We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
Graphics cards Reviews
15,669 Reviews

AMD ATI Palit HD 4850 review

From around £130 inc VAT

Manufacturer: AMD

Our Rating: We rate this 4 out of 5

AMD's plan for the AMD ATI Palit HD 4850? Create an easily scalable GPU that can stack up on a single card, so if you need more horsepower, you have an affordable upgrade path.

AMD's plan for the AMD ATI Palit HD 4850? Create an easily scalable GPU that can stack up on a single card, so if you need more horsepower, you have an affordable upgrade path.

The battle beyond the graphics

Both GPU makers continue pursuing a card that does more than just paint a pretty picture. By releasing its CUDA SDK (software developers' kit), nVidia achieved a good head start in tasking the GPU with nongraphical tasks. That means it can promote this balanced computing model.

The general idea: you shouldn't need to blow money on a top-notch CPU when you can partner a midlevel one with a good graphics card. The results in some tests right now are fascinating - encoding video files at a pace at least twice as fast, or just being able to manipulate photos (and 3D images) faster.

Don't count out AMD. The company can now pull off many of the same tasks with some of the same programs. One telling example: Adobe was on hand at both nVidia and AMD demos to show how its new version of Photoshop will work better thanks to GPU acceleration.

While spokespeople are unable to say which graphics platform works better, the program at least provides one potential apples-to-apples test down the road. For now, the best shot for a fair comparison will be the full AMD-friendly client for the distributed-computing software called folding@home, when it's ready. That way, we can see how the software behaves on nVidia, AMD, and CPU-bound tests. Until then, it's a lopsided battle in nVidia's favour.

Then there's physics. nVidia may heavily tout the £250-plus GTX 200's built-in physics processors, but we're not yet seeing many developers using PhysX (that'll change soon, though). On the other end of the spectrum, AMD hedges its bets with partnerships. AMD has been talking about its GPU doing more than just graphics for ages, and recently the company announced that it is working with Havok's physics engine.

Is it just us, or is it interesting that the Intel-acquired physics software maker is now in bed with the other big CPU maker as well? Combine that with the fact that nVidia makes a strong case for not buying top-end CPUs and we're seeing a potential royal rumble brewing: do both Intel and AMD see nVidia as a common foe? But we digress.

NEXT PAGE: down to testing: the numbers game > >

See also:

Sapphire Radeon HD 4870 review

Index:


  1. AMD ATI Palit HD 4850 review
  2. The battle beyond the graphics
  3. The numbers game
  4. AMD vs nVidia, in the Test Centre

Visit PC Advisor's dedicated Games website to download hundreds of the latest titles, to read gaming news and reviews and to pick up tips and discuss your favourite games in the popular PC Advisor Games forum

AMD ATI Palit HD 4850 Expert Verdict »

800 stream processing cores (identical to the ATI Radeon HD 4870)
stock GPU core clock speed of 625MHz
512 MB of GDDR3 memory rated at 2 gigabits/second
single-slot PCI Express 2.0 configuration with a maximum board power of 110 watts
  • Overall: We give this item 8 of 10 overall

AMD manages to score solid hits with the AMD ATI Palit HD 4850, but ultimately the contest with nVidia is still too close to call. And so the fight goes yet another round.

  • Sapphire ATI Radeon HD 4850 Toxic Edition review

    Sapphire ATI Radeon HD 4850 Toxic Edition

    With the Sapphire ATI Radeon HD 4850 Toxic Edition, Sapphire delivers an enhanced ATI 4850 graphics card with a boosted clock speed and effective Zalman cooler.

  • HIS HD 4850 IceQ 4 TurboX review

    HIS HD 4850 IceQ 4 TurboX

    The HIS HD 4850 IceQ 4 TurboX is HIS' take on the ATI Radeon HD 4850 Toxic Edition, with improved specifications.

  • Sapphire HD 4850 X2 review

    Sapphire HD 4850 X2

    The ATI HD 4850 X2 isn't the newest card on the market, but if you're shopping nearer to the higher end of price levels, the 2GB DDR3 RAM Sapphire HD 4850 X2 really ought to be under consideration.

  • nVidia GeForce GTX 580 review

    nVidia GeForce GTX 580

    The nVidia GeForce GTX 580 takes the crown of “World’s Fastest Graphics Card", sliding ahead of tough competition.

  • HIS Radeon HD 4770 review

    HIS Radeon HD 4770

    Priced at well under £100, the ATI HD 4770 presents surprising competition to the respected 4850 graphics cards.


IDG UK Sites

Black Friday 2014 tech deals UK Live: Best Black Friday deals from Apple, Amazon, Argos, eBay,...

IDG UK Sites

Black Friday feeding frenzy infects the UK

IDG UK Sites

VAT MOSS: Will I be affected by the EU VAT changes? Here are the facts for designers and artists

IDG UK Sites

Black Friday 2014 UK: Apple deals, Amazon deals & Black Friday tech offers