Well, I'll probably have bad luck with Asus on VGA:
I have lots of trouble with one 4850: I have put on an Accelero Twin Turbo and could play at 1680x1050 (as I had expected and w/ help of 3dmark & Everest, the "Glaciator" at 95% would not be enough). Then, installing w7 x64 in someway the VGA crashed and it shows red tiny spots all over the presentation (8 months of working VGA). I had put the original heatsink, went to the shop and 7 weeks later, I had what it was supposed to be my VGA fixed as the repair sleeve stated. Then I looked to the serial number of the VGA and surprise surprise, it wasn't the same
Well, after exhaustive search, I noticed that on RAM chip it was like someone had put some kind of resin and at the bottom of the Glaciator heatsink, it hadn't got any rubber black circles for the screws to prevent harming VGA's PCB.
Well... I thought it was ok because I had only changed the heatsink and get back a ""new"" card,... and the past week while doing some prime95 tests over CPU running passive without the fan of Noctua NHC-12P, suddenly the VGA crashed and there was no image. Then the motherboard (which is an Asus P5Q-E) told me by beeps that the VGA was failing. Many trials proved and the same results: the VGA was dead.
So, another time I have to go to the shop to validate warranty.... although Asus states 3-year warranty for their VGA products
(I couldn't find the link in English, sorry)
So, I don't think Asus would be a great assembler of ATI's VGA, although with a budget Asus nVidia passive 8400GS no prob at all (after ~2 years ussage on my father's Pc), which I have today on my Pc for testing.
Then, over the Internet for ATI's VGA many recommend Sapphire and HIS/MSI/XFX meanwhile Power Color have striked back hardly with the new 5xxx series overwhelming the others (except for the Sapphire Vapor-X series).
By all this things, every time I look over a VGA, I search for an extensive review which shows me mainly the heatsink of the VGA (which resembles airflow), and with my little experience on mid-top VGAs, I'll say on ATI VGAs:
- Asus is no good for ATI VGAs
- Sapphire probably make the difference on the components they assemble although maybe it use stock ATI heatsink
- They say Power Color uses low quality products, but with 5xxx it has done a great job by innovating on passive models (5750), so I would get a point of trust to the brand
- Gigabyte is known to have quality prodcuts at competitive prices, and they have a 4850 totatly passive cooled. Probably it would be a choice like Power Color, but I don't trust on Gigabyte at all on VGAs as well as it has very good quality motherboards
- MSI/HIS/XFX uses the stock coolers or the different stock coolers for the different PCB revisions (except on one HIS heatsink), so what would be the differeneces over the 3?
So, my final thoughs are:
really makes the difference (or at least the capacitors seem so apart of Vapor-X and another things) although it is a little more expensive than the others.
on 5xxx I probably say they make a great difference, but what about quality? I don't know
Looking for quiet & eco-friendly -> Power coolor
Looking for peace of mind & no problems & quality -> Sapphire
What is your opinion Mike