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ATI RADEON HD 4850 512MB

2.5 times the shaders on the example of 4 graphics cards.

July 10, 2008



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AMD (ATI) has been bested by NVIDIA for too long. The company used to manufacture unbalanced products, it was forced to cut prices to sell them. And now its engineers have finally fixed a number of mistakes in the architecture and stuffed 800 unified processors into the new core (instead of 320 in the 38xx family).

To all appearances, the locust years of 2005-2007 made them invent a better architecture. So the curve of ATI-NVIDIA confrontation has reached a new phase, when NVIDIA is forced to adapt to the current situation and cut prices.

Yep, on the eve of RADEON HD 48xx, NVIDIA announced about dropping prices for GeForce 9800 GTX from 299 USD to 199! And about the launch of the overclocked 9800 GTX+ for $229. They were really scared by the 4850. So the expensive 9800 GTX will now bring less profits.

Today we shall examine this new card from ATI (AMD), which has scared NVIDIA so much.

We'll examine not only the reference card, but also four cards from AMD partners. However, they are not different, just copies of the reference card.

Graphics cards


Reference ATI RADEON HD 4850 512MB, Gigabyte GV-R485-512H-B 512MB, HIS RADEON HD 4850 512MB, MSI R4850-72D512 512MB, PowerColor RADEON HD 4850 512MB
  • GPU: RADEON HD 4850 (RV770)
  • Interface:xpress x16
  • GPU frequencies (ROPs/Shaders): 625/625 MHz (nominal - 625/625 MHz)
  • Memory frequencies (physical (effective)): 1000 (2000) MHz (nominal - 1000 (2000) MHz)
  • Memory bus width: 256bit
  • Vertex processors: -
  • Pixel processors: -
  • Unified processors: 800
  • Texture processors: 40 (BLF/TLF)
  • ROPs: 16
  • Dimensions: 220x100x16 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).


Reference ATI RADEON HD 4850 512MB, Gigabyte GV-R485-512H-B 512MB, HIS RADEON HD 4850 512MB, MSI R4850-72D512 512MB, PowerColor RADEON HD 4850 512MB

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

Qimonda memory chips (GDDR3). These memory chips are designed for the maximum frequency of 1000 (2000) MHz.



Comparison with the reference design, front view
Reference ATI RADEON HD 4850 512MB Reference card ATI RADEON HD 3870
Gigabyte GV-R485-512H-B 512MB
HIS RADEON HD 4850 512MB
MSI R4850-72D512 512MB
PowerColor RADEON HD 4850 512MB


Comparison with the reference design, back view
Reference ATI RADEON HD 4850 512MB Reference card ATI RADEON HD 3870
Gigabyte GV-R485-512H-B 512MB
HIS RADEON HD 4850 512MB
MSI R4850-72D512 512MB
PowerColor RADEON HD 4850 512MB

There is apparently no need to cardinally change the PCB from RADEON 3850, because memory bus width is the same. That's why the 4850 PCB is principally identical. There are some differences, of course. For example, the layout of memory chips is strictly rectangular now - two lines at 90°. The new core certainly required some changes in the power supply circuit. But the PCB layout hasn't changed principally, so the 3850 and 4850 cards look alike.

It's a photo of the core, which contains 800 shader processors.



The die was made on Week 19, that is in early May, 2008.

Graphics cards of this family are equipped with built-in audio codec. So this audio stream is then transmitted to HDMI (via a DVI-to-HDMI adapter). So if this function is important to you, make sure the bundle includes this adapter.

Also note that the graphics card uses one 6-pin power connector.

The card has TV-Out with an original connector. You will need a special bundled adapter to output video to a TV set via S-Video or RCA.

Analog monitors with D-Sub (VGA) interface are connected with special DVI-to-D-Sub adapters. The bundle also includes DVI-to-HDMI adapters (these graphics cards support video/audio transfer to HDMI receivers), so there should be no problems with such monitors.

Maximum resolutions and frequencies:

  • 240 Hz Max Refresh Rate
  • 2048 x 1536 x 32bit x85Hz Max - analog interface
  • 2560 x 1600 @ 60Hz Max - digital interface (all Dual-Link DVIs)

What concerns MPEG2 playback features (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%.

What concerns HDTV, a review is available here.


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