Radeon HD 4850 2 GB GDDR3 review -
13 - The Conclusion
What PowerColor is trying to do with releasing a product like this is to create a marketing opportunity. It's something new, something different. And honestly, I seriously like that. Unfortunately doing something creative, doesn't necessarily mean that it'll work. As our tests have shown, quadrupling the framebufffer size pretty much does nothing in terms of additional performance. Now, there are certainly several situation where the 2GB framebuffer could make a difference, and they are extremely high anti-aliasing modes. The downside here is, with a Radeon HD 4850 you have, though a very good one, a mainstream product in your hands that is just not powerful enough to manage hefty AA solutions and resolutions. So that's a bit of an enigma. The irony here is that with 2 GB memory, the memory clock frequency had to be lowered, making the product marginally slower than the regular 4850 product.
If you plan to purchase this card performance wise and use it for typical fashion / regular gaming usage, there's just hardly any gain to find. It's a bit unfortunate, because I really do like the idea of a manufacturer being creative this way. But facts are facts and anno 2008 a 2GB framebuffer is pretty much of no use. So for that you might as well go with the 512MB or even the 1 GB version.
Overclocking wise again we go into two directions. The core frequency of the GPU we could push upwards pretty easily. Combined with the cooling solution at hand, and the handsome 3rd party overclocking software like Rivatuner, the sky is the limit. However it is the memory that is a limiting factor. We could barely overclock it at all. And if anything, the 4850 can very much need extra framebuffer bandwidth.
So overall this product is performing roughly equal to the reference Radeon HD 4850. The big gain you'll get from the product is actually it's cooling. The included zeroTHERM cooler slapped on top of that GPU really does it's job nicely. Where the reference products scare me a little with the high peak temperatures the idle and load temperatures of this product are just extremely nice.
Quadrupling the memory size towards 2 GB luckily didn't mean quadrupling the price, though at roughly 249 USD / 169 EUR it is a couple of tenners more expensive than the regular product yet also close to the HD 4870. Overall we certainly can recommend the PowerColor 4850 2GB, yet place a big question marker on the fact whether you ever use the on-board 2 GB framebuffer.
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|Product:||Radeon HD 4850 2 GB GDDR3|
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