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Palit HD4850 Sonic Review

Price: $169.99


Right now the number of video cards to choose from is astonishing, with more and more coming online every week it seems. The HD4850s have been around for a few months now and the reference cards have been tested and retested. Now we can get to the cards the manufacturers build themselves. Sapphire has the Toxic series of cards and Palit has the Sonic series. One of the benefits of a non reference card is that the heatsinks used are usually far superior to those offered on the reference based cards. As you well know, the stock cooling on reference HD4850s leaves much to be desired. Temperatures can climb to 90+ degrees Celsius under load in a decently ventilated case. This is just unacceptable to the enthusiast or gamer. Heat kills. I look no further than the system behind my head that had a fan failure on the stock cooling solution on the card in this system. A card two weeks old died from a fan failure.

Palit has addressed this issue with a large heatsink where if the fan did fail, it would provide at least some passive cooling capacity. Not only does this large heatsink help when at the default speeds but it can increase the overclocking potential of the video card. The Palit HD4850 Sonic Overclocking Edition is a factory overclocked card much like the Toxic HD4850 from Sapphire was. This card is clocked to 685MHz on the 55nm RV770 core and 1000MHz on the GDDR3 memory. The Sonic, much like the standard HD4850, offers support for Direct X 10.1 and Shader model 4.1 and is CrossfireX capable with the addition of a second card and capable motherboard. Will the Sonic Overcloking Edition HD4850 from Palit perform above the reference bar? Will it challenge the faster cards on the market? Let's find out.

Closer Look:

Palit's Packaging for this year has been dominated with images of the "FroBot" dressed up and ready for battle. This package is no different. Well, it's a little different. The front panel states a few of the features, CrossfireX, Vista compatibility and the basic specifications of the Sonic edition. The rear panel contains another basic listing of the features but in several different languages. Since Palit is one of the leading suppliers of video cards globally, this is a necessity to reach more people with just one package.











The internal structure of the package is more sturdy than the structure the standard Palit HD4850 comes in. A little protection goes a long way. Under the box that contains the Sonic HD4850, the multi lingual manual and driver disc are stored.



The bundle of accessories included with this card is really pretty slim. There is a multi lingual manual, driver disc, DVI to D-sub adapter and a 6-pin to 8-pin PCI-E power adapter. This card is meant strictly for gaming. It would have been nice to get a Crossfire connector to use two of these cards in CrossfireX mode.



Now that you know what to look for on the store shelves, we can take a look at the Palit HD4850 Sonic Overclocking Edition video card to see what it brings to the table and see if it can earn your hard earned dollars.


  1. Introduction & Closer Look
  2. Closer Look (The Video Card)
  3. Closer Look (Drivers & Programs)
  4. Closer Look (Catalyst Control Center)
  5. Specifications & Features
  6. Testing: Setup & Overclocking
  7. Testing: Crysis
  8. Testing: Knights of the Sea
  9. Testing: BioShock
  10. Testing: Call of Duty 4
  11. Testing: World In Conflict
  12. Testing: Call of Juarez
  13. Testing: Company of Heroes - Opposing Fronts
  14. Testing: 3DMark06
  15. Testing: 3DMark Vantage
  16. Conclusion
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