Sapphire Toxic HD4850 Reviewccokeman - July 31, 2008
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The biggest complaint about the HD48xx series of video cards has been the performance of the cooling system on the cards - more so the HD4850 variant than the HD4870. Load temps in the 90+ Celsius range are a little unnerving for those that pay attention to the small things. While ATI has said that the temperatures are ok, something had to be done. The Zalman GPU cooler used on the Toxic HD4850 cooled the card quite well. Idle temperatures of 35 to 38 degrees Celsius, and load temperatures of 60 to 64 Celsius - with zero noise - are a huge improvement over the standard cooling used on the 4850 series cards - no BIOS or software modifications needed. Those solutions worked for the reference cooling, but they came with a penalty - extra work and noise. The fact that the Toxic is an overclocked card means that the performance should exceed that of a non-overclocked version, which it did in 27 out of 32 benchmark tests. In four tests, the performance was equal (usually the lowest resolution tested), and it actually lost to the stock 4850 in one test. I ran the test five times to verify the results, since I was surprised to see that outcome, and it was repeatable. When it came time to overclock the Toxic, I was surprised to see that the memory and GPU core both maxed out in the Catalyst Control Center. Final clock speeds were 31 MHz higher on the GPU and 6 MHz higher on the memory than the 700/1200 in the CCC.
The inclusion of the bundled software from CyberLink and Futuremark make the price of the Toxic more appealing. Just a mere $25 more than the $190 that most HD4850 video cards are selling for just makes buying an overclocked card with a nice bundle a smart decision if you are looking for a card like this. Great price, great bundle, great cooling, and overclocked performance make the Sapphire Toxic HD4850 a winner.
- Cooling performance
- Additional headroom for overclocking
- Bundled software
- HD capabilities
- Aftermarket cooling
- Did not win all the benchmark tests