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Conclusion

The Sapphire Toxic HD 4850 512MB GDDR3 left a most positive impression on us. This product has no drawbacks if you don’t regard its too small advantage over the reference Radeon HD 4850 as such. However, even those 5 to 8% of performance growth in games is quite a good effect from the increase of the GPU and memory frequencies by 50MHz and 100MHz, respectively. Of course, there is no dramatic improvement in performance due to such overclocking, so everything we’ve ever written about the Radeon HD 4850 in our reviews can be applied to the Sapphire Toxic HD 4850 as well.

The specific product from Sapphire we have described today may be called a perfect Radeon HD 4850 that offers somewhat higher performance and, most importantly, an advanced and quiet cooler. The original card from ATI comes with a compact single-slot cooler, but it looks dubious to us considering the heat dissipation of almost 110W. Our concerns are confirmed by the temperature of the GPU on the Radeon HD 4850 which is as hot as 85-90°C under load. The Sapphire Toxic HD 4850 is free from that problem thanks to the advanced cooler from Zalman. Besides low temperature, stable operation and longer service life, this cooler has a positive effect on the card’s overclockability.

The packaging and accessories of this card are noteworthy, too. The product carries on the good tradition we noted in our Sapphire HD 4850 CrossFire review: the package design is stern and appealing, the accessories are everything you may want to use the card, including a HD video player. There is a nice bonus, a full version of 3DMark Vantage. Of course, the accessories of the Toxic HD 4850 are not as rich as those of the Sapphire HD 4850, but there are many even more expensive products from other brands that come with scantier accessories. Sapphire makes a good example for other vendors.

So, the only reason why you may not want to choose the Toxic HD 4850 is that the particular reseller offers it at a too steep a price. Otherwise, it is an excellent product worthy every cent of your investment into it.

Generally speaking, ATI’s Radeon HD 4850 cards are currently the best in terms of price/performance ratio. With their retail price having already dropped below the recommended $199, they ensure excellent performance in modern games. They are often not much slower than the far more expensive GeForce GTX 260 from Nvidia and even beat it occasionally.

Highs:

  • Excellent performance in contemporary games
  • Outperforms Nvidia GeForce 9800 GTX+ in high resolutions
  • Is 5-8% faster than ATI Radeon HD 4850
  • Wide range of supported FSAA modes
  • Best edge detect CFAA quality in the industry
  • Excellent quality of anisotropic filtering
  • 800 ALU, 40 texture processors  and 16 RBE
  • 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
  • Highly efficient Zalman cooler
  • Low noise
  • No compatibility issues
  • Rich accessories bundle

Lows:

  • Relatively high power consumption and heat dissipation
 
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