back to article AMD rolls out Radeon HD 4850

AMD has launched its Radeon HD 4800 series, kicking the next-gen GPU line off with the 4850, aka 'RV770'. Expect a second chip, the 4870, next week on Wednesday 25 June, our moles tell us. Sapphire was one of the first graphics card suppliers out of the door with a 4850-based product, the Sapphire HD 4850, to be precise. Its …

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Flame

What's in a name...

I wonder if Graphic Chip makers (Or at least the geezers who put said chips onto PCB) will ever agree on a sensible naming scheme.... Gruntmaster 3000 is really only a good name if you don't intend to follow it up with the 3500, the 3800, the 4000 and then the 2000, which for some reason is the fastest of the bunch... despite being named even lower than the first....

Imagine if they'd adopt the car industry's naming convention of simply using the year as a name for the model (+1 year in the future obviously, so as to show tha the product is futuristic enough). hey, they could even throw in a number of 2 letter codes behind the year to indicate if it's a highperformance or value card.. imagine how much easier things would be :o)

I for one will not be buying this card, as I already have an AGP 9250 card, and as far as I can tell from the naming of these things, my old card should be leagues ahead of this new fangled thing.

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Linux

As long as it works with linux

Dear Anonymous Coward

Perhaps YOU need to increase the size of text on your browser ("Ctrl" + "+" on Firefox), as it very clearly states "FIRESTREAM 9250" as opposed to "RADEON 9250". How's that for different models? Corvette 2008 V8 supercharged VS Cavalier 2008 L4 with injector :-/

As long as they have good drivers for linux.... I gotta check out some benchies.

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At least it's a bit better

When Radeons were made by ATI, the names were far more confusing. You couldn't rely on something as simple as the larger the number or price, the better the card - because that was clearly not the case.

For example which is better, the Pro version or the XT? Or the XL? The fact they introduced yet more extensions with every new generation just made things worse. New cards with larger numbers and mysterious new end letters would appear, and thinking they represented the best technology people would actually downgrade their video performance when they bought them.

So you bought the Pro version 3 years ago, after discovering it was the best. You do the same now, and then find out the new equivalent to your card is the XT. You couldn't do something as simple as look at the product number, or even the price. Worse, they'd introduce a budget version with a larger product number a year or so after the product line was released. If you didn't do your homework you'd get screwed.

For the first time ever the 3000 series made it simple to decide. The larger the number the better the card. With this generation you need to wait for the entire product line (or at least most of it) to be released before knowing which card represents an upgrade. For example does this card give a performance increase over the 3870 or will you need to wait for the 4870? Often the latest video cards released by ATI did not perform as well as the top of the range card from the previous generation. But most people thought bigger number, better card and thus got screwed. So until reviewers make it clear that this is indeed an upgrade over your existing card, don't get taken.

And no, I don't think nVidia are any better and their product lines are just as confusing. The thing about nVidia is they tend to release their best cards right away - but they do many of the same things that ATI did.

None of this was done on purpose I hasten to add. It's simply that video card manufacturers are crap at naming their products and making it clear which is the best, middle and worst of their product line.

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Caveat

Everyone has different prioritise for a video card. You can't produce a hierarchy with the best card at the top because people place a different worth on things like DX10.1, video decoding, legacy and driver support etc

Just spend the 10 mins to find out what ya buying mkay?

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Coat

They should, for once...

...get their act together and put out a version of the Linux driver that actually works with all the current chipsets. ATi had been trying and failing, and so far AMD (or you might want to exchange the first two letters...) have not been doing much better.

How about opensourcing the APIs? Like, all of them, so the community can provide proper drivers. I currently proudly own a four-year-old Radeon chip which is not properly supported by either the closed-source nor the opensource drivers... and it tends to drive me nuts...

Mine's the one with the circuitboard hanging out of the pocket, thank you...

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Coat

Naming Schemes...

Usually I use opera which does allow me to supersize my p0rn, but unfortunately I wrote that particular piece whilst at work, using IE.

