Feeds
75%

Sapphire 4850 Toxic graphics card

Solving the regular Radeon's heat problems

7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration

Review Sapphire’s HD 4850 Toxic graphics card tackles a perceived problem of the reference AMD ATI Radeon HD 485 by changing the cooling package to lower the temperature.

The standard HD 4850 runs at a toasty 80-90°C as a result of having 800 unified shaders humming away inside the GPU. AMD uses a variable-speed fan that spins up to speed as the graphics load rises, a strategy which successfully maintains a constant temperature.

Sapphire 4850 Toxic

Sapphire's 4850 Toxic: dispersing the regulation 4850's heat issues?

However, you can distinctly hear the fan working away during a gaming session. It’s not loud enough to cause concern but the high GPU temperature seems wrong, despite this being a deliberate design decision on the part of AMD. The HD 4850 chip has a high power draw and despite its high efficiency there's plenty of heat to be dispersed. The £125 HD 4850 uses a single-slot design that radiates waste heat inside the PC case, or you can choose a £175 HD 4870 which is a big, dual-slot card that exhausts through a slotted bracket to the outside world.

Under load, the HD 4850 operates in the high 80s Celsius while the HD 4870 is in the low 80s. While neither card will suffer stability problems, the thought of all that heat may cause you some concern and it also reduces the cards' potential for overclocking.

The Sapphire Toxic takes a surprisingly direct approach to this issue, as it’s off with the standard cooler and on with a Zalman VF900 unit that includes passive coolers for the board's eight memory chips.

If you fancy a bit of DIY, you can buy the Zalman for £24, which bumps up the cost of a stock HD 4850 from £125 to £149. You’d be invalidating your warranty, so it probably makes sense to pay Sapphire £153 for the Toxic.

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
Nice computers don’t need to go to the toilet, says Barclays
Bad computers might ask if you are Sarah Connor
4K video on terrestrial TV? Not if the WRC shares frequencies to mobiles
Have your say with Ofcom now, before Freeview becomes Feeview
PEAK LANDFILL: Why tablet gloom is good news for Windows users
Sinofsky's hybrid strategy looks dafter than ever
YES, iPhones ARE getting slower with each new release of iOS
Old hardware doesn't get any faster with new software
You didn't get the MeMO? Asus Pad 7 Android tab is ... not bad
Really, er, stands out among cheapie 7-inchers
Apple winks at parents: C'mon, get your kid a tweaked Macbook Pro
Cheapest models given new processors, more RAM
VMware builds product executables on 50 Mac Minis
And goes to the Genius Bar for support
Leaked Windows Phone 8.1 Update specs tease details of Nokia's next mobes
New screen sizes, dual SIMs, voice over LTE, and more
Microsoft stands on shore as tablet-laden boat sails away
Brit buyers still not falling for Windows' charms
prev story

Whitepapers

7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
A new approach to endpoint data protection
What is the best way to ensure comprehensive visibility, management, and control of information on both company-owned and employee-owned devices?