Sapphire 4850x2 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 3870x2. The last incarnation of this format was with the range topping 4870x2 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 4850x2.

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...
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Most Recent Comments

27-12-2008, 17:27:12

Awesome card.

You should have also compared it to a Radeon HD 4870x2 to see the difference between the reds.

At 1600x1200, the GTX280 had double the frames of the 4850x2 in Crysis.

More driver problems?Quote

27-12-2008, 17:34:56

Very intresting, can't beleive I'm saying this but the high end ATI cards especialy the 4870x2 are getting more and more tempting and with this card I guess once the drivers are ironed out its likely to be good.

The GTX295 so far hasn't impressed me much, I'd like to have seen a single card solution as in a sucessor to the GTX280 however it's somewhat unfair to jump to conclusions just yet.

So I we will wait and see but judging by the previous 9800 GX2 wich I owned but wasn't overly impressed by, I don't like the layout idea of two cards linked with an internal SLI connector....I'm sure you will be able to give us the low down on that soon enough though any dates on a review webbo???

Good ReviewQuote

27-12-2008, 17:44:22

Due to it being the xmas period we won't have any GTX295's to report on just yet but as the impending release date is expected to be mid/late January I would expect to read a review around that time .Quote

27-12-2008, 17:46:37

will keep an eye outQuote

27-12-2008, 17:59:32

Meh... Noisy, bad driver support (worse than ATi itself... WOW) and about equal performance to the gtx280. Not to mention the fact that 2 cores on one card are harder to custom cool with air.

I was once hoping to go 4850x2, but now the only option I would remotely consider is another 4850 or a gtx260 216.

EDIT: good review though ^^Quote

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