Palit Radeon HD 4850 Sonic 512MB - More Benchmarks and Final Thoughts

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

Benchmarking Continued:

As we carry on benchmarking we'll take a look at Devil May Cry 4, Half-Life 2: Episode 2, Track Mania Nations Forever and lastly UT3.  In DMC4, HL2:EP2 and UT3 all settings were set to maximum with TMNF set to High and Very High at 1680x1050 and 1920x1200 respectively.  It's very impressive to see how a sub $200 card can handle games at decent resolutions like 1680x1050 and higher.  I have no doubt that the card would struggle at 2560x1600, but no one buys a $200 card and expects it to render games at native resolution on a $1200 LCD.

 Chart - DMC4  Chart - HL2: EP2

In DMC4, the Palit HD 4850 Sonic 512MB takes the cake at 1280x720 and 1600x1000.  It chaps me that DMC4 is not able to run a "real" resolution above 1600x1000, but even with different drivers, 1680x1050 or 1920x1200 was not available on my system.  We used the odd-ball resolution posted above - which at least is 16:10 aspect ratio.

In HL2:EP2, the Palit trails by a couple of FPS for some reason even though it is clocked faster.  We tested and found the results to be accurate.

Track Mania Nations Forever is a free game that can be yours via the Steam network.  It is a fun single player racing game based on completing challenges against a clock and it has a very decent multi-player mode as well.  It looks great and can bring a system to its knees with all the details turned up.

 Chart - TMNF
 Chart - UT3

TMNF is pretty much a tie and is too close to call with less than a FPS separating the winner from the loser.  UT3 favor the Palit card though at a mere 2FPS.  You wouldn't notice this in a game at all.

 

 

Final Thoughts:

One thing we haven't touched on is overclocking and temperatures and the overclocking left me a bit disappointed.  Using the Overdrive feature of the Catalyst drivers, the card was able to reach an overclock of 725/1040; a very nice boost up from the stock speed - at least on the core.  However, part-way through testing, the system suddenly rebooted.  I lowered the clocks and set off to test again - same thing.  I could get a stable 695/1010 out of the card, but this yielded so little performance increase that I didn't bother to include the benchmark results in this review.  It seems that the core of the GPU is holding things back as the memory could be increased without artifacting, but any major increase to the core rendered the system unstable.

With that in mind, the cooling Palit used on this card is much better than the single-slot cooling solution from HIS.  The HIS card idled in Windows at 72C and topped out right around 100C.  You could boil water on the back of this card.  The Palit card however idled around 40C and topped out at 64C during testing.  This is much more manageable and not nearly as scary.  My only beef with the cooling though is that even though the PCI slot bracket is slotted, the fan doesn't exhaust hot air outside the case.  All of the toasty warm air from this card is left inside the case to be exhausted by the case ventilation.

All-in-all the Palit HD 4850 Sonic 512MB card is a very solid card.  It has a decent cooling solution, better power regulation and is much quieter than a stock card at full-load.  The performance is typically above a reference card (as it should be with higher clock speeds). This is our first Palit card on the bench and I can clearly see their dedication to quality, performance and their ability to engineer a card built better than a reference card.  This dedication to R&D will make them a name to watch as they release more of their own tweaked products.

Pros:

  • Dual-slot cooler provides significantly lower temps and quieter cooling
  • 3-phase power is more stable and should provide longer life (less RMA)
  • Pre-overclocked without voiding warranty

 

Cons:

  • Dual-slot cooler doesn't exhaust hot air from the system
  • Sample didn't overclock well

 

 BCCRating

Top Pick

 

I'd like to thank Palit for sending over this card for us to review.  If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to post them in the forum at the "Comments" link below.