iXBT Labs - Computer Hardware in Detail

Platform

Video

Multimedia

Mobile

Other

RADEON HD 4850 / 4870 from Palit and PowerColor

Successful Mid & High-End products from AMD partners.

November 26, 2008



<< Previous page

     Next page >>

This review is a bit original, because it briefly describes two products (as they have already been reviewed before), and focuses strongly on one product.

You may wonder why should we repeat what we've already said. Palit cards examined today are exact copies of the previously tested products from Gainward (except that 4850 Sonic has a different cooler than Gainward's 4850 Golden Sample). As Gainward is a subsidiary of Palit now, it's hard to tell which company exactly designed these cards: Palit or Gainward. And engineers from which company worked on these projects.

We think it was Palit. Frankly speaking, it's unusual for a company to own two trademarks and manufacture the same graphics cards under different titles, creating competition inside. Why can't they niche their brands to different market segments? Or dedicate them to different GPU manufacturers?

For example, PC Partner created a subsidiary (Sapphire) to manufacture graphics cards on AMD (ATI) GPUs. Besides, PC Partner has recently founded Zotac to manufacture similar products on NVIDIA chips.

From this angle, Palit acts strangely enough.

As for the third product, a card from PowerColor, it will be examined separately. Test results will be devoted to this card alone, because all test results of Palit cards were published in this review devoted to Gainward counterparts. Replace "Golden Sample" with "Sonic", "Gainward" with "Palit", and you'll get the same situation.

Graphics cards


Palit RADEON HD 4870 Sonic 512MB
  • GPU: RADEON HD 4870 (RV770)
  • Interface: PCI-Express x16
  • GPU frequencies (ROPs/Shaders): 775/775 MHz (nominal -- 750/750 MHz)
  • Memory frequencies (physical (effective)): 1000 (4000) MHz (nominal -- 900 (3600) MHz)
  • Memory bus width: 256bit
  • Vertex processors: -
  • Pixel processors: -
  • Unified processors: 800
  • Texture processors: 40 (BLF/TLF)
  • ROPs: 16
  • Dimensions: 210x100x33 mm (the last figure is maximum thickness of the graphics card)
  • PCB color: red
  • RAMDACs/TDMS: integrated into GPU
  • Output connectors: 2xDVI (1xDual-Link/HDMI, 1xSingle-Link), Display Port
  • VIVO: not available
  • TV-out: not installed
  • Multi-GPU operation: CrossFire (Hardware)
Palit RADEON HD 4850 Sonic 512MB
  • GPU: RADEON HD 4850 (RV770)
  • Interface: PCI-Express x16
  • GPU frequencies (ROPs/Shaders): 700/700 MHz (nominal -- 625/625 MHz)
  • Memory frequencies (physical (effective)): 1100 (2200) MHz (nominal -- 1000 (2000) MHz)
  • Memory bus width: 256bit
  • Vertex processors: -
  • Pixel processors: -
  • Unified processors: 800
  • Texture processors: 40 (BLF/TLF)
  • ROPs: 16
  • Dimensions: 210x100x32 mm (the last figure is maximum thickness of the graphics card)
  • PCB color: red
  • RAMDACs/TDMS: integrated into GPU
  • Output connectors: 2xDVI (Dual-Link/HDMI), TV-out
  • VIVO: not available
  • TV-out: integrated into GPU
  • Multi-GPU operation: CrossFire (Hardware)
PowerColor RADEON HD 4870 PCS 512MB
  • GPU: RADEON HD 4870 (RV770)
  • Interface: PCI-Express x16
  • GPU frequencies (ROPs/Shaders): 800/800 MHz (nominal -- 750/750 MHz)
  • Memory frequencies (physical (effective)): 950 (3800) MHz (nominal -- 900 (3600) MHz)
  • Memory bus width: 256bit
  • Vertex processors: -
  • Pixel processors: -
  • Unified processors: 800
  • Texture processors: 40 (BLF/TLF)
  • ROPs: 16
  • Dimensions: 240x100x33 mm (the last figure is maximum thickness of the graphics card)
  • PCB color: red
  • RAMDACs/TDMS: integrated into GPU
  • Output connectors: 2xDVI (2xDual-Link/HDMI), TV-out
  • VIVO: not available
  • TV-out: integrated into GPU
  • Multi-GPU operation: CrossFire (Hardware)


Palit RADEON HD 4870 Sonic 512MB
PowerColor RADEON HD 4870 PCS 512MB

Each graphics card has 512 MB of GDDR5 SDRAM allocated in eight chips on the front side of the PCB.

Qimonda memory chips (GDDR5). These memory chips are designed for the maximum frequency of 1000 (4000) MHz.

Palit RADEON HD 4850 Sonic 512MB

The card has 512 MB of GDDR3 SDRAM allocated in eight chips on the front side of the PCB.

