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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.

Unreal Tournament III

As odd as it may seem, every single game we currently use for our graphic card benchmarking is a sequel or an entry in a series of games, including this one. The original Unreal Tournament launched in late 1999, and since then, it has become a stature with GPU benchmarking. Similar to Call of Duty, the UT series of games is one that manages to deliver spectacular graphics, but doesn’t require a bleeding-edge machine to see them.

UTIII offers a variety of modes and levels, and has some of the most interesting and lush environments ever seen in a video game. If I could choose where I wanted to die, it would most likely be in the Gateway level, which you can see in the screenshot below. This level is one of the most interesting in the game as it’s essentially three levels in one, linked together with portals – and it’s hard to beat the feeling of scoring a portal frag.

The game might be one of the best-looking currently on the PC, but it doesn’t offer robust in-game settings like some others in our suite. Because of this, we are forced to enable anti-aliasing in the control panel of the current graphics card. Both ATI’s and NVIDIA’s drivers allow us to choose 4xAA, so that’s what we stick with throughout all of our testing.

Once again, the HD 4850 X2 performs exceptionally, and in this particular case, it performs very closely to the HD 4870 X2, thanks in part to ATI’s latest drivers.

Graphics Card
Best Playable
Avg. FPS
Palit GTX 280 1GB
2560×1600, Max Detail, 4xAA
72.148 FPS
Palit HD 4870 X2 2GB
2560×1600, Max Detail, 4xAA
55.479 FPS
Sapphire HD 4850 X2 2GB
2560×1600, Max Detail, 4xAA
53.366 FPS
Palit 9800 GX2 1GB
2560×1600, Max Detail, 0xAA
78.909 FPS
Palit HD 4870 512MB Sonic
2560×1600, Max Detail, 0xAA
60.901 FPS
Palit HD 4870 512MB
2560×1600, Max Detail, 0xAA
57.617 FPS
ASUS 9800 GTX 512MB
2560×1600, Max Detail, 0xAA
48.874 FPS
Gigabyte 9600 GT 512MB
2560×1600, Max Detail, 0xAA
43.781 FPS
ASUS HD 4850 512MB
2560×1600, Max Detail, 0xAA
42.228 FPS

NVIDIA’s GTX 280 took the crown quite easily here, but our top three all offered good performance and they were the only three to allow the game to be played at max resolution with anti-aliasing while retaining smooth gameplay.