Giving you a sneak peek, looking at the Radeon HD 4850 512MB offerings, XFX will sell two models - stock- and pre-overclocked - which eschew the reference cooler that we see on most cards and replace it with, dare we say, one that looks like it belongs on a GeForce card. Take a looksie:
Both the HD 4850 512MB cards are identical in external appearance, with the cool-looking black PCB largely hidden under a double-height cooler.
The obvious downside is that, now, the card takes up two slots rather than just one present on most cards, but it's not really a big a problem as it would be on lower-end cards, which are more-suited for HTPC chassis. Anyone considering HD 4850, and above, will be using a large-ish chassis, we reckon, so space should not be an issue.
The XXX Edition will be clocked in at 650MHz core and 2,100MHz memory, so another 25MHz on the GPU and 100MHz (effective) on the GDDR3. Overclocking should be good, however.
The black PCB makes the board stand out from the competition. But a PCB is just a PCB. You'll probably know that the two fingers at the top-right of the board mean that (up to) three further boards can be daisy-chained for four-way CrossFireX.
The red-coloured DVI ports are a nice touch, too.
Right now, the standard-edition card is available on pre-order for £141 at Scan.co.uk whilst the XXX part, also available at Scan, costs some £152 at the moment. We'll have the full review of the Radeon HD 4850 512MB XXX and HD 4870 1GB XXX in a few days time, so stay tuned for that.
Trouble is, a default-clocked, albeit reference, Radeon HD 4850 can be had for around £115, and a basic, vanilla Radeon HD 4870 512MB for £180. XFX's cards look good, but pricing will need to come down a touch. Let's not get ahead of ourselves....