Throughout every review, I try to find things that I can report to our readers that I would consider “wrong” with the product. I consider myself a pretty critical person, a trait which seems to be heightened by dollar signs. The greater the price of the item, the harder I look for something wrong. With this Radeon HD 4850 X2 from Sapphire, I struggled to find things that would even be considered a bit “off.”
In the past, I’ve had personal trouble with ATI drivers, and I’m sure I’m not the only one. ATI has addressed this with a fully WHQL driver which is now available for download from AMD.
In using this card, I notice that the fans got pretty loud at times when I was pushing it with a heavy load of my favorite games and benchmarks. Sapphire has addressed that issue with improved fan profiles now that the card is in volume production, making it MUCH more tolerable, even when fully loaded.
For those trying to watch their budget, the HD 4850 X2 even helps out a bit there. When you aren’t pushing the card to the extremes on the virtual battlefields (come on… we can’t game 24/7, can we?), it steps down both the Core and Memory speeds on the dual 4850 GPU’s, reducing the amount of energy your system is consuming.
Ok… I’ll just come right out and say it. I really like this card! For around $300, you get a dual GPU, single PCB solution that answers the call on all of the games and benchmarks I threw at it. With game developers constantly pushing graphics hardware to the limits, the fact that this card supports CrossFireX Technology makes future proofing a breeze. Throw a pair of these in a CrossFire capable motherboard and watch the frame rates fly right off the charts.
Legit Bottom Line: Sapphire’s little brother to the HD 4870 X2 is certainly no “red-headed stepchild.” The HD 4850 X2 is able to hold its own in the 3D games and benchmarks we tested… all while looking good, keeping cool and quiet, and doing it for around $300.