Sapphire 4850×2 2GB PCIe Graphics Card

IntroductionSapphite logo

Dual GPU setups used to be the makings of a geeks wet dream but now they are common place among high end gaming setups. Having a dual GPU used to mean having two cards with a bridging cable across the two cards which linked them together enabling them, theoretically at least, to work in tandem. ATI however, took a different direction and placed two GPU’s on the same PCB with an on board crossfire chip, first seen with the previous generation 3870×2. The last incarnation of this format was with the range topping 4870×2 monster. Upon it’s release back in August it obliterated all the competition but it’s Achilles heel was the price. At the time ATI promised a cheaper version based upon the 4870’s sibling, the 4850, due for release around September but due to delays and backroom indecision on whether to ship the GPU with one or two gigabytes of memory the release date was put back. Today however we can finally reveal the latest GPU from ATI under the Sapphire banner, the 4850×2.

Based on a 55 nanometre fabrication, the RV770 core pushes the transistor count to 956 million, including 800 Stream Processors. Couple this with a 256-bit memory controller, DX10.1 and Shader model 4.1 support, cooled by a twin fan/dual heatsink design all wrapped up in a sleek aluminium frame and Sapphire appear to have a giant killer on their hands.

Here’s what Sapphire had to say:

SAPPHIRE Technology – the leading innovator of ATI-based graphics solutions for the PC – is now introducing the SAPPHIRE HD 4850 X2 – an exclusive new DUAL GPU graphics accelerator based on the successful HD 4850 graphics processor and delivering industry leading gaming performance at a breakthrough price level from its more cost-effective memory architecture.

Designed by SAPPHIRE, the new HD 4850 X2 comprises two complete HD 4850 graphics systems on a single PCI-Express card connected by an on-board PCI Express Gen 2 bridge chip. Each GPU has 800 stream process units and a 256-bit memory interface driving 1GB of GDDR3 memory, making a total of 2GB on-board memory. Four Dual Link DVI outputs are provided as well as TV-Out. This provides a choice of Multi-monitor operation or CrossFire mode in which 3D applications such as games use both on-board GPU’s together to deliver a single accelerated output on the Primary display. In this mode the SAPPHIRE HD 4850 X2 delivers industry leading levels of performance and achieves previously unavailable frame rates in games even at high resolutions with features enabled.


The following specification was taken directly from Sapphire:

 Core Clock: 625 MHz & Stream Processors: 2 x 800
 Memory Clock: 993 MHz, 1986 Mbps
 Interface: PCI Express 2.0 x16 bus interface
 Memory: 2x 1024MB /2x256bit GDDR3 memory interface
 Cooling: Dual Slot Dual Fan Active Cooler with Fan Speed Control
 Connections: HDMI compliant via dongle
 Audio: 7.1 Audio Channel Support
 Features: Microsoft® DirectX® 10.1 support, Shader Model 4.1 support
 Output:  Dual DL-DVI-I x 4 +HDTV

Let’s take a look at the card itself…