Gainward Radeon HD4850 512MB DDR3 Graphic Card Review

Gainward Radeon HD4850 512MB

The HD4850 range of card has been very promising, word has been going around all over the Internet on how great this card is when it comes to performance, literally the level of performance of the 9800GTX nVidia cards while being much cheaper.

What I have with me is the Gainward Radeon HD4850 512MB DDR3 and let’s see how it deals with my torture tests.

The Appearance

The Gainward Radeon HD4850 512MB is a nice looking card, the cooler is based on reference ATI’s reference model. It covers not just the GPU core but the memory chips as well.

What I like about this card is that it’s slim, the thickness is as of 1 PCI-E slot only. ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s been quite a while since I saw such a thin card.

Gainward Radeon HD4850 512MB
Gainward Radeon HD4850 512MB
Gainward Radeon HD4850 512MB

The card comes with 2x DVI port and an S-video output port.

The Bundle

– Power connector
– S-Video cable
– DVI-VGA converter
– DVI-HDMI converter
– Composite TV Video Cable
– Crossfire Cable.
– Installation guide & driver CD.

Card Details

Here’s a summarized detail of the card.

GPU HD4850
GPU Code Name RV770
Memory Type DDR3
Memory Bandwidth 256-bit
Memory Capacity 512MB
Core Clock 625Mhz
Memory Clock 993Mhz (1.986Ghz DDR)

Gainward Radeon HD4850 512MB

Test Setup

The computer setup used for this review.

Processor Intel E2140 Overclocked @ 3.2ghz
RAM 2x 2GB OCZ DDR2 PC2-8500 Reaper HPC Edition
Motherboard Albatron PXP35
Cooler Sunbeamtech Core-Contact Freezer Heatsink
Monitor 20″ Dell Ultra-sharp Wide-screen LCD
Operating System Windows XP (SP2)
Driver Version ATI Catalyst 8.6

The Performance & Overclocking

All tests were done with 4xAA (except for 3dmark06) which happens to be the maximum AA setting available in most games when using ATI card on Windows XP, The card will be compared to the 9800GTX since many have touted the HD4850 to be at the performance level of the 9800GTX.

Let’s also remember that the HD4850 is hovers around 2/3 the price of the 9800GTX.

Gainward Radeon HD4850 512MB
Gainward Radeon HD4850 512MB
Gainward Radeon HD4850 512MB

As to overclocking, the best I could do with this card was 680Mhz on core and 1075Mhz for memory but although it managed to pass 3Dmark06 test, it doesn’t pass in games like Lost Planet. So after quite a number of attempts (minimal reboot, thanks to ATI’s VPU Recover), I finally settled at 675Mhz on core and 1065Mhz on memory as it manages to pass all tests I threw at it.


Default setting.

Card Score
HD4850 512MB 11332
HD4850 512MB Overclocked 11818
9800GTX-512X 12175

Pretty close, 800 points apart isn’t a big deal. While being the E-penis for the many, those who know 3Dmark06 knows that it doesn’t reflect real-world performance – not even close. Why do I still use it here? Just for some to know and compare. ๐Ÿ™‚

Let’s look at the other tests.

Lost Planet : Extreme Condition

Graphic Detail : Maximum at 1680 x 946 with AA set to 4x.

Card Snow (Average) Cave (Average)
HD4850 512MB 36.6 50.1
HD4850 512MB Overclocked 39.3 51.4
9800GTX-512X 38.6 53.6

Impressive. Even on stock, the HD4850 is actually doing around 95% of the 9800GTX’s performance while being much cheaper.


Graphic Detail : Maximum at 1680×1050 with AA set to 4x.

Card Average
HD4850 512MB 78
HD4850 512MB Overclocked 81
9800GTX-512X 72

This game is old but it still manages to push many cards to its knees, all the cards put on this test passed with more than playable framerates but we see the HD4850 surpassing the 9800GTX.

Company Of Heroes : Opposing Fronts

Graphic Detail : Maximum @ 1680×1050 with AA set to 4x.

