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Old Mar 3, 2009, 07:37 AM   #1
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Gainward GTS 250 / XFX 4850 XXX Review @ DH

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Over the last week or two there has been heated debate online regarding the latest graphics card from Nvidia. This kind of discussion is usually reserved for the latest high end product but in this case it is a mainstream model, the GTS 250.

Today we publish our results on a week’s worth of testing and find out if it really is such a controversial card or if it is worth talking about for completely different reasons. In addition to this we will take a look at another Radeon card … the XFX 4850 XXX which shares a similar price point to the GTS 250.
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Old Mar 3, 2009, 08:18 AM   #2
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Re: Gainward GTS 250 / XFX 4850 XXX Review @ DH

Great review guys. I was just after reading the guru3d mess of a review. They got a 2gb model and in the conclusion said there was no difference. Yet they failed to test it correctly in such games as GTA4 which really uses the memory.

Keep up the good work DH !
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Old Mar 3, 2009, 08:24 AM   #3
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Re: Gainward GTS 250 / XFX 4850 XXX Review @ DH

Which of both is the most silent?
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Old Mar 3, 2009, 08:47 AM   #4
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Re: Gainward GTS 250 / XFX 4850 XXX Review @ DH

150£ is to high, this should be more like 120-125£, considering a 4850 goes for almost 110£...Interesting card though, could be the new lower midend king, if prices drop a bit.
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Old Mar 3, 2009, 09:14 AM   #5
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Re: Gainward GTS 250 / XFX 4850 XXX Review @ DH

I thought the 4850 more then held it own but the rebranded NVIDIA card still performs well
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Old Mar 3, 2009, 03:21 PM   #6
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Re: Gainward GTS 250 / XFX 4850 XXX Review @ DH

The video conversion result, was the ATI one done with Avivo (GPU versus GPU) or without GPU acceleration (GPU versus CPU).

The other thing, when comparing GPU powered conversion...

ATI give you Avivo for free
If you want conversion acceleration with your Nvidia, it's an extra $29.99 to buy Badaboom
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Last edited by Matth; Mar 3, 2009 at 03:26 PM.
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Old Mar 3, 2009, 06:41 PM   #7
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Re: Gainward GTS 250 / XFX 4850 XXX Review @ DH

thx for the review. while i am not thrilled with rebranding thing- i think calling it someting along lines of the 9800 series instead of trying to pass it of as next gen 200 sereis would be more appropriate. that aside it is a good card, tho i think the price point could be 5%-10% lower.
i have been thinking about getting a 9800gtx+ as adedicated physx card down the road a little bit. i would definetly get this instead.
think you guys ahould have included a 9800gtx+ in the test.
& i think matth makes a very good point- for those that use this feature. taht adds around 20% to the cost of the nv.
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Old Mar 3, 2009, 06:52 PM   #8
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Re: Gainward GTS 250 / XFX 4850 XXX Review @ DH

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matth View Post
The video conversion result, was the ATI one done with Avivo (GPU versus GPU) or without GPU acceleration (GPU versus CPU).

The other thing, when comparing GPU powered conversion...

ATI give you Avivo for free
If you want conversion acceleration with your Nvidia, it's an extra $29.99 to buy Badaboom
The ATI results were created on Adobe Media Encoder (CPU) for 2 reasons. 1) The output provided by Avivo is less than desirable in terms of quality when compared to badaboom. 2) Avivo convertor does not currently work on 64bit windows. It was taken down by ATI due to various bugs.

When ATI have it up and running to a suitable quality we will add it into future comparisons.
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Old Mar 3, 2009, 06:55 PM   #9
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Re: Gainward GTS 250 / XFX 4850 XXX Review @ DH

Quote:
Originally Posted by lepel View Post
Which of both is the most silent?
They are very, very similar in terms of noise. The XFX just shaded it though... whether it would be noticable in most systems is debatable.
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Old Mar 3, 2009, 07:56 PM   #10
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Re: Gainward GTS 250 / XFX 4850 XXX Review @ DH

Ty for the answer. Does the 4850 make noise like a hurricane on startup? My 4870x2 does. And how silent would the 4850 be compared to a normal 4870x2? Sorry for bothering you with these annoying questions.
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Old Mar 3, 2009, 08:10 PM   #11
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Re: Gainward GTS 250 / XFX 4850 XXX Review @ DH

