HIS and Sapphire Radeon HD 4850 Face Off

Performance Summary and Conclusion


Performance Summary:  In direct comparisons with its main competition, the Radeon HD 4850 finds itself in a nice spot currently - right near the top of the charts overall, and one of the elite cards in the sub-$200 price range.  That said, both of the cards featured in this article come pre-overclocked which only helps their performance even more.  The 10 MHz advantage in the HIS card's GPU speed and the 50 MHz advantage in memory speed on the Sapphire card, pretty much canceled out any advantages one card may have had over the other, and we found that the HIS and Sapphire cards ended up in a virtual tie throughout our benchmark testing. 

HIS Radeon HD 4850 IceQ4 TurboX:  With their sixth iteration based on the Radeon HD 4850, we see that HIS isn't content with just pushing out boring reference cards.  The IceQ4 cooler that's on this card really hit the mark, offering lower temperatures than we're used to seeing for the HD 4850 without any extra heft.  HIS has also pumped up the core speed on  this TurboX model card to a speedy 685 MHz, which measurably increased its performance over a reference Radeon HD 4850.

Of course, we were able to do some additional overclocking using AMD's GPU Clock Tool.  The final result was 775 MHz - a full 150 MHz over the reference card's specifications.  While overclocked, we managed to get tantalizingly close to numbers posted by the HD 4870, which is priced nearly $100 more than the HD 4850.  With prices currently hovering just under $200 for the HIS Radeon HD 4850 IceQ4 TurboX, we think this card is a solid buy.

  • IceQ4 Cooler
  • Great overclocking results
  • Sub-$200 card with great performance
  • Requires two slots to install
  • Runs hotter than the competition while at idle


Sapphire Toxic Radeon HD 4850 512M:  Sapphire's entry, much like HIS', comes pre-overclocked and sporting a fancy dual-slot cooler.  The core speed has been raised to 675 MHz, 10 MHz slower than HIS, but the memory has been boosted up to 1150 MHz which is 50 MHz faster.  As we've seen in the benchmarks, these speed variances cancel each other out for the most part, as the two cards put up as close to similar frame rates as you'll see in a face-off such as this one.

Even with the large copper Zalman cooler, however, we found that overclocking Sapphire's Toxic card wasn't as healthy a proposition as it was with the HIS card.  Our final results of 756 MHz for the GPU and 1166 MHz for the memory couldn't match HIS.  Additionally, in load testing or while overclocked, we saw temperatures creep up much higher than we saw with HIS' IceQ4 cooler, stopping just shy of 70'C.  While this is a definite improvement over temperatures achieved with stock reference coolers, it's still something to keep in mind.  Throw in the extra $10 dollar premium that the Sapphire Toxic Radeon HD 4850 commands over the HIS card, and it's easy to see which came out on top.


  • Uses an all copper, low noise-output heatink from Zalman 
  • Factory overclocked
  • Comes with good assortment of games and applications
  • Another dual-slot cooler
  • Not as great an overclocker as the HIS card

Our Final Verdict:  Overall, Sapphire has put out another fine product with the Toxic Radeon HD 4850, but when push comes to shove in the crowded graphic card arena, the HIS Radeon HD 4850 IceQ4 TurboX seems to be the better buy at this time. 

Tags:  Radeon, Sapphire, HD, App, 4850, HIS, Radeon HD, SAP, AC, AP, and

Related content