Compatibility, Temperature, Overclocking and Noise
Unfortunately, we could not measure the power consumption of the Gainward HD 4850 1024MB GS because the card would not start up on the DFI LANParty UT ICFX3200 mainboard our power-measuring testbed was equipped with. The card proved to be perfectly compatible with every other mainboard in our labs, though.
We know that the peak power consumption of the reference Radeon HD 4850 is about 110 watts. Considering the factory overclocking, we suppose the Gainward HD 4850 1024MB GS will require 115-120 watts, i.e. in between the reference Radeon HD 4850 and Radeon HD 4870. Perhaps a BIOS update will make the card compatible with the DFI LANParty UT ICFX3200, but we’d recommend you make sure your CrossFire Xpress 3200-based mainboard is compatible with the Gainward HD 4850 1024MB before you purchase the card.
As noted above, the fan speed is constant at 50% but the cooling performance is high:
The GPU is not hotter than 60°C under load, which is 28°C lower than the result of the reference Radeon HD 4850 cooler even at a lower GPU frequency. That’s an excellent performance, but what about noise?
The fan speed is constant, so the card produces the same amount of noise in idle mode and in 3D applications. It is equally silent in both cases, to be exact. The level of noise is but barely higher than the ambient noise of 43dBA at a distance of 1 meter from the testbed. Well, our testbed is not quiet by itself: the 1000W Enermax Galaxy DXX EGX1000EWL with two fans is a noisy thing. Anyway, the Gainward HD 4850 1024MB GS boasts excellent noise characteristics and is about as quiet as Nvidia’s reference coolers installed on GeForce 9800 GTX/GTX+.
Our sample of the Gainward HD 4850 1024MB GS proved to have modest overclockability. We increased its GPU from 700 to 750MHz, i.e. to the level of the Radeon HD 4870.
The memory chips did well, too. Notwithstanding the rated frequency of 1000 (2000) MHz, the memory chips were stable at 1200 (2400) MHz, increasing the bandwidth from 64 to 76.8GBps. That doesn’t come anywhere near the memory bandwidth of the Radeon HD 4870 which is 115.2GBps. On the other hand, this may provide substantial performance benefits in games, so we will benchmark the Gainward HD 4850 1024MB GS at the overclocked frequencies, too.