Patch Used: Build 110
Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com
Product Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com/products/3dmark06/
Buy It Here





3DMark06 is the worldwide standard in advanced 3D game performance benchmarking. A fundamental tool for every company in the PC industry as well as PC users and gamers, 3DMark06 uses advanced real-time 3D game workloads to measure PC performance using a suite of DirectX 9 3D graphics tests, CPU tests, and 3D feature tests.

3DMark06 tests include all new HDR/SM3.0 graphics tests, SM2.0 graphics tests, AI and physics driven single and multiple cores or processor CPU tests and a collection of comprehensive feature tests to reliably measure next generation gaming performance today.


Palit Radeon HD 4850 Sonic Graphics Card


3DMark06 under Windows XP continues to show the HD 4850 Sonic come out ahead at all resolutions when compared to the stock model.

Benchmarks - CINEBENCH R10 - XP


CINEBENCH R10

Version and / or Patch Used: Release 10
Developer 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).


Palit Radeon HD 4850 Sonic Graphics Card


We again see under CINEBENCH, the difference between the two cards is extremely minimal.

Benchmarks - World in Conflict - XP


World in Conflict

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.0.0.5
Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in Test
Developer 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.

Palit Radeon HD 4850 Sonic Graphics Card


Palit Radeon HD 4850 Sonic Graphics Card


Like our Vista WIC tests, we see the overclock gains at 1920 x 1200 with 1600 x 1200 getting a small bump and 1280 x 1024 showing no difference.

Benchmarks - Unreal Tournament 3 - XP


Unreal Tournament 3

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.1
Timedemo 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.


Palit Radeon HD 4850 Sonic Graphics Card


Across the board we see some good gains from the overclocked Palit HD 3840.

Temperature and Sound Tests


Temperature Tests



With the TES 1326 Infrared Thermometer literally in hand we found ourselves getting real-world temperatures from the products we test at load (3D clock speeds).

There are two places we pull temperature from - the back of the card directly behind the core and if the card is dual slot and has an exhaust point we also pull a temperate from there, as seen in the picture.


Palit Radeon HD 4850 Sonic Graphics Card


The better dual-slot cooler helps keeps temps at a much more reasonable level.


Sound Tests



Pulling out the TES 1350A Sound Level Meter we find ourselves quickly yelling into the top of it to see how loud we can be.

After five minutes of that we get a bit more serious and place the device two CM away from the fan on the card to find the maximum noise level of the card when idle (2D mode) and in load (3D mode).


Palit Radeon HD 4850 Sonic Graphics Card


Noise levels between the stock and aftermarket option Palit have gone for are almost nothing.

Power Consumption Tests






Using our new PROVA Power Analyzer WM-01 or "Power Thingy" as it has become quickly known as to our readers, we are now able to find out what kind of power is being used by our test system and the associated graphics cards installed. Keep in mind; it tests the complete system (minus LCD monitor, which is plugged directly into AC wall socket).

There are a few important notes to remember though; while our maximum power is taken in 3DMark06 at the same exact point, we have seen in particular tests the power being drawn as much as 10% more. We test at the exact same stage every time; therefore tests should be very consistent and accurate.

The other thing to remember is that our test system is bare minimum - only a 7,200RPM SATA-II single hard drive is used without CD ROM or many cooling fans.

So while the system might draw 400 watts in our test system, placing it into your own PC with a number of other items, the draw is going to be higher.


Palit Radeon HD 4850 Sonic Graphics Card


The Palit does manage to suck a bit more juice out of your power supply, but nothing we would worry about.

Final Thoughts




There's no doubt that we're going to see more and more HD 4850s with aftermarket cooling hit the market. The Palit is a nice little option that comes with a decent cooler which helps keeps temps down whilst offering a decent overclock on the core.

We don't doubt performance could have been better. With other brands seeing as high as 2200MHz DDR on the memory, Palit have chosen to keep things more conservative this time around, leaving the memory at an even 2000MHz DDR, which results in a very small overclock.

The good thing about Palit is the aggressive pricing, which means you can actually get your hands on one of these cards for similar prices, or sometimes cheaper than what some brands charge for the stock model, which makes it quite an attractive purchase.

Overall, the card gives us a nice little boost in performance while also managing to keep those pesky temps at bay when compared to what the stock cooler does. We would have liked to have seen a bit more done with the memory clock, though, to help it stand out a little bit more in the performance department.

What do TweakTown awards and ratings mean? Click!

PRICING: You can find products similar to this one for sale below.

USUnited States: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.com

UKUnited Kingdom: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.co.uk

AUAustralia: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.com.au

CACanada: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.ca

DEDeutschland: Finde andere Technik- und Computerprodukte wie dieses auf Amazon.de

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.

We openly invite the companies who provide us with review samples / who are mentioned or discussed to express their opinion. If any company representative wishes to respond, we will publish the response here. Please contact us if you wish to respond.

Related Tags

Newsletter Subscription

Latest News

View More News

Latest Reviews

View More Reviews

Latest Articles

View More Articles