XFX ATI 4000 Series Round Up
Published: 14th April 2009 | Source: XFX | Price: £130 - £330 |
Packaging & Appearance
A far cry from the green packaging of old, the XFX ATI packaging is typical of what you would expect of a card from the 'red side' to look like, red and black. The HD4850 packaging is very compact in size, being little longer in length than the card itself. The main emblem on the front is reminiscent of a World War two mine look set to explode with the identification of the card set underneath the expectant detonation. With 'just' 512MB of memory it will be interesting if this lack of memory has an effect on the cards performance against the other 1GB and 2GB cards we have on test today.
The rear of the box shows off the graphics cards key features which include 1 teraFLOP of GPU power, DX10.1 compatibility and CrossfireX capability to name a few.
The left side of the box describes some of the features unique to ATI such as ATI Avivo which allows HD gaming, video and photos to be exploited along with universal connectivity to TV's. HDMI with 7.1 surround is also available with this card. The opposite side informs us of the power requirements which are 450W with a 75Watt PCIe 6-pin connector or a recommended 550Watt PSU with 2x 6-pin PCIe connectors. Those astute among you will notice that this card is the XXX edition meaning it's overclocked past the stock speed. The only indication that this is such a card is a XXX sticker placed across one side. The remainder of the box is exactly the same as the stock 4850 512MB card.
Opening the small box, we are presented by a compartmentalized design with the removable top section containing the accessories and the bottom part, the card itself. The accessories included are what you would expect to see with both DVI/VGA and DVI/HDMI adapters available. A quick start and full installation guide are also included should you be unsure of how to install the device. XFX have also thoughtfully included a 6 pin PCIe-Molex dongle ensuring that even if your PSU does not meet the PCIe specification then you might still be in luck should it be able to provide enough amperage over Molex connectors.
Rather than go with the tried and tested (and for the most part noisy) stock ATI cooler, XFX have designed their own branded plastic top, covering an aluminium heatsink. While the design is very boxy in appearance and a little cheap to the touch, the cooler should ensure that it doesn't matter which colour scheme your PC has, this card won't look out of place. Great, for those who care about such things but for those that don't, rest assured it also appears to be quieter than the stock cooler.
The rear of the card has red DVI ports which are a nice addition and a break away from the plain old white ones we're used to seeing. Shame then, that nobody will see them unless the have a fetish for looking at the rear of your PC. The fan seems to be a standard affair found on ATI and Nvidia cards, drawing air in from the top and the exhausting to the rear.
The XFX HD4850XXX only requires a single PCIe 6-pin cable which is neatly hidden at the far end of the GPU. Personally I prefer this location rather than being on the cards side as it makes for much easier cable routing and a tidier PC but I digress. The card is also Crossfire X compatible allowing you to fit three cards together vie the Crossfire tabs.
Again, the sides of the card a very unobtrusive in appearance. Nobody could accuse the card of being a trend setter as it is very discreet by design, something we are not used to seeing at OC3D on an ATI card but anything has to be better than cheap looking green PCB's and stickered heatsink covers. The card is distinctive yet understated, perhaps more 'grown-up' one might say than some we have seen in the past.
All in all, not a bad looking card and the package, while not exactly ground breaking nor the best we have come across, it is certainly more than adequate. I was hoping that XFX would be using a similar style packaging technique that they use with their Nvidia cards as they are very well packed and leaders in this department but alas ATI fans will have to settle for a little less.
Let's take a look at the HD4870XXX...