Thermals and Overclocking
Compared to the reference GTS 250 card, Gainward’s GTS 250 model with 2GB of memory runs cooler during operation, but that’s not the case with idle mode. The reason for that is absence of clock-switching mechanism – meaning there’s no downclocking when the card is in idle mode. The fan however is pretty quiet in idle mode, but noise levels during operation are higher than those on the reference GTS 250. Still, we can’t say it’s too loud to actually bother you, unless you’ve got hyper-sensitive hearing, in which case we recommend sacrificing a couple of degrees Celsius for some “golden silence”.
As far as overclocking goes, the core can easily be pushed to 800MHz+ and the memory to 1150MHz+. We put the “+” sign there as we’ve managed to squeeze out a couple of MHz more, but achieved total stability with these round numbers. Note that overclocking potential varies between cards from the same series, meaning that you might be able to achieve more or less and this mostly depends on your luck.
GTS 250 2GB doesn’t come with clock switching, and it results in idle consumption higher than the rest of the GTx 2x0 pack. Furthermore, the additional memory and slightly higher core and shader clocks result in Gainward card’s higher consumption compared to the reference GTS 250.
Today we’ve seen results from a couple of Gainward’s cards, and all in all we must say the results are great. A common feature among these cards is the non-reference cooling solutions, and they were efficient and quiet.
Gainward BLISS Geforce GTS 250 GS 2048MB Limited Edition is a card that is unique in its class due to the 2048MB GDDR3 frame buffer, while the reference GTS 250 cards pack either 512MB or 1024MB. If you remember the emergence of 1024MB cards, you know that it was at the time regarded as quite unneeded, but things have changed since. Depending on your gaming preference and detail and effects settings, some games will ask for more than just 512MB. Our testing reveals that FarCry 2 and HAWX really like the additional memory on graphics cards and that high resolution gaming with antialiasing on is only possible with a large frame buffer.
Gainward GTS 250 2GB unfortunately doesn’t support any kind of clock switching, meaning higher power consumption. The fan isn’t too loud in 3D, but it does get louder than the one on the GTS 250. During operation, GPU temperatures are lower than on the reference GTS 250, but that’s not the case in idle mode.
Gainward BLISS GTS 250 2GB card costs about €180, Gainward HD 4850 GS 1024MB costs €150, Gainward HD 4850 GS GLH is available for under €110 and the cheapest GTS 250 with 1024MB can be found at about €130.
Although Gainward BLISS GTS 250 comes with native HDMI out, choosing to splash out additional €50 for extra 1024MB of memory is not an easy decision. We have to congratulate Gainward on pushing the limits further and further on each card they make, but we’ll have to recommend this card only to those who are positively sure they need “whole lotta” memory and know where to put it to use.
Alternatively, Gainward offers GTS 250 cards with 512MB or 1024MB of memory, and you can find them here.