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PowerColor HD4850 Review

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So where do I begin with this card? I am left speechless because the HD4850 blew past my expectations! Now, don't get me wrong - I had high hopes for the HD4800 series cards, and strongly wanted them to give Nvidia a run for their money so that the competition stays high, which benefits consumers. However, this review opened my eyes to a new love of ATI products. Being a reviewer, you have to go into a product with an open mind and unbiased opinion, which is what I did - and I was impressed. The HD4850 pushed passed many mainstream cards that are used today, and even kicked on the heels of Nvidia's newest beast, the GTX 280. Ok, so you say it caught up, but didn't take it over - but with a price tag of $199, versus the GTX 280's very high price of $649.99, this is a no-brainier. I mean, you can get three of these cards for the cost of just one GTX 280 and CrossFire them.

The only issue I had with the testing was the heating issue. The single slot cooler that is used does not adequately cool this card. The temperatures idled around 77 degrees Celsius, and at full load were touching 85 to 86 degrees Celsius. These are dangerous levels, and PowerColor acknowledges that they are working on the issue. Hopefully, this will come as a BIOS or driver fix that increases the fan's speed - which of course will add to the noise, unfortunately. Or you could go with an aftermarket cooling solution, which will bring down the high temperatures. Either way, I highly recommend any enthusiast or gamer pick up one - or even two - of these cards for your next build or upgrade. With the price to performance ratio, you will not go wrong.

On a side note, I am looking into getting an aftermarket cooler for this card when they become available, and I will revisit this review to see if the overclocking headroom will increase with a proper cooling solution.



  • Fast card
  • Single slot cooler, which takes up less case space
  • All of the HD adapters you will need
  • CrossFireX supported for multi-GPU solutions
  • 55nm manufacturing process
  • On-chip HDCP
  • Built-in HDMI and 7.1 surround sound support



  • Heatsink not powerful enough to cool the card
  • Overclocking headroom not high with heating issues


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