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HIS Radeon HD 4850 IceQ 4 Turbo X - Ice Cold Baby

By Kenny Yeo - 2 Oct 2008

Ice Ice Baby

Ice Ice Baby

There's no other way of saying it, the new Radeon HD 4850 from ATI is an absolute hit. At a competitive price, while offering such performance, its release forced NVIDIA to dramatically slash prices of their GTX 200 cards. And although NVIDIA eventually responded with the hastily conceived GeForce 9800 GTX+, which offers similar performance at almost the price of a Radeon HD 4850, this pricing scheme seems to be haphazardly enforced. In Singapore, prices of GeForce 9800 GTX+ still exceed those of the 4850 by quite a fair bit (around S$50), leaving buyers here looking for cards in that range with little choice but to go with ATI.

Still, the Radeon HD 4850 is by no means perfect. It has its own fair share of issues, and the most pressing one is heat. In our previous review of a reference 4850, we recorded the operating temperature of the core to be a whopping 82 degrees Celsius, making it one of the highest ever recorded. Even though this temperature is technically within the safety bounds for a modern GPU, it clearly has lots of room for improvement.

The HIS Radeon HD 4850 IceQ 4 Turbo X comes in a compact, dark blue box, with the word "IceQ 4" plastered prominently over it. The card itself, as you can see, comes in matching blue.

Enter HIS then, the Hong Kong-based graphics card vendor famous for its IceQ cooling solution with their own take - the HIS Radeon HD 4850 IceQ 4 Turbo X. They believe that their IceQ cooling solution, now in its fourth generation (hence IceQ 4), is exactly what the 4850 needs to keep cool. They even claim that it can bring gaming temperatures down by as much as 20%.

While that sounds all impressive and good, we'll reserve our judgment till we test it out for ourselves. The HIS Radeon HD 4850 IceQ 4 Turbo X not only sports the latest IceQ cooler, it is also factory-overclocked. So far, it's beginning to look like an unbeatable combination doesn't it? Read on to find out, but first, a quick look at the 4850 and some of its competitors.

Model HIS Radeon HD 4850 IceQ 4 Turbo X Radeon HD 4850 512MB NVIDA GeForce GTX 260 896MB NVIDIA GeForce 9800 GTX 512 MB ATI Radeon HD 3870 512 MB ATI Radeon HD 3870 X2 1GB
Core Code RV770 RV770 GT200 G92 RV670 R680 (RV670 x 2)
Transistor Count 956 million 956 million 1400 million 754 million 666 million 1332 million
Manufacturing Process 55nm 55nm 65nm 65nm 55nm 55nm
Core Clock 685MHz 625MHz 576MHz 675MHz 775MHz 825MHz
Stream Processors 160 Processors (800 Stream processing units) 160 Processors (800 Stream processing units) 192 Stream Processors 128 Stream Processors 64 Processors (320 Stream processing units) 128 Processors (640 Stream processing units)
Stream Processor Clock 685MHz 625MHz 1242MHz 1688MHz 775MHz 825MHz
Texture Mapping Units (TMU) or Texture Filtering (TF) units 40 40 64 64 32 32
Raster Operator units (ROP) 16 16 28 24 16 32
Memory Clock 2200MHz GDDR3 2000MHz GDDR3 1998MHz GDDR3 2200MHz GDDR3 2250MHz GDDR3 1800MHz GDDR3
DDR Memory Bus Width 256-bit 256-bit 448-bit 256-bit 256-bit 256-bit
Memory Bandwidth 70.4GB/s 64GB/s 111.9GB/s 70.4GB/s 72.0GB/s 115.2GB/s
PCI Express Interface PCIe ver 2.0 x16 PCIe ver 2.0 x16 PCIe ver 2.0 x16 PCIe ver 2.0 x16 PCIe ver 2.0 x16 PCIe ver 2.0 x16
Molex Power Connectors 1 x 6-pin 1 x 6-pin 2 x 6-pin 2 x 6-pin 1 x 6-pin 6-pin, 8-pin
Multi GPU Technology CrossFireX CrossFireX SLI SLI CrossFireX CrossFireX
DVI Output Support 2 x Dual-Link 2 x Dual-Link 2 x Dual-Link 2 x Dual-Link 2 x Dual-Link 2 x Dual-Link
HDCP Output Support Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Street Price ~US$199 ~US$199 ~US$299 ~US$170 ~US$120 ~US$220