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Motherboard: DFI DK P45 T2RS (Courtesy of DFI)
Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 @ 3.0GHz
Memory: G.Skill PI Black G.SKILL DDR2 PC2 6400 CL4 4GB Kit (Courtesy of G.Skill)
Graphics card: Club3D HD 4850 OC Edition (Courtesy of Club3D)
MSI HD 4850 (Courtesy of MSI)
EVGA 9800GTX SSC (Courtesy of EVGA)
PSU: OCZ EvoStream 720W SLI (Courtesy of OCZ)
Hard drive: Seagate Barracuda 7200.9 80GB SATA (Courtesy of Seagate)
The higher GPU clock on the Club3D HD 4850 OC Edition gives this card a slight advantage in 3DMark 06.
An additional 40MHz over the reference GPU clock gives this card a slight advantage over the reference HD 4850 in 3DMark Vantage. EVGA's 9800GTX moves away, as its higher GPU and memory clock is just way too much for HD 4850 to handle, but you must bear in mind that even now 9800GTX and 9800GTX+ are much more expensive than the HD 4850.
All three cards are almost the same in Company of Heroes, and the extra 40MHz can give you up to 1-2 FPS more.
In World in Conflict the story repeats itself, as the Club3D HD 4850 OC Edition is 1 to 2 FPS faster than the reference HD 4850. It even manages to trail the 9800GTX and even have the higher FPS at high resolution.
Crysis tells the same story once again, as this factory overclock is too low to make any impressive difference at FPS count but 1 to 2 FPS can sometimes mean a lot.
Despite the use of Zerotherm's cooler, we didn't manage to overclock this card to 700MHz for the GPU, and the highest stable overclock ended up at 680MHz, but even then the load temperature doesn't go over 65 degrees Celsius. The memory couldn't go much over its reference value, so we gave up, as it is cooled by a small heatsink that uses the air that fan creates but it isn't connected to the main heatsink.
As you can see from these results, an additional 15MHz on the GPU clock raises up the 3DMark 06 and Vantage scores while the temperature peaks at 65 degrees Celsius under full load. This is a great win for Zerotherm, as it definitely does a great job with the RV770 GPU and let's not forget that it is less noisy than the reference cooler, even while the fan is pushed to 64 percent under full load.
The factory overclock on the Club3D HD 4850 OC Edition card doesn't bring any impressive performance gains when compared to the reference card. The main question here is if this card is worth the additional €20 or so.
We think it is, as you get a better cooling solution which will keep the card at a much more reasonable 63 degrees Celsius under load. The performance is practically the same as with a reference HD 4850, which can probably also overclock to 680MHz, but with the temperature at 87 degrees Celsius it can influence lifetime and other components in the case.
The price is just right; as this card sells for €146 and thus we can only recommend it, as Club3D did a good job with Zerotherm cooling. If it's too pricey for you, and you're looking for a €100 card, you can go for the HD 4830 or the HD 4670; but at sub-€150 this card hits the sweet spot.
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