Card Average
HD4850 512MB 58.7
HD4850 512MB Overclocked 58.6
9800GTX-512X 58.8

Looks the same to me.

Anyway, I’m adding 2 more benchmarks to this card review.

World In Conflict

Graphic Detail : Maximum @ 1680×1050

Card Average
HD4850 512MB 34
HD4850 512MB Overclocked 35

The game remains playable even with settings set to maximum.


Graphic Detail : Maximum @ 1680×1050 with AA set to 4x.

Card Average
HD4850 512MB 23.96
HD4850 512MB Overclocked 25.53

Looks like it is just playable, however I personally would either lower the AA settings to 2x or 0 to increase framerate, either that or lower the screen resolution. ๐Ÿ™‚

Operating Temperature

The temperature hovers at around 73ร‚ยฐC even when idling, while load temperature comes to 90ร‚ยฐC on stock and 92ร‚ยฐC on overclock.

The card is hot but not a matter of concern in my opinion, unless you have really bad casing air-flow and facing performance breakdowns due to it. I’ll highlight a work-around for this later.


I really like this card, in my opinion this is the 9800GTX killer. We’re talking a card that costs around 35% less but giving 95% performance and sometimes more!

Gainward Radeon HD4850 512MB
Gainward Radeon HD4850 512MB
Gainward Radeon HD4850 512MB

The HD4850 cards are heat generators. NOTE : this applies to ALL cards regardless of brand. From my point of view, I wouldn’t worry until the card is showing signs of overheating.

Heat is not a major issue though, just a little knowledge in finding a file and editing it can do wonders. ATI sets their cards to 22% speed at default. While it is not something the average user would do, there’s no harm trying. ๐Ÿ™‚ Upping the RPM % to about 50%, I see about 15ร‚ยฐC drop in temperature when on idle.

And just in case anyone wants to manage the FAN settings………

Kindly refer to Guru3D‘s guide. ๐Ÿ™‚

Anyway I found mine created profile at
C:\Documents and Settings\Brian\Local Settings\Application Data\ATI\ACE.

I did not conduct any test on this modified fan setting as I’m reviewing from a layman’s stand point where editing settings is not something one would normally do and from what I observe – you shouldn’t need to edit the settings unless the card keeps failing you due to heat problem. The increased fan speed should be able to help stretching the overclock limit. ๐Ÿ˜Ž

Gainward Radeon HD4850 512MB
Gainward Radeon HD4850 512MB
Gainward Radeon HD4850 512MB

Anyway, I highly recommend the Gainward Radeon HD4850 512MB DDR3. It retails at less than RM 700 now and performs just as well as the 9800GTX which is an ~RM 1000 card.

goldfries recommended

goldfries rated this product :


  1. At last, a good review.. But we need to select the profile everytime we reboot might troublesome, atleast for now.. I would like to see comparison in crysis.. but nevermind.. Kudos..

  2. Author

    The profile for the fan? Nah, no reboot needed.

    All I did was tested edit the profile and reload it from Catalyst Control Center.

    Unfortunately I don’t have Crysis benchmarks for other cards. ๐Ÿ™‚ unless someone loads me a 9800GTX.

  3. With the short life (in marketing terms) span of new graphic cards from both Nvidia and AMD (previously ATI), one would think that there would be many games out there to give these graphic cards a run for their money. (ie. really stressed out these cards)

    On the contrary (with the exception of Crysis), most games cater for the masses.Hence, previous generation cards such as the Geforce 8800GT and the Radeon 3870 have not been withdrawn from the market.

    In addition, the older generation cards would probably eat into the new generation cards market share. For eg. the 9-series cards did not really take off (with the exception of 9600GT) due to the fact they were facing competition not from AMD but from its own line of older generation cards. (eg. the Geforce 8800GT)

    As a conclusion, graphic cards manufacturers (Both Nvidia and ATI) will have to come up with either more functions for the GPU or a better reason to replace our old generation cards.