I do realise the difference between firestorm and radeon (actually, I don't... I haven't checked to see what a firestorm card is, and am not likely to do so, as I'm not in the market for a new card, but I do realise that they are not the same ;o)

When it's time to buy another card I will probably look into the difference between all the different models of graphics cards again... (which, because my pc is rather old at this point, will also coincide with the purchase of all the other parts as well (possibly except for the hard drives).

Problem is though, that while I'll probably spend a few days checking out models, benchmarks, value for money, and the ubiquitous naming scheme, I don't think most buyers will. They will probably make their determination based on the name/number on the box in the shop, and the number on the price tag. Which is a concern. One of my local electronics shops still has a radeon 9250 agp card (256mb, my old one is 128.. should I upgrade?) for sale for 30 quid. Which is, as far as I can tell, not a terribly good price at this point in time.

Now, as far as comparing Corvettes and Cavaliers, the fact that both say 2008 tells me as a buyer that they're probably a bit better than the equivalent 1978 models (notice how the numbers increase with each model).. Although this is not always true for cars (that this years model is always better and faster than last years) it usually does hold true for graphic cards. I can also tell that the Corvette has a V8 engine, which is likely to burn quite a bit of fuel.. I imagine that the Cavalier would burn a bit less... I'd also imagine that the Corvette would have a few more horsepowers (Being european you must forgive me for a lack of knowledge regarding Chevrolet models).

But even as I know next to nothing about american cars, I can still make a educated guess as to their performance, because of the (fairly) consistent naming schemes.. now Imagine what would happen if Ford suddenly decided that they would start to name their models +1000 years? which one is the better buy, the 2008 Corvette or the 3002 Ford Escort? Never mind the 9250 Hyundai... We used V8 last year to describe the angle of the cylinders and the number of them, but this year that will mean something else... this year that particular configuration will be known as the 4DA (4 Double Angled), and V8 will be the term to designate our Value-8 range. It might change again next year.

Or we might restart our numbering scheme from 1900 again.

This sounds like a rant, and it is, but it's not really directed at you CommiePinguin.. it's more to do with the fact that I'll probably have to research again what graphics card to buy later this year... and I'm looking forward to it like a visit to the dentist :o)

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Linux

smaller rant

"Ctrl" + "+" will increase the text size in Opera by 50% (VS 10% in Firefox). For smaller increment use +... Haven't used IE in 2 years, but I remember about a menu option being somewhere...

I'll save you some trouble about the Firestream though. It is a "coprocessor" that is run alongside CPU to offload heavy parallel calculations/floating point calculations, and, though based on the exact same GPU as a comparable (in this case 4800-series) Radeon or even FireGL (professional 3-D graphics accelerator for rendering scenes, like CAD and Digital Content Creation, in this case 2008 model scheduled to release in Aug sometime).

Actually, with their newest numbering system, AMD/ATi have really improved understanding of the whole thing. 1-st # is the series line, second is the performance group of the series, and last 2 are to distinguish between the cards in the performance group. So 4850 is worse than 4870, 3870 better than 3850 better than 3670 better than 3650 and so on. When choosing between the series though (say 4670 VS 3850) - that is where you need to do some homework :-). In any case a lot better that choosing between X1900, X1900Pro, X1900XL, X1900XT, X1900XTX, X1900LE, X1900SE......... What a nightmare...

For your hard-earned 30 pounds sterling (it's a good thing you brits don't actually use that particular metal for trading, a paycheck would weigh a ton) you will get no performance increase whatsoever. Like replacing a 5-speed manual tranny with a 6-speed one on a VW Beetle - you won't use the 6-th gear anyway, so don't bother :D

I'd take a brand-new 1978 Corvette over the 2008 one any day though. Looks so much sexier, well worth dropping the few hps here and there. Cavalier is the budget POS car, while the 'Vette is the one you use for racing.

Remember, if Microsoft made cars, this year's model would arrive the next year, as opposed to previous year :D

Looks like the driver for linux does work with an on-cd (gasp) driver (woohoo!). No clue as to what the 3d acceleration is though, so I'll have to wait awhile for someone to review the damned thing then decide the next card to buy.

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