Samsung memory chips (GDDR3). 0.8 ns memory access time, which corresponds to 1200 (2400) MHz.



Comparison with the reference design, front view
PowerColor RADEON HD 4870 PCS 512MB Reference card ATI RADEON HD 4870
Palit RADEON HD 4870 Sonic 512MB
Palit RADEON HD 4850 Sonic 512MB Reference card ATI RADEON HD 4850


Comparison with the reference design, back view
PowerColor RADEON HD 4870 PCS 512MB Reference card ATI RADEON HD 4870
Palit RADEON HD 4870 Sonic 512MB
Palit RADEON HD 4850 Sonic 512MB Reference card ATI RADEON HD 4850

Apparently only PowerColor's RADEON HD 4870 is a reference card (purchased from AMD and equipped with a custom cooler). Other products are designed by Gainward or Palit (again, it's hard to say by whom exactly, as both companies are parts of the whole). Pay attention to 4870 Sonic. This card has a switch to enable different BIOS versions, e.g. the Turbo mode enables overclocked BIOS. Remember that there's no point in using the switch when the computer is already on. The card must start up with the BIOS selected with this switch.



Card's length is no less important. The reference 4870 card is longer than 230 mm, and its power connectors are installed in its rear, so you may have installation issues, especially if power cables are stiff. But in this case the card is significantly shorter, and power connectors are located on top facing upwards, which makes them very easy to use. PowerColor's card, in its turn, is based on the reference design and thus suffers from inconvenient power connector location and excessive length.

As for 4850 Sonic, it has a unique shorter design. Note that the card has an 8-pin power connector instead of a 6-pin one, so make sure the bundle includes a proper adapter.

All cards but 4870 Sonic have original TV-Out interfaces that require a special adapter to output video to a TV set via S-Video or RCA.

An analog monitor with a D-Sub (VGA) interface can be connected by means of a special DVI-to-D-Sub adapter. Also bundled are DVI-to-HDMI adapters (these graphics cards support video/audio output to HDMI receivers), so there should be no problems with such monitors.

Maximum resolutions and frequencies:

  • 240 Hz maximum refresh rate
  • 2048 x 1536 x 32bit @ 85Hz Max - analog interface
  • 2560 x 1600 @ 60Hz Max - digital interface (all Dual-Link DVIs)

As of MPEG2 playback (DVD-Video), we analyzed this issue in 2002. Little has changed since that time. CPU load during video playback on modern graphics cards does not exceed 25%.

As of HDTV, a review is available here.

All of these cards require additional power sources, so each is bundled with a molex to 6-pin (or 8-pin) adapter, even though all modern PSUs are equipped with such cables.


Write a comment below. No registration needed!


Next page >>



blog comments powered by Disqus

  Most Popular Reviews More    RSS  

AMD Phenom II X4 955, Phenom II X4 960T, Phenom II X6 1075T, and Intel Pentium G2120, Core i3-3220, Core i5-3330 Processors

Comparing old, cheap solutions from AMD with new, budget offerings from Intel.
February 1, 2013 · Processor Roundups

Inno3D GeForce GTX 670 iChill, Inno3D GeForce GTX 660 Ti Graphics Cards

A couple of mid-range adapters with original cooling systems.
January 30, 2013 · Video cards: NVIDIA GPUs

Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Surround 5.1

An external X-Fi solution in tests.
September 9, 2008 · Sound Cards

AMD FX-8350 Processor

The first worthwhile Piledriver CPU.
September 11, 2012 · Processors: AMD

Consumed Power, Energy Consumption: Ivy Bridge vs. Sandy Bridge

Trying out the new method.
September 18, 2012 · Processors: Intel
  Latest Reviews More    RSS  

i3DSpeed, September 2013

Retested all graphics cards with the new drivers.
Oct 18, 2013 · 3Digests

i3DSpeed, August 2013

Added new benchmarks: BioShock Infinite and Metro: Last Light.
Sep 06, 2013 · 3Digests

i3DSpeed, July 2013

Added the test results of NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760 and AMD Radeon HD 7730.
Aug 05, 2013 · 3Digests

Gainward GeForce GTX 650 Ti BOOST 2GB Golden Sample Graphics Card

An excellent hybrid of GeForce GTX 650 Ti and GeForce GTX 660.
Jun 24, 2013 · Video cards: NVIDIA GPUs

i3DSpeed, May 2013

Added the test results of NVIDIA GeForce GTX 770/780.
Jun 03, 2013 · 3Digests
  Latest News More    RSS  

Platform  ·  Video  ·  Multimedia  ·  Mobile  ·  Other  ||  About us & Privacy policy  ·  Twitter  ·  Facebook


Copyright © Byrds Research & Publishing, Ltd., 1997–2011. All rights reserved.