    Competition is always a good thing.

  4. Author

    On the other hand, the thing about human is that we always want newer and better or faster things. People just want the newer and faster stuff. ๐Ÿ™‚

    As for the older generation cards, unlike the 2 series being completely shadowed by the 3 series from ATI, I see the 4 series not doing the same to the 3 series but rather just having the 3 series stepped lower to cater for the lower-end market. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Not sure about nVidia though, the 8800GT is like hovering between a 9600GT and 9800GTX while the 9600GSO isn’t exactly giving the 9600GT a good time either. I personally think the ATI product line-up is actually distinct on the difference, unlike that of nVidia.

  5. agreed on ATI’s now better product lineup unlike NV’s which confused a lot of people (including me). a better product road map certainly helps the consumer in selecting the correct products but recently the two giants have started to throw out “surprise products” and create serious competition… good for the consumers, i’d say =)

  6. Can’t wait to hear your workaround in dealing with the heat. That’s the only thing that’s currently stopping me from getting one. As tempting as the price is, the heat issue is a big deal to me considering I’m using a compact (microfly) casing and the idea of using a 3rd party cooling seems a little bit far fetch considering the space clearance. Though, I wouldn’t rule it out if you can recommend me a good cooler that can fit the casing.

    By the way, I’ve heard rumours about a price drop across AMD graphic line happening in July. Is there any truth in it?

  7. Author

    @marx – yeah, like the 9600GT. it was good but it killed a lot of other things along the way.

    @pac – eh I posted the workaround already mah. ๐Ÿ™‚ Perhaps I should have an article on it. Smaller cases and 3rd party coolers usually don’t mix well.

    No idea on the price drop part either.

  8. perhaps more surprise products (die shrink again?) are coming out… now we really have no idea what they have in their camps… hmmm in GPU they dun follow Moore’s law do they ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Author

    Yeah, it’s like every month or 2 later we’re seeing variations or slight upgrades and all.

    Unlike last time, eg Geforce4 and Radeon 9xxx days where stuff just come out like every 6 months or so.

  10. This is nice card. Actually who care about the highest fps for the each games? We just need a card that allow us to run a game in smooth and cost efficiency during this era. Graphic card enginners are keep pushing the limits and come out the new products are not more than 6 months…Highest fps graphic card doesn’t give any advantages to human eyes since we are not able to accept it.. for example 100 fps .. 80 fps..

    @goldfries, this hot temperature won’t affect any othes capacitors on the motherboad beside the card?

  11. now, one single core can do all the magics from mainstream to performance level.
    for example, the G92, a “handicap” G92 is called 8800GS, a “normal” G92 is the 8800GT, a “faster” G92 is 9800GTX, a “smaller” G92 is 9800GTX+, and the “twins” is 9800GX2, weird huh?

  12. nVidia just want to make variety of the products to let buyer more accurate choice. But the contrast is buyer also confused with the products.

    Dual core is still insufficiency due to the driver.

  13. @meyon, ya, the scalability of multiple cores (3 or more) is still not satisfying.
    and for a desktop users, i dun think much ppl can afford double 9800GX2, and the electricity bills, well, everything is raising…

  14. i think most of the gamer will prefer for the game console, since Desktop gaming is such a luxury toys nowadays.

    The graphic card company want to earn more money on the new product and score highest marks in every benchmark, came out with the dual core or multiple cores is fast solution to answer the market needs.

  15. i prefer to have keyboard as my controller rather than gamepad.
    but, this is just a personal preference.

  16. @DAMMIT,
    This is not the problem since the console have the adapter, mouse and keyboard is able to use on it.

  17. @meyon, yeah~ maybe i should abandon the path of pc gaming and join the force of console gaming.
    i really could not keep up with the speed of graphics card advancement…

  18. I still wondering why the console with a standard graphic processor will able to produce such a strong and powerful graphic output if we compare to PC.

