It's been one of those long nights, the type where you don't really sleep but rather nap here and there. Normally such nights are brought on by things like Nehalem, or NVIDIA's GT200 launch, but last night was its own unique flavor of all-nighter.

On Monday, AMD had a big press event to talk about its next-generation graphics architecture. We knew that a launch was impending but we had no hardware nor did we have an embargo date when reviews would lift, we were at AMD's mercy.

You may already know about one of AMD's new cards: the Radeon HD 4850. It briefly appeared for sale on Amazon, complete with specs, before eventually getting pulled off the site. It turns out that other retailers in Europe not only listed the card early but started selling them early. In an effort to make its performance embargoes meaningful, AMD moved some dates around.

Here's the deal: AMD is launching its new RV770 GPU next week, and just as the RV670 that came before it, it will be available in two versions. The first version we can talk about today: that's the Radeon HD 4850. The second version, well, just forget that I even mentioned that - you'll have to wait until the embargo lifts for more information there.

But we can't really talk about the Radeon HD 4850, we can only tell you how it performs and we can only tell you things you would know from actually having the card. The RV770 architectural details remain under NDA until next week as well. What we can tell you is how fast AMD's new $199 part is, but we can't tell you why it performs the way it does.

We've got no complaints as we'd much rather stay up all night benchmarking then try to put together another GT200 piece in a handful of hours. It simply wouldn't be possible and we wouldn't be able to do AMD's new chips justice.

What we've got here is the polar opposite of what NVIDIA just launched on Monday. While the GT200 is a 1.4 billion transistor chip found in $400 and $650 graphics cards, AMD's Radeon HD 4850 is...oh wait, I can't tell you the transistor count quite yet. Let's just say it's high, but not as high as GT200 :)

Again, we're not allowed to go into the architectural details of the RV770, the basis for the Radeon HD 4800 series including today's 4850, but we are allowed to share whatever data one could obtain from having access to the card itself, so let's get started.

Running GPU-Z we see that the Radeon HD 4850 shows up as having 800 stream processors, up from 320 in the Radeon HD 3800 series. Remember that the Radeon HD 3800 was built on TSMC's 55nm process and there simply isn't a smaller process available for AMD to use, so the 4800 most likely uses the same manufacturing process. With 2.5x the stream processor count, the RV770 isn't going to be a small chip, while we can't reveal transistor count quite yet you can make a reasonable guess.

Clock speeds are also fair game as they are reported within GPU-Z and AMD's Catalyst control panel:

That's a 625MHz core clock and 993MHz GDDR3 memory clock (1986MHz data rate). We've got more stream processors than the Radeon HD 3870, but they are clocked a bit lower to make up for the fact that there are 2.5x as many on the same manufacturing process.

  ATI Radeon HD 4850 ATI Radeon HD 3870
Stream Processors 800 320
Texture Units I can't tell you 16
ROPs 16 16
Core Clock 625MHz 775MHz+
Memory Clock 993MHz (1986MHz data rate) 1125MHz (2250MHz data rate)
Memory Bus Width 256-bit 256-bit
Frame Buffer 512MB 512MB
Transistor Count it's a secret 666 million
Manufacturing Process TSMC 55nm TSMC 55nm
Price Point $199 $199

 

The rest of the specs are pretty straightforward, it's got 512MB of GDDR3 connected to a 256-bit bus and the whole card will set you back $199. The Radeon HD 4850 will be available next week, and given that we've already received cards from 3 different manufacturers - we'd say that this thing is going to be available on time.
 

8-channel LPCM over HDMI
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  • pwnedbygary - Sunday, July 06, 2008 - link

    This card is absolutely a BEAST at folding. Now that standford U. has released the GPU2 Client for XP/2003 (im running it on Vista however) it can complete a 10,000,000 piece workunit in about 2-3 hours. I'd like to see the PS3 do THAT hehe.

