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Sapphire Radeon HD 4850 X2 2GB
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by Rob Williams on January 7, 2009 in AMD-Based GPU

If you game at ultra-high resolutions and want to know where the best bang for the buck can be found in graphics cards, look no further than Sapphire’s dual-GPU HD 4850 X2. At $300, it’s priced-right and offers incredible performance regardless of whether you prefer high anti-aliasing settings or resolutions.

Crysis Warhead

As PC enthusiasts, we tend to be drawn to games that offer spectacular graphics… titles that help reaffirm your belief that shelling out lots of cash for that high-end monitor and PC was well worth it. But it’s rare when a game comes along that is so visually-demanding, it’s unable to run fully maxed out on even the highest-end systems on the market. In the case of the original Crysis, it’s easy to see that’s what Crytek was going for.

Funny enough, even though Crysis was released close to a year ago, the game today still has difficulty running at 2560×1600 with full detail settings – and that’s even with overlooking the use of anti-aliasing! Luckily, Warhead is better optimized and will run smoother on almost any GPU, despite looking just as gorgeous as its predecessor, as you can see in the screenshot below.

The game includes four basic profiles to help you adjust the settings based on how good your system is. These include Entry, Mainstream, Gamer and Enthusiast – the latter of which is for the biggest of systems out there, unless you have a sweet graphics card and are only running 1680×1050. We run our tests at the Gamer setting as it’s very demanding on any current GPU and is a proper baseline of the level of detail that hardcore gamers would demand from the game.

Like all of the other high-end cards on the market, the HD 4850 X2 performs exceptionally with higher-end resolutions, such as 2560×1600. In our top two tests, the card out-performed the GTX 260/216 with ease, and scales well with the performance of the HD 4870 X2.

Graphics Card
Best Playable
Avg. FPS
Palit HD 4870 X2 2GB
2560×1600, Gamer, 0xAA
31.382 FPS
Palit 9800 GX2 1GB
2560×1600, Mainstream, 0xAA
50.550 FPS
Sapphire HD 4850 X2 2GB
2560×1600, Mainstream, 0xAA
49.730 FPS
Palit GTX 280 1GB
2560×1600, Mainstream, 0xAA
46.038 FPS
Palit HD 4870 512MB Sonic
2560×1600, Mainstream, 0xAA
34.471 FPS
Palit HD 4870 512MB
2560×1600, Mainstream, 0xAA
32.973 FPS
ASUS 9800 GTX 512MB
2560×1600, Mainstream, 0xAA
30.840 FPS
ASUS HD 4850 512MB
2560×1600, Mainstream, 0xAA
26.530 FPS
Gigabyte 9600 GT 512MB
1920×1200, Mainstream, 0xAA
31.979 FPS

Although the card offers plenty of power, it was unable to deliver an acceptable gameplay experience using the Gamer setting. Decreasing to Mainstream changed everything, though. If you wanted to use a lower resolution, such as 1920×1200, then Gamer becomes completely playable.