  19. hmmm… console gaming with mouse/keyboard imo just don’t feel right ๐Ÿ™‚ cos you need a flat surface for mouse vs the keypad which you can hold it and sit back lazily in the sofa anyhow you want ๐Ÿ™‚

    anyway we don’t need to stay on the bleeding edge to enjoy a decent gaming experience, do we?

  20. @meyon, i believe the problem is with the API between the game and the hardware.
    for PC, it would be: game -> OS -> API -> graphics card
    for console, it would be: game -> API -> graphics card
    maybe tats the problem?

  21. @marx, but for the shooting game , i still prefer the mouse and keyboard.
    For the example, the Halo or COD4 in console is still make me uncomfortable..

  22. i would get a GUNpad for console’s first person shooting games, hehe~

  23. The precision of the gun pad is not comparable to mouse and mousepad imo.

  24. it is more to a personal preference than the precision.
    as long as user could get used to the controller, the precision is nothing matter.

  25. @DAMMIT

    I think game Console also with OS, but just a very lite OS to do some operation. Correct me if wrong.

  26. @ marx

    I agreed with you, WII came out is to stress the point of fun gaming experience. I would like to try once if i have it.

  27. i think the game console OS, would be a very lite, until “transparent” to both gpu and game.

  28. Guys, you were a bit Off-topic liao. Anyway, you forgot to add 9800GTX-512X’s benchmark on WIC and Crysis games to be compare.

  29. Author

    Wah suddenly went to console discussion.

    Anyway kyoshiro, I did not forget. ๐Ÿ™‚ I just don’t have the benchies for the 9800GTX on those games.

  30. hey guys, was wondering if i were to fix an AMD/Intel rig, getting a GF or AMD gc is better? coz i read at lyn (cant rmbr which post) that his comp rite, couldn’t detect CF coz he was using an Intel rig. is this true? noob question, coz i havent fixed a desktopo since 2001 ^-^

  31. @Lun, it depends on your motherboard. For Intel rig, only these few models support CF, which are: 965, 975, P35, X38, P45, X48.
    i dun think any of these mobo will have issues of detecting CF.
    but for 965, only CF of certain models are supported.

  32. those chipsets are Intel chipsets.
    ATi has some chipsets (for Intel) which support CF too

  33. Oh, thanks man. So, do you think it’s wise for me to get an AMD x4 now? Coz i’ve been reading about how AMD’s company isn’t doing so well. I think they’re losing money.

    I’m planning to build a new set for upcoming games like Fallout 3 and Diablo 3. So AMD x4 or Intel?

  34. @Lun, it depends on your budget. Intel or AMD, it’s just personal preference. AMD is cheaper, but slower too. But no matter which one you buy, you will get your money worth.
    for CF, i will go for AMD chipset like 790FX/GX, GX is yet to announce.
    790GX provides you 16x/16x CF, at an affordable price.
    Intel X38/48 oso give you 16x/16x CF, but they are more expensive.
    whole rig of AMD, doesn’t sound bad rite?

  35. AMD is slower, i mean in term of processor. it’s chipsets are nice!

  36. thanks man…this really helps alot!


  37. @DAAMIT

    AMD is slower, i mean in term of processor <<< but I (always) thought that when it comes to games AMD rules (comparing Intel product at the same price point)? for other tasks for e.g. encoding yeah Intel rules. so imo Intel is more of the better all-rounder…

  38. @Lun
    I’ve heard bad things about the X4 phenom which AMD has yet to iron out. and (pardon for the noob-ness) do these games run better/faster with >2 cores anyway? assuming those games are optimized for dual-core then perhaps you can save some money by going for the X3 phenom so you’ll have an extra core for other tasks that cost CPU overhead.

  39. @marx, i agree that actually at the same price point, they are bout the same. when moving to higher price point, Intel pawn AMD.
    the first batch of Phenom X3/X4 is suffered from TLB bug, just hope tat you are lucky enough to to get one of these processors.

