Sapphire Radeon HD4850 Toxic

Posted on August 27, 2008
Author: Sean Potter
Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
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Introduction

With the Radeon HD4800-series videocards only having been released a few short months ago, Sapphire has already released a factory-overclocked version of the HD4850. Under Sapphire's Toxic branding, the new card promises better performance with cooler temperatures with a quieter Zalman cooling solution.

I previously looked at Sapphire's Radeon HD3870 Toxic, which blew me away with its performance at the time. Following this, I looked the Radeon HD4850. Can Sapphire surprise me again with the Radeon HD4850 Toxic, it's latest iteration of the Toxic branding?

Packaging and Appearance

The Radeon HD4850 Toxic ships in a box not unlike that of the Sapphire cards I've previously reviewed. The Silver Surfer-eqsue avatar appears in the background of the package's front cover. Square in the center is the new tagline for the Toxic series, "Legends Never Die". I assume this refers to the success the brand has seen. Scattered on the bottom of the packaging are some of the features of the card, such as 512MB RAM and overclocked speeds.

The rear of the packaging has a clearer picture of the silver avatar, as well as the card's major features.

Inside, the card is wrapped in anti-static wrap and held between two pieces of thick foam. Under the card are the accessories and software. The accessories seem standard for Sapphire's cards: DVI to HDMI dongle, DVI to VGA dongle, component out, a PCI-Express power cable, and a CrossFire bridge.

As I mentioned in my reviews of Palit and Sapphire's HD4850 reviews, the base models were all built by ATI. With the release of the HD4850 Toxic, Sapphire has incorporated several changes to the card. The first noticeable change from any angle is the blue PCB, rather than the default red.

The second big change in the design of the card is the use of a Zalman-designed cooler. Rather than covering half the card, the Zalman cooler is positioned directly over the GPU. I was surprised to see the use of a Zalman cooler on the Toxic, rather than the Vapor-X cooling technology used in the HD3870 Toxic. Have the cooling requirements changed that much? Also, how hot does the rest of the card get, with the actively cooled heatsink only covering the GPU?

The onboard RAM on the card have individual heatsinks without fans. Consider the original HD4850's heatsink covered the RAM and GPU, I wonder how this will compare.

One disappointing feature about the current generation of cards is the lack of HDMI and DisplayPort connections. Sure, DVI can be adapted to HDMI and HDMI to DisplayPort, but adapters stick out, and can cause damage if you forget to remove them while moving a machine. That said, the HD4850 Toxic features dual dual-link DVI slots.

Despite being overclocked, the card still only requires a 6-pin PCI-Express connection for power. Also, it's worthy to note that only screws hold the Zalman heatsink in, rather than the full base that was on the vanilla 4850.

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