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Review: Sapphire Radeon HD 4850 X2: another AMD-based thorn in NVIDIA's side

by Parm Mann on 4 November 2008, 12:13

Tags: Radeon HD 4850 X2, AMD (NYSE:AMD), Sapphire, ATi Technologies (NYSE:AMD), PC

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qap2f

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Temps and overclocking

Temperature musings

We perform our testing on an open test-bed with a 120mm fan simulating case airflow.

Graphics cards Sapphire Radeon HD 4870 X2 2,048MB Force3D Radeon HD 4870 512MB Sapphire Radeon HD 4850 X2 2,048MB PowerColor Radeon HD 4850 512MB BFG GTX 280 OCX 1,024MB BFG GTX 260 OCX MAXCORE 896MB
Ambient temperature 24°C 23.5 22
Idle temperature 73°C 78 42.5
77 54
Load temperature 95 90 62.5 82 74
Ambient-to-load delta 71 67 41
57 52

The time taken to bring a Radeon HD 4850 X2 to market clearly has its advantages in terms of refinement. Sapphire manages to keep its custom-cooled offering idling at 42.5°C, and its load temperature is lower than any of the other high-end cards in our test.

That's mighty impressive for a dual-GPU board , but there's a flipside to the surprisingly cool temperatures - we found the card to be loud both when idle and under load.


Irrespective of the board's low temperatures, Sapphire has opted not to raise Radeon HD 4850 frequencies right out of the box. We decided to have a play and managed to easily raise core and memory clocks from the default 625MHz and 1,986MHz to 650MHz and 2,036MHz, respectively.

That added approximately 2-3 per cent to the average framerate at 1,920x1,200, but we suffered from crashes when attempting to overclock further. An early driver problem, we feel, and we'd anticipate users will be able to push it further when used in conjunction with final Catalyst 8.11 drivers.