Nearly three months ago, AMD laid claim to the world's fastest mainstream single-board graphics card with its Radeon HD 4870 X2 - a benchmark-pummelling solution that takes two Radeon HD 4870 GPUs and slaps them together on one board with the aid of built-in CrossFire.
NVIDIA, knocked convincingly off its perch, hasn't yet conjured up a means to reclaim its lost crown and has instead opted to focus on tapping into its GPUs' parallel processing power. The result, says NVIDIA, is a series of GPGPU (general-purpose computing on graphics processing unit) solutions that do more than just push 3D framerates, and the likes of Adobe are already taking advantage.
Despite NVIDIA's branching out, there's no denying that the single-card performance crown is the most coveted trophy in the increasingly-competitive GPU market. With AMD having made the crown its own, it then promised a Radeon HD 4850 X2 and claimed it could push NVIDIA's current line-topping GeForce GTX 280 down to third place.
The Radeon HD 4850 X2 - which, if you hadn't guessed, is two Radeon HD 4850 GPUs on a single board - has arrived courtesy of Sapphire, whose board is the first - and currently only - 4850 X2 in production. So, let's take a closer look and see if it really is the world's second fastest mainstream single-board graphics card.