Temperatures and Overclocking
Gainward cards’ temperatures are great compared to the reference, single slot HD 4850. Radeon HD 4850 GS GLH uses newer cooling (also used on the GTS 250 2GB) and as you can see, it cools the RV770 a bit better than the cooling on HD 4850 GS 1024MB.
Both cards run almost inaudible. In our opinion, the HD 4850 GS GLH should’ve been made to run a bit quieter at default settings, but it’s nothing a manual RPM setting in ATI driver won’t fix. During operation, the cards are anything but intrusive, but if you want complete silence you’ll probably spend some time customizing the fans’ RPM. Note that silence doesn’t come without a price, so you’ll probably sacrifice a couple of °C to achieve your preferred noise levels.
Compared to the reference GTS 250, Gainward’s GTS 250 with 2GB of memory fares better during operation, but it’s the idle mode that poses its Achilles’ heel. The reason hides behind the fact that this card has no clock switching mechanism, meaning no downclocking when in idle mode. The fan is very quiet in idle mode, but it gets louder than the reference GTS 250’s during operation. Still, we wouldn’t call it too loud or intrusive, but if you find it to be you can always resort to manual RPM settings.
As far as overclocking goes, both cards had no trouble reaching 750MHz, the maximum speed allowed by Catalyst Overdrive.
Radeon 4000 cards don’t feature clock switching, so consumption is higher than Nvidia’s competing cards. HD 4850 GS GLH draws minimum 129W in idle mode, which is almost 40W more than the reference GTS 250 consumes, but the consumption is lower than Nvidia’s offerings when the cards are active.
GTS 250 2GB doesn’t feature clock switching either, so this card consumes more than the rest of the GTx 2x0 family as well. Additional memory and higher clock and shader speeds result in higher consumption than that of the reference GTS 250 card.
Gainward’s HD 4850 Goes Like Hell comes dangerously close to Radeon HD 4870 performance for the sole reason of using GDDR5 and even ATI’s specs confirm that saying that Gainward HD 4850 GLH is closer to HD 4870 than an HD 4850. Despite having 512MB memory it still manages to churn out great performance and provide enough juice for comfortable gaming at 1680x1050 with antialiasing and maximum detail settings. Note that 1920x1200 is also possible, but with no antialiasing.
Priced at €117 in Germany, this card defines best-buy as its performance is close to HD 4870 cards. It’s priced only about €25 more than the cheapest HD4850 512MB card, beats the GTS 250 and can be considered one of the fastest HD 4850 cards around.
Goes Like Hell scores up to 20% better than reference HD 4850 512MB, but it didn’t stop there as it beats the HD 4850 GS 1024MB in many scenarios as well, most notably in Left 4 Dead where it’s faster by 19%.
If we omit high resolutions with antialiasing, Gainward HD 4850 1GB Golden Sample is usually faster than standard HD 4850 cards, but only slightly. Be it as it may, it still gives GTS 250 cards a harder run for their money, which isn’t half bad for a €110 card. Unfortunately, we couldn’t find it priced at that point.
Both cards have proven their worth but the HD 4850 GS GLH has simply excelled and proven to be worthy of our award, so without further ado - we dub this card a Fudzilla Recommended card.