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MP3 SOUND RECORDINGS
The recording begins with the ambient noise of the test
room. Please set your playback volume so that the ambient noise is almost inaudible,
then don't adjust the volume control again. For best results, save the sound
file to your own PC, then listen.
test system with Diamond Radeon HD 4850 (at 21%/18 dBA and 44%/27
dBA @ 1m)
The MP3 is broken into four second sections beginning with the ambient in
the room (14 dBA), followed by the VGA test system without a video card installed
(17 dBA), and then idle and load with the video card installed.
test system with Palit HD 3870 (at 30%/21 dBA, 40%/22 dBA, and 50%/26
Gaming: This is not our forté, so for an overall sense of how
well the HD 4850 performs in games, check out the reviews at X-bit
The general consensus is that the HD 4850 is a great value in the $200 level,
defeating the 9800GTX by a slim margin most of the time. It represents a sizable
increase in performance compared to the HD 3870 or Geforce 8800GT, and is capable
of playing most games smoothly at 1680x1050 or lower with high image quality
settings. It can also make less demanding games playable at 1920x1200 and higher.
Video Playback: Video playback was good, but UVD 2 is not any more efficient
than the original UVD, at least in terms if CPU utilization/efficiency.
Cooling: The stock cooler is very quiet when the card is idle, and
as an unfortunate consequence, the idle GPU temperature is very high. In fact
it is almost as high as the temperature during load, when the fan is spinning
rapidly and producing an exorbitant amount of noise. ATI cut it a little close
in the cooling department it should have been equipped with a dual slot
cooler like the HD 3870/4870.
Power Consumption: By our estimates, the HD 4850 requires approximately
50W when idle and up to 101W when stressed to the limit. 50W is incredibly high
for a graphics card, especially if all its doing is rendering the Windows XP
desktop. As most graphics cards lay idle in 2D mode for the majority of operation,
this is very wasteful an entire system with well-selected components
can easily use less than 50W when idle. Hopefully this is not a permanent disadvantage
our theory is that PowerPlay isn't fully properly configured in the current
batch of beta drivers, and that once we have official Catalysts to work with,
this figure will drop substantially.
Overall, the HD 4850 is a very strong gaming card, and as such is hot and power
hungry. Once the games are turned off its only efficient as an energy leech,
sapping far too much power than is necessary, at least for the moment. The reference
cooler is a bare minimum solution that is just good enough to cool the GPU properly.
It is however, just poor enough to annoy users with fan noise required to cool
the card when it is put through its paces. We highly recommend it be replaced;
installed an Accelero S1
on the HD 4850 and it ran much cooler passively than the stock cooler it
is our top choice.
Diamond Radeon HD 4850
* Good high definition playback
* Fan very quiet when idle
* Excellent 3D performance
* HDMI functionality
* Heatsink barely adequate
* Fan too loud on load
* High idle power consumption?
* Drivers not quite ready?
Our thanks to Diamond
for the video card sample.
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Articles of Related Interest
Asus EN3650 Silent Graphics
Xigmatek Battle-Axe: First
Direct-Touch Heatpipe VGA Cooler
Asus EN9600GT Silent Edition
ATI HD 3850 & HD 3870:
Improved Acoustics & Power Efficiency
Arctic Cooling Accelero S1 VGA
Updated VGA Card/Cooler Test
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Discuss this article in the SPCR forums.
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