Sapphire HD4850 Dual Slot Heatsink Reviewccokeman -
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The Sapphire HD4850 Dual Slot Fansink equipped video card performs much the same as the rest of the standard clocked HD4850's I have tested, and it should, because that is exactly what it is. What sets this one apart from the rest is the cooling solution and non reference design PCB. With relocated components that take advantage of the cooling capabilities of the Dual Slot cooling, I was expecting a little more of an overclock from this revision. What I got was about average. 49MHz on the RV770 core and 69MHz on the Qimonda GDDR3 memory. Not the highest I have gotten, but well worth going after. This is free performance. While itself not free, the Sapphire HD4850 Dual Slot card is available right now for a mere 2 dollars less ($152) than the Standard reference design card at a popular e-tailer.
The basis for making this card has got to be the cooling woes that the reference design cards are known for. With reference cards routinely hitting 90+ Celsius under load in an enclosed, well-ventilated chassis, there is a certain comfort factor that just is not there with the reference design cards. There are several things you can do to cool the card down (aftermarket utilities Riva Tuner and ATI tool) as well as the XML hack where you manually create a profile and modify the fan speeds that will allow you raise the fan speed to improve the cooling. This comes at a price though - increased fan noise. When pushed above 60% the fan gets a bit loud and while it helps cool the GPU and card, it can get annoying and reminds me of the noise level of the X1900XT cards from ATI. The cooling solution on this card remedies this problem and Sapphire was wise to incorporate a solution to the heat problem and do it with a near silent (from outside the case) solution. When the fan speed was ramped up to 100%, it was almost inaudible and provided load temperatures in the 60 degree celsius range. With the fan on auto, I could not hear the fan on the card running from outside the case and kept load temperatures in the low to mid 60 Celsius range. If the HD4850 is in your purchase plans, the Sapphire HD4850 Dual Slot Fansink video card should be on your shopping list. It's quiet, it effectively handles the heat, overclocks and can be had on the inexpensive side of the price scale.
- Non-reference design
- Non-stock cooling
- Cooling solution works
- Only an average overclock