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.
Not a card that has received an awful lot of publicity, the Sapphire HD 4850 X2 is nonetheless a power-packed little number that gives the newer and supposedly more illustrious GeForce GTX 285 a good run for its money. It's an impressive card once out of the box, and its quartet of DVI connectors and pair of (surprisingly loud) fans hint at the power inside.
Slightly irritatingly, the pair of power connectors includes one of the more awkward 8-pin sockets alongside the usual 6-pin - make sure your PSU supports 8-pin connectors before you buy the Sapphire HD 4850 X2.
As in the case of the 4870 X2, the Sapphire HD 4850 X2 consists of two 4850 chips. Sapphire has matched them up with some strong speeds. The Sapphire's core clock speed is identical to the 625MHz notched up by the standalone Gigabyte HD 4850, while the memory clock of 993MHz exceeds the Gigabyte's by 33MHz. Like the 4870 X2, the 4850 uses two 256-bit memory interfaces, while two lots of 800 stream processors make for some potentially exciting visuals.
Like other Radeon cards, the Sapphire HD 4850 X2 has support for DirectX 10.1, although it doesn't share the rather nice PhysX and CUDA features offered in exchange by the nVidia cards.
But such concerns become fairly trivial when you look at the raw speed of the Sapphire HD 4850 X2. It's every bit as fast as (and quite frequently a few frames ahead of) the GTX 285, despite costing a good deal less - almost £50 is the difference. We've reviewed the 2GB version of the 4850 X2, although the 1GB version is also quite nice and, at around £30 less, even better value for money.
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