  40. So how to differentiate between the older and newer batches? Does the “+” mean it’s newer?

  41. i am not sure how to differentiate them, maybe the stepping is different, not sure…
    Google for TLB bug, the info is there…

  42. @lun ahaha.. one of ure earlier posts u wrote GF. i thought you meant u were considering between getting a girlfriend and a graphics card. >_<

    btw. if the choice ever came up. take the card. its probably cheaper long run. <_<

  43. OKAY, this is subjective. alot of debate has been on the heat issues lately for 4850.

    let me address this. All reference cards, the fan speed spins at default of “22%” from the ATi Catalyst Profile.
    due to the low fan speed, the advantage is that the noise is completely inaudible. cant hear any whizzling sound .

    so what i did was to balance out fan speed and noise by editing the catalyst profile. go google or search for that thread in this forum on how to edit 4850 fan speed.

    i selected 50% speed. which is not that loud yet gives me adequate cooling . based on the picture you can see 50degree at idle.

    It is not necessary to change to after-market cooler for this card, if u can spend just few minutes to adjust the fan speed, everything settle liao


    – Affordable mid-range. below competitive price with other card’s pricing.
    – Bang for buck.
    – Image Quality is eye candy when turned on AA/AF no compromise much in fps.
    – Adequate information on installation and necessary accessories for diff display
    – Quiet Card at lowest RPM
    – Cool & Quiet AMD technology on this card: Core/Mem/Shader will automatically downclock in idle or 2D mode.


    – This is not a Golden Sample edition. ( have to OC yourself ) .
    – Could have made dual-slot cooling system .
    – High-temps if fan speed not adjusted
    – No bundled games to offer.

  44. Author

    no need to search in google. I’ve already provided the link to it in the article. ๐Ÿ™‚

  45. Hey there Mr.fries,

    The 4850 seems to be quite a good performer.

    Anwyay, could it still perform Crysis good on High details @ 1280×1024 (LCD) with my Pentium DC E2140? At DX9? ๐Ÿ˜€

    I don’t mind if it’s a 0x AA… but as long as it look OK to me.hehe. ๐Ÿ˜€

  46. Author

    I think it would do just fine. 1280×1024 with 0x AA is easy peasy for this card.

  47. So, could my Coolermaster eXtremepower 430W take that card ok? ๐Ÿ˜€

    How many watts or +12V rails are required for the proper operation of the card? ๐Ÿ˜€

  48. Author

    Should be able to. Just give it a try. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ve used 450w with 3870×2 that drains more PSU power. ๐Ÿ˜€

  49. Wouldn’t underpowering a computer and a high end gfx card can ruin the entire PC? ๐Ÿ˜€

    Im just curious – if I can stick in a 4850 into my rig and it runs OK, should I worry whether it’ll explode later or eating itself up later? ๐Ÿ˜€

  50. Author

    Nah, if it lacks the power it’ll just power down.

  51. My Dell dimension is running a HD3850 with a 305Watt PSU coupled with a old Pentium D smithfield 820, the card runs smoothly with no problems…..

  52. Heh, I just purchased that card, coupled with a new PSU. ๐Ÿ˜€

    That thing glides thru Crysis demo at 1280×1024 without a glitch (no AA), all HIGH settings. Only a slight framerate drop when reaching those shacks and places where items are strewn all over the place. It hitched a little during gameplay, but it doesn’t hinder too much of the operation.

    Unfortunately the VERY HIGH settings has been grayed out. I don’t know why.

    The whole thing is, it’s quite cheap, and might be doing well for a few more titles of latest games. Definitely the bang of the buck.

    I wonder if this thing even can compete with 8800GTX? ๐Ÿ˜€

  53. Author

    Very high settings is greyed out because you are not having DX10. ๐Ÿ™‚ With WindowsXP you only get HIGH at most.

    I’d say it’s pretty much an 88000GTS G92 / 9800GTX. so why bother with 8800GTX? ๐Ÿ˜€

  54. This Radeon HD4850 is really powerful for a very low price.

    I am very amazed that this is the only cheaper card that could run Crysis @ 1280×1024 with all High settings.

