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Written by Olin Coles   
Tuesday, 14 October 2008
Table of Contents: Page Index
MSI Radeon HD 4850 Video Card R4850-512M
Radeon HD 4850 Features
R4850-512M Specifications
Closer Look: MSI 4850
Video Card Testing Methodology
3DMark06 Benchmarks
Crysis Benchmark Results
Lightsmark Frame Rates
Unreal Tournament 3
World in Conflict Benchmarks
Radeon 4850 Power Consumption
Radeon 4800-Series Final Thoughts
MSI Radeon 4850 Conclusion

Unreal Tournament 3

Unreal Tournament 3 (UT3) is a first-person shooter and online multiplayer video game by Epic Games and is the next installment of the Unreal series after Unreal Tournament 2004. It is published by Midway Games and was released in North America for Windows on November 19, 2007.

Unreal Tournament 3 is actually the fourth game in the Unreal Tournament series and the eighth Unreal game, but it has been numbered in terms of the engine it runs on. UT3 is subsequently part of the third generation, because it runs on the Unreal Engine 3, and does not reuse any content from previous versions.

Since Unreal Tournament 3 was designed as a DirectX 9 video game with no current support expected for DirectX 10, we use Windows XP Pro (Service Pack 3) for our benchmark testing.

Beginning with the entry-level resolution of 1024x768, the benchmark scores are so close for some products that it might be time to eliminate this setting from our testing process. Nevertheless, it looks like the Unreal Engine 3 game engine doesn't care too much for the MSI Radeon HD 4850 video card, since the CrossFireX set was just barely able to keep pace with the others. Even with High Quality settings with all of the tweaks, and 16x anisotropic filtering enabled, Unreal Tournament 3 doesn't seem to strain the graphics card enough to create a noticeable difference in benchmark scores.


Tested at 1280x1024, the resolution is just beginning to create any real load on our test products. The ZOTAC GeForce GTX 280 AMP! Edition loses just a single frame per second (0.6%), and the MSI Radeon drops only 6% followed by the GeForce 9800 GTX at 5%. As the resolution increases, these scores should begin to separate more effectively. However, for now it appears that just about any graphics card can play Unreal Tournament 3 without issue.


When I tested the Honeywell HWLM2216 recently, I noticed how the 1680x1050 widescreen display resolution of this 22" LCD monitor offered very little strain over a 19" standard display LCD monitor. Comparatively, 1680x1050 produces 1.76 MP and 1280x1024 produces 1.31, so there's only a very small difference expected between performance levels. The biggest difference is in the user experience, because the widescreen monitor comes in very handy for watching multimedia video or playing large world-scape video games.


At 1680x1050 resolution, the differences are beginning to show, but I am getting the impression that only 1920x1200 will be useful for illustrating how each product performs. Although it's all still a tight race, the ZOTAC GTX 280 leads with 160 average frames per minutes, and the MSI R4850 trails behind the pack with 107 FPS. The GeForce 9800 GTX leads the HD 4850 by 16%, but the CrossFireX set of 4850's fights back with a 13% lead.


Finally arriving at 2.3 MP with a 1920x1280 resolution on our 26" SOYO DYLM26E6 test monitor, we can begin to see how the playing field has leveled out. The MSI Radeon HD 4850 still trails behind the GeForce 9800 GTX by 6%, but put another 4850 together for a CrossFireX set and they lead by 28%. The GeForce 9800 GX2 puts both G92 graphics processors to good use, and beats both the CrossFireX 4850's (by 16%) and the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 280 engineering sample (by only 4%). When everything was said and done, the overclocked ZOTAC GTX 280 AMP! Edition video card pulled off a very narrow victory.

Product Series FOXCONN GeForce 9800 GTX 9800GTX-512N MSI Radeon HD 4850 MS-V803-285

Gigabyte GeForce 9800 GX2 GV-NX98X1GHI-B

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 280 Reference ZOTAC GeForce GTX 280 AMP! Edition ZT-X28E3LA-FCP
Stream Processors 128 800 128 (x2) 240 240
Core Clock (MHz) 685 625 600 (x2) 602 700
Shader Clock (MHz) 1713 N/A 1500 (x2) 1296 1400
Memory Clock (MHz) 1100 993 1000 (x2) 1107 1150
Memory Amount 512 MB GDDR3 512 MB GDDR3 512MB (x2) GDDR3 1024 MB GDDR3 1024 MB GDDR3
Memory Interface 256-bit 256-bit 256-bit (x2) 512-bit 512-bit

Our last benchmark of the article is coming next, which puts our collection of video cards against some very demanding graphics.


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