Mushkin opted on dual-slot Arctic Cooling L2 Pro cooling, which performs much better than the single-slot, reference cooling. Mushkin's card goes up to 60°C, which is much better than the 85°C we measured on the reference HD 4850. Idle temperature further drives the point home, as the reference card hits up to 77°C. In comparison, Mushkin's card is more than two times cooler, as it hits up to 31°C.
Mushkin HD 4850 OC card runs quiet when idle, but it tends to be a bit louder than the reference card in 3D apps. Of course, you can regulate fan speeds via the Catalyst Control Center Overdrive panel, meaning that you can sacrifice a couple of degrees Celsius to achieve silence.
Thanks to PowerPlay technology, Mushkin HD 4850 card consumes little in idle mode - our system (without the monitor) consumed up to 90W in idle mode. PowerPlay technology dynamically regulates the core's and the memory's operating clocks as well as voltages. It seems Mushkin has managed to implement much better power regulation by altering the PCB design, so their card consumes up to 15W less compared to the reference HD 4850.
Our test-rig consumed up to 233W with Mushkin's HD 4850 OC card, whereas with the reference HD 4850 consumption was up to 239W.
As far as overclocking goes, Mushkin already did a good job and overclocked the card from reference 625MHz to 700MHz. Our attempt at further overclocking of the GPU hasn't been successful.
Mushkin, the famous memory manufacturer has recently re-entered the graphics card market introducing the HD 4850 OC - its first Radeon graphics card. Radeon HD 4850 needs no introduction among the gamers, but this card will soon leave the market, making space for the new Evergreen series cards with DirectX 11 support. Let us remind you that the HD 4850 is based on the RV770 GPU with DirectX 10.1 support.
The company made sure the card stands out of the crowd by overclocking the card from reference 625MHz to 700MHz and the memory from 993MHz to 1010MHz. The much-criticized single-slot reference cooling was replaced and Arctic Cooling L2 Pro mounted instead. This cooler performs much better, but note that it's dual-slot width.
The HD 4850's bang-per-buck ration has been, and still is excellent. Mushkin's HD 4850 OC is a bit more expensive and will set you back over 95 Euro, whereas the reference cards can be found at about 80 euro.
Mushkin's faster clocks will yield about 8% better results that the reference card is capable, and Arctic Cooling's L2 Pro cooling will do a much better job than reference one. Furthermore, although Mushkin HD 4850 OC is an overclocked card, it still consumes less than the reference HD 4850.
Although we'd rather see Mushkin's version of some of the new Evergreen DirectX 11 cards, we must admit that this DX10.1 card shows that the company has got a serious gaming touch. We are looking forward to Mushkin's overclocked cards in the future, and if you're looking a card for a 22'' monitor, and don't intend to buy DX11 hardware, Mushkin's HD 4850 OC is a sure shot.