Articles: Graphics

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Performance-Mainstream Category

It is not that clear in this product category. Nvidia’s solutions are superior at low resolutions, the outdated GeForce 9800 GTX+ being almost as fast as the more advanced GeForce GTX 260 Core 216 and even faster in terms of bottom speed. It seems that the frame rate of Call of Duty: World at War depends on the clock rate of the GPU’s execution and texture-mapping subunits rather than on their amount. The low results of the Radeon HD 4850 agree with our point as this GPU has the lowest clock rate, 625MHz only.

The Radeon HD 4870 1GB catches up with the GeForce 9800 GTX+ at 1680x1050, but Nvidia’s solutions win at 1920x1200 again. The Radeon HD 4850 looks like a clear outsider then as it cannot deliver a playable speed. Although its bottom speed is only 2-3fps lower than the desired minimum, we cannot be sure that it won’t drop even lower in action-heavy scenes.

It is not easy to give a specific recommendation in this product category. Although the GeForce 9800 GTX is ahead of the Radeon HD 4870 1GB, it uses an outdated GPU and may be far inferior to ATI’s card in other games. Moreover, its advantage is not as big as to be felt in practice: just a little higher average frame rate and a comparable bottom speed. In fact, the most difficult choice is between the Radeon HD 4870 1GB and GeForce GTX 260 Core 216. The latter has a somewhat lower bottom speed, but never sinks below playable level even at 1920x1200. And it is also faster than its opponent in many other games. Thus, price must be the decisive factor here. Coming at an official price of $239, the ATI Radeon HD 4870 1GB looks appealing, but the GeForce GTX 260 Core 216 will be preferable if it costs the same or even somewhat more money.

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