    Heres a screenshot: http://i47.photobucket.com/albums/f198/pwnedbygary...">http://i47.photobucket.com/albums/f198/pwnedbygary...
    Reply
  • marone - Tuesday, June 24, 2008 - link

    ATI to Nvidia: Im at ur base, ste@ling your customers Reply
  • Matrixfan - Tuesday, June 24, 2008 - link

    Hello! Please excuse me if it is obvious, but what kind of fps figures are in the test? Do these figures represent minimum or average fps numpers? Reply
  • flexy - Monday, June 23, 2008 - link

    truly, truly amazing. A high-end card which you can get or $149 at BB.

    NV..eat this. I applaud AMD this time after some years of disappointment since we didnt see anything exciting after 9700/9800...but this card will be a killer. Price/Performance is actually unreal.
    Reply
  • jamstan - Monday, June 23, 2008 - link

    I find it odd that a 1000watt OCZ power supply wasn't big enough when the manufacturers only recommend a 550watt PSU for 2 4850s in CF? Sounds like that 1000watt PSU has a bad rail or something. Reply
  • HOOfan 1 - Monday, June 23, 2008 - link

    It is complete HOGWASH.

    As I stated elsewhere, the card can pull NO MORE THAN 75W from the PCI-E socket and NO MORE THAN 75W from its single 6pin PCI-E connector. Two of them can draw no more than 300 Watts. The OCZ EliteXstream uses a single 12V rail so there can be no excuses of over current shutting the PSU down. The PSU is also good for another 660Watts of 12V power....that could power a few peltiers and tons of fans and Harddrives.

    It is sad to think that some people will read this article and actually believe they need a $200+ 1200W PSU to run dual HD4650, when a $100 Corsair VX550 would do.
    Reply
  • solog - Monday, June 23, 2008 - link

    Why would the manufacturers claim 550W if it were nowhere near enough? Derek Wilson stated that the load draw wasn't stressing the cpu, ram and hard drive. But if you factor those in they still aren't anywhere close to 1000 watts (or the 1200 watts that they claim is really needed to run it!)


    Maybe someone else should redo the power consumption test with different power supplies, including 550W units that are known to be functional. Anyone else see any review that claims anything like this?
    Reply
  • BigDaddyCF - Monday, June 23, 2008 - link

    Yes you could sat that
    "While it is true that two RV770s can outperform a single GT200 in many cases, you could also make the argument that two GT200s could outperform anything that AMD could possibly concoct."
    However concocting that dual GT200 solution will cost you
    $640 x 2 = $1280
    that's what I'd call the lunatic fringe of gamers, and it has to be a small portion of the market.
    Reply
  • jhb116 - Sunday, June 22, 2008 - link

    For the official review - can we get the real sound numbers? Also - with the power - is the 4850's power saving features enabled?

    I'm also looking for this type of info when you get the GTX+ review(s). Is any further info on the Hybridpower features - last time I read - it seemed this feature wasn't working?

    Could be game changing for either competitor if they got this type of feature to work. I'm willing to sacrifice a bit of performance to keep my system somewhat green during downtime/web surfing.
    Reply
  • Bobattack - Sunday, June 22, 2008 - link

    While this is a preview of the 4850 and I'm sure a lot of us can't wait to see how well the 4870 will compare. The test scores don't match up between THIS review (June 19) and the GTX 280 review (June 18) but your hardware stats are exactly the same.

    Bioshock 1920x1200

    Card 08.18 08.19 (ATI 4850 preview)
    GTX 260 69.0 50.4
    9800GTX 64.6 42.3
    ATI 3870 64.6 41.0

    But I looked at the chart again and noticed the problem while typing this.

    The WRONG screen res. is in the grid! (Also some numbers don't match from the BASIC chart to the detailed multi res chart)
    So you have 1280x1024/ 1600x1200 / 1920x1200, which wrong.
    It should be 1600x1200 / 1920x1200 / 2560 x 1600!

    Its a preview, and it was kind of last minute, so its understandable.
    Reply

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