Gigabyte passively cooled Radeon 4850 card
How quieter does your GPU need to be?
Review We've been hugely impressed by the Radeon HD 4850 graphics card thanks to the balance it strikes between price and performance, and we firmly believe that, at £125, it's damn good value.
Gigabyte's GV-R485MC-1GH: double-slot design...
Pretty much our only reservation with the reference HD 4850 centres on the cooling package. The HD 4850's graphics chip employs 800 unified shaders that generate a fair amount of heat. AMD chose a single-slot design for the HD 4850 even though the dual-slot HD 4870 has an enormous cooler. The single-slot form-factor makes it easy to slip an HD 4850 into almost any PC, and there’s more good news: AMD has selected a gentle fan speed that makes the HD 4850 surprisingly quiet.
The combination of a slimline heatsink and low fan speed means that the heat produced by the HD 4850 gets trapped in the casing, and we concluded our original review by saying: "We’d give the HD 4850 the nod on this one despite its toasty hotness."
Gigabyte has decided that the cooling package on the HD 4850 could stand some improvement and the result is the GV-R485MC-1GH, which is passively cooled. The model code breaks down thus: GV for Gigabyte VGA; R485 denotes a Radeon HD 4850; MC stands for Multi-Core cooling; and 1GH refers to the 1GB of memory.
You can see an animation that explains the Multi-Core Cooling feature here, but our photos should make things clear enough.
...with some serious metal for passive cooling
One cooling core sits directly on top of the GPU, and there are two more cooling cores which are each connected to the main core by a pair of heatpipes. These cooling cores are quite sizeable affairs so Gigabyte has used a dual-slot design which means that this HD 4850 has a packaging envelope that's similar to an HD 4870. One of the coolers projects through the mounting bracket by a few millimetres but this looks like a means of supporting the cooler rather than a way of shedding heat into the air at the rear of the case.
The heat should be vented **out** of the case and **not into** the case!
The 'damn good value at £125' comment refers to a reference Radeon HD 4850
The verdict and review deal with the passively cooled Gigabyte
I've an old NVidia 7600 fanless that will do that for you, and more, on two monitors -- installing that in a DAW is a pointless waste of power for the uses you state...
The power figures are for the whole system apart from the display, and not just the graphics card
Points of order
1) An Accelero S1 gives better cooling, much better than the crap stock cooler, so contrary to what this review says it is eminently possible to passively cool a 4850 with great benefit both to temperatures and noise.
2) As others have said there are plenty reasons to want a silent graphics card, even aside from the fact that stock graphics coolers are frequently the loudest part of any moderately powerful system. Some of us like our PC's to be as quiet as possible regardless of their application. If you can tolerate noisy components then lucky you - some of us can't.
3) Gigabyte probably slowed the RAM down on this card because they haven't bothered cooling it properly, and the RAM on 4850s under load gets very hot indeed.