Price versus performance is the tried and true metric by which computer components are sold and battles are won or lost in the marketing and perception of products. After all, NVIDIA would probably not be here today if their GeForce branding didnít carry them through the GeForce FX series as that series was generally lacking in features and performance and pricing compared to the competition.
ATI has been manufacturing video cards for many years and has been in a catfight with their archrival NVIDIA for as long as NVIDIA has been around. As a rule the battle has been back and forth with NVIDIA winning in the GeForce era, ATI winning in the R300 (Radeon 9700 Pro) era, NVIDIA coming back in the NV40 (GeForce 6800 Ultra), etc. Today, ATI is launching their next generation video chip, the RV770 series. There are three cards to the launch: the 4870X2, the 4870 and todayís card the 4850. The key push by ATI on their RV770 launch is price/performance throughout the mid-range to high-end. They took the smaller chip route with their new card, as the RV770 is 965 million transistors compared to the GT200 chip from NVIDIA which has 1.4 Billion transistors on a die the size of Cleveland, err 600mm2 compared to 260mm2 on the RV770. Todayís review is on the Diamond HD4850 512MB card based on an ATI Engineering Sample card ATI sent.