    I’m pretty curious – could this card take VERY HIGH settings too? ๐Ÿ˜€

  55. Author

    Yes, it can do VERY HIGH no problem. Just don’t enable any AA, or maybe 2x AA at most.

    I should be getting the Golden Sample version soon, so I’ll be testing it with VERY HIGH and 4xAA settings.

  56. @goldfries: Oh I see. No wonder lah. Man, they look like they are just forcing us to use Vista for the maximum graphical capability.

    In the meantime, I don’t have to tune the fan thingy for my Sapphire HD4850 – it’s just already tuned for me. I don’t know why – it could be the new stock cooler instead of the reference model. Still, it is running pretty good.

    That 4850 is a very big bad, mean and a tough budget GFX card for gamers on a shoestring. On 2006 it was the 7300GT w/ DDR3, and now on 2008, it’s the Radeon 4850. I have personally never seen a RM500++ card did perfectly on Crysis (of course at HIGH / 1280×1024 / 0AA).

    This card is just more than “recommended hardware”. Yes – it deserves 2x more than for this one. It’s a huge jump of performance from the X1950Pro and the 8600GT I have. ๐Ÿ˜€

    Anyway, great review too!

  57. Goldfries, I have purchased a new Gainward HD3850 512DDR3 for RM310 from Lehteck, I think you might need to update the PC buying guide^^
    I would also like to ask whether the new HD4800 cards are killing the prices of the older cards?

  58. I’ve been waiting for this card since it comes out. I saw lehteck selling the new gainward hd4850 512mb for just RM565. So is it a good time to buy it now or it’ll drop more lets say RM 100 in the coming one or two month? In your opinion of course.

  59. Author

    @The_YongGrand – yeah, ~RM 550 card but damn nice.

    @Barney – here’s what happened……… I updated the guide yesterday using a few reference but I made a mistake on using a slightly older reference for some stuff. Fixed for better accuracy!

    @fatty – at RM 565? why not? ๐Ÿ˜€

  60. @fatty: Just grab this card. This thing rocks for sure! ๐Ÿ˜€

  61. Yup bought it!!! XD

  62. Well actually i’ve deleted most of my games but i’ve reinstalled bioshock and the setting is all high and reso is 1680×1050. In DX9 though.

    Besides now is nearing midterm so deadline for projects are coming up so i think i don’t have that much time to test it. T_T

    Oh and why it doesn’t have 1440×900 reso? It doesn’t support that?

  63. Hi, nice review man. I’m gonna buy this by the end of this year ^^

  64. Author

    @fatty – it should have 1440×900. You’re not using DVI?

    @light bulb – end of this year, maybe HD5850 already loh…..

  65. Well, I paired up with the E7200. Magnificient. But I haven’t touched 2X AA on any of the newer games. Now, I have totally ran out of games to play besides Crysis. Maybe I’ll try SupCom since it’s holiday time. ๐Ÿ˜€

  66. what about the temperature?
    this card is among the hottest card rite?
    correct me if i wrong.
    can u tell me the difference between 4850 and 4870

  67. Author

    HD4870 is generally faster, although same core.

    both are hot, unless you get the one using custom cooler.

  68. Hi goldfries,
    I think the gpu is borked, though whether it overheated I don’t know – the max operating temperature of the machine is a pathetic 35C so I don’t know.

  69. Does anyone know any good RPG ?
    My specs:
    Motherboard: Asus Maximus-III-Formula
    CPU: INTEL CORE i7 i7-975 3.33GHz 8MB
    GPU: 2x Gainward Radeon HD 4870 X2
    Hard Drive: Seagate Barracudaร‚ยฎ XT 2TB
    Cooler: Cooler Master Water cooling
    Power Supply: Thermaltake W0171RE
    P.S:already tried Oblivion,Fallout 3 ,Gothic (all of them ),Risen,Borderlands and Fable the lost chapter

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