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AMD ATI Radeon HD 4850 - Power Consumption and Verdict

By Edward Chester



  • Recommended by TR
AMD ATI Radeon HD 4850


Our Score:


Being as the HD 4850 uses the same chip as the HD 4870, you'd expect it to have roughly the same power consumption figures. However, the change in clock speeds and memory type obviously makes quite a difference as this is the most power efficient card on test when idle and only draws more power than the significantly slower nVidida 9600 GT under load.

So, if you want a relatively small single slot, power efficient, yet fast graphics card the ATI HD 4850 would certainly seem to fit the bill perfectly. If you then want an extra performance boost, going for an overclocked card certainly seems to pay dividends as well.

We're still rather concerned with this card's heat output, though - to the extent that we'd hesitate to recommend it for small form factor cases like Shuttle PCs, which would normally be a natural environment for a single slot card. That said, for more well ventilated cases the heat shouldn't pose a problem.

One final problem for the HD 4850 is actually the HD 4870. With both nVidia and ATI fighting a fierce price war around the £200 mark, the HD 4850 has been left behind a bit and is now only £50 cheaper than the HD 4870. While that's still a fair chunk of change, if your motivation for buying the HD 4850 is purely financial (as opposed to wanting the single slot form factor, or lower power consumption) then saving for a few more weeks for the HD 4870 would be a sensible bet because the boost in performance is significant.


The ATI HD 4850 doesn't quite have the stunning price/performance ratio that earned the HD 4870 an Editors Choice award. However, it is still a very attractive option for those that simply can't push there budget further. Performance and power consumption are class leading and on every other level its on a par with the competition so all in all it gets a solid Recommended.

Overall Score


Scores In Detail

  • Performance 7
  • Value 9
  • Features 10


July 21, 2008, 4:11 pm

Very interesting results, especially Crysis. Given the feature set is identical between the 4850 and 4870 you'd expect the only differences be due to slightly increased clock speed and significantly increased memory bandwidth. That being the case the OC'd 4850, especially if the memory is OC'd, should bring performance closer to the 4870 - as in fact the other games show.

So what's going on in Crysis - driver optimisations for the 4870? Heat throttling for the 4850?


February 6, 2009, 10:16 pm

I got this card (the 4850) built-in the Dell Studio XPS (currently in production, hasn't shipped yet). I am not a gamer at all and personally only care about the connections that the card allows me to do: I noticed two DVI outputs and one s-video output. Does this mean that I can connect simultaneously (a) two computer monitors (one for each DVI) plus a TV through the s-video or (b) one computer monitor to one DVI output and a TV to the other DVI output? I would really love to be right in my guess. And this is pure guess, as I am not very familiar with the terminology of graphics cards (my old PC packs a whopping 64MB graphics card and I don't even know the brand). I would really appreciate it if someone would clear this little doubt of mine. Thanks.

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