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Conclusion

Our tests show that 1 gigabyte of graphics memory gives no edge to the Radeon HD 4850 in real-life applications. It is only in Crysis Warhead that we could see a difference and only at a resolution of 1920x1200 where the frame rate was too low for practical play anyway. A small growth of average speed was observed in Far Cry 2, also at 1920x1200. In every other test the two versions of Radeon HD 4850 delivered the same performance, up to a fraction of a frame per second, when working at the same frequencies.

The Gainward HD 4850 1024MB GS has an average advantage of 8-11%, depending on the resolution, over the hypothetical Radeon HD 4850 1GB with reference frequencies. Our additional overclocking (from 700MHz to 750MHz GPU and from 1000 (2000) to 1200 (2400) MHz memory) improves the card’s speed to the same extent.

Even factory overclocking was enough in many cases for the Gainward card to overtake the GeForce 9800 GTX+ and, occasionally, GeForce GTX 260 Core 216. That’s an achievement. Our additional overclocking ensured an even bigger effect, making the Gainward HD 4850 1024GB GS almost as fast as the more expensive and noisier Radeon HD 4870 1GB in such games as CoD: World at War, Far Cry 2, Left 4 Dead, S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky, Dead Space, Devil May Cry 4, Race Driver: GRID, X³: Terran Conflict, Red Alert 3 and World in Conflict, and in the semi-synthetic 3DMark tests. The card was stable and silent at the overclocked frequencies, and its GPU temperature was not higher than 60-63°C.

Gainward HD 4850 1024MB GS Summary

Summing it up, the Gainward HD 4850 1024MB GS is a good combination of high performance, low level of noise, and nice overclockability. It may seem even free from any drawbacks, but there are two things we can cavil about. First, the accessories are rather scanty. And second, the card didn’t start up on our DFI LANParty UT ICFX3200 mainboard. We didn’t have another mainboard on the same chipset, so we don’t know if this incompatibility is limited to DFI’s product only. So, if you are going to buy a Gainward HD 4850 1024MB GS for use with a mainboard based on the CrossFire Xpress 3200 chipset for Intel processors, you may want to make sure beforehand that the two are compatible.

If this is no problem for you, this card can make an excellent buy, especially if it comes at a reasonable retail price.

Highs:

  • High performance for this type of graphics solutions;
  • Outperforms GeForce 9800 GTX+ in some tests;
  • Wide range of supported FSAA modes;
  • Best edge detect CFAA quality in the industry;
  • 1024MB of local video memory onboard;
  • 800 ALU and 40 texture processors;
  • DirectX 10.1 and Shader Model 4.1 support;
  • Fully-fledged hardware HD video decoding;
  • High-quality HD video post-processing with scalability;
  • Built-in 8-channel audio controller with HD support;
  • Sound over HDMI;
  • Low noise;
  • Highly efficient cooling;
  • Good overclocking potential.

 Lows:

  • Scanty accessories;
  • Potentially incompatible with ATI CrossFire Xpress 3200 based mainboards.
 
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