Palit Radeon HD 4850 Sonic 512MB - Closer Look and HIS Comparison

Article Index
Palit Radeon HD 4850 Sonic 512MB
Features and Specifications
Closer Look and HIS Comparison
Test System and Benchmarking
More Benchmarks and Final Thoughts

Closer Look:

At first glance, the Palit HD 4850 Sonic 512MB looks like a 4870 series card as it has a two-slot cooler, an 8-pin power connector and some other design features that typically belong to a higher class or performance series of card.  Don't be fooled though, Palit is not a company to simply let the reference design get them by.  When a card is released from the manufacturer, partner companies don't have any choice but to use the reference design as NVIDIA and AMD keep things locked down to reference design only standards.  After the initial launch however, some models are available for design modifications and that is where Palit wants to make a name for themselves.  They are not simply content to use the reference design if there is room for improvement.  These improvements can provide more reliable service, better thermal management and ultimately better performance and a longer life.

Before we get into our comparisons with a reference card, let's take a quick peek at some closer pictures of the Palit HD 4850 Sonic.

 DVI and Vents
DVI and Vents
8-Pin Power
8-Pin Power
HSF Mouting
HSF Mouting

 

Like almost every other card on the market the 4850 Sonic has two DVI ports and a connector for S-Video/Composite Video output.  Unlike other 4850 cards this one packs in an 8-pin connector though.  What worries me a bit is the 2GHz DDR3 that doesn't have a heatsink on it though.  While the fan will certainly blow air on the GDDR3 chips, small ramsinks might improve cooling - we'll see when it comes to testing though.

HSF Removed
HSF Removed

 

Palit has used a copper base in their cooling solution with a couple of heatpipes that whisk the heat away from the GPU core and provide better cooling that single-slot versions of this card as we'll see in a bit.

 

 

HIS vs Palit - 4850:

I do realize that HIS has a custom IceQ series card that has faster clocks than the reference card we have on our bench, but the point of this comparison is to compare a reference card with Palit's tweaked Sonic.

  Reference 4850 HIS 4850 Palit 4850 Sonic
Memory 512MB GDDR3 512MB GDDR3 512MB GDDR3
Memory Clock Speed 2000 MHz 1986 MHz 2000 MHz
Memory Bandwidth 64 GB/s 62.1 GB/s 64 GB/s
Core Clock Speed 625 MHz 625 MHz 685 MHz
Stream Processors
800 800 800
Memory Interface 256-bit 256-bit 256-bit
Fabrication Process 55 nm 55 nm 55 nm

 

Side By Side
Side By Side

 

Take a look at the differences in these cards as we cover some key points on them before we jump into testing.

 Palit Power Regulation
Palit Power Regulation
HIS Power Regulation
HIS Power Regulation
   
 Palit Core
Palit Core
HIS Core
HIS Core
   
 Palit DDR
Palit DDR
 HIS DDR
HIS DDR

 

As mentioned earlier, Palit uses 3-Phase power regulation in order to provide cleaner, more stable power to the GPU core.  Reference design calls for 2-Phase.  The GPU Core on the Palit is marked 0824 - NG9817.00 and the HIS core is marked 0819 - NG9693.00.  This doesn't mean much of course, but the Palit GPU seems to be from a later batch.  Palit also uses Samsung 825 K4J52324QE-BJ1A GDDR3 which is rated to run at 1.9v at a speed of 1000MHz (2GHz DDR).  HIS opts for Qimonda 0810 HYB18H512321BF-10 which is also rated at 1.9v at 1000MHz (2GHz DDR) clock speeds.