Quote:
When ATI have it up and running to a suitable quality we will add it into future comparisons.
that is interesting. since i have a large, very nice ht, i have never used either of these. just kinda assumed they were fairly equal.
what i get for assuming lol.
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Old Mar 3, 2009, 08:56 PM   #12
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Re: Gainward GTS 250 / XFX 4850 XXX Review @ DH

Quote:
Originally Posted by lepel View Post
Ty for the answer. Does the 4850 make noise like a hurricane on startup? My 4870x2 does. And how silent would the 4850 be compared to a normal 4870x2? Sorry for bothering you with these annoying questions.
no, the XFX XXX is much quieter when first enabled and when under load. Its even quieter than the fan that comes on things like the reference 4670... they really have done well with that cooler.
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Old Mar 3, 2009, 09:34 PM   #13
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Re: Gainward GTS 250 / XFX 4850 XXX Review @ DH

Well, thanks for answering my questions. This card may be an interesting choice then for the new pc I have in mind. +1
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Old Mar 4, 2009, 01:39 AM   #14
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Re: Gainward GTS 250 / XFX 4850 XXX Review @ DH

Another excellent review Stu and both cards look good actually. Noted your comments on how quiet the 4870 is quite impressive overall.

Here's a dumb question for ya is there a formal benchmark for Mirror's Edge? I am still playing with this PhysX experiment here.
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Old Mar 4, 2009, 10:19 AM   #15
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Re: Gainward GTS 250 / XFX 4850 XXX Review @ DH

Another great review, I've got a pretty good idea where the newcomer stands now. Another good news comes from AMD, I read that they will slash the prices of 4850 512MB and 4870 512MB. The former is to come down to $129, which is the expected price of GTS 250 512MB, and the latter to $149 which will probably be the price of the faster GTSs. Also, Radeon 4870 1GB is to come down to $199.
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Old Mar 4, 2009, 11:36 AM Threadstarter Thread Starter   #16
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Re: Gainward GTS 250 / XFX 4850 XXX Review @ DH

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Another great review, I've got a pretty good idea where the newcomer stands now. Another good news comes from AMD, I read that they will slash the prices of 4850 512MB and 4870 512MB. The former is to come down to $129, which is the expected price of GTS 250 512MB, and the latter to $149 which will probably be the price of the faster GTSs. Also, Radeon 4870 1GB is to come down to $199.
Yeah, the XFX 4850 512 XXX dropped £25 in the time we started testing to when the review went live. its £125 now, great price.
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Old Mar 4, 2009, 11:47 AM   #17
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Re: Gainward GTS 250 / XFX 4850 XXX Review @ DH

Grate review i wonder when Nvidia is going to deal with this issue coz its not the first time i see it on a DH review

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NOTE: We contacted Nvidia to request an updated build with support for Aero when playing HD content. At this time no build is available, hopefully this will change in the near future.
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Old Mar 4, 2009, 12:40 PM   #18
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Re: Gainward GTS 250 / XFX 4850 XXX Review @ DH

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Originally Posted by Mac Daddy View Post
Here's a dumb question for ya is there a formal benchmark for Mirror's Edge? I am still playing with this PhysX experiment here.
There is a built in timedemo/flythrough. We used that on a previous article to show (video file) the differences between PhysX on and off. In terms of actually benchmarking with it, no idea how good/bad it is. We always use real gameplay to test so I haven't even recorded the framerates on the bench.
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Old Mar 4, 2009, 12:46 PM   #19
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Re: Gainward GTS 250 / XFX 4850 XXX Review @ DH

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There is a built in timedemo/flythrough. We used that on a previous article to show (video file) the differences between PhysX on and off. In terms of actually benchmarking with it, no idea how good/bad it is. We always use real gameplay to test so I haven't even recorded the framerates on the bench.
OK thanks for the reply Stu will play with that a bit and see how it goes

I didn't see anything to record actual frame rates on the bench either. What I am experimenting with is using XP ATM so I can't run Vantage to test differences with or without PhysX.
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Old Mar 4, 2009, 07:18 PM   #20
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Re: Gainward GTS 250 / XFX 4850 XXX Review @ DH

Considering the ATI card is £25 less its a very nice option. Not sure of the 512meg of ram though, might be limiting at high resolution in forthcoming games, probably why they are doing a 1gb version.
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Old Mar 4, 2009, 11:19 PM   #21
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Re: Gainward GTS 250 / XFX 4850 XXX Review @ DH

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Originally Posted by Mac Daddy View Post
OK thanks for the reply Stu will play with that a bit and see how it goes

I didn't see anything to record actual frame rates on the bench either. What I am experimenting with is using XP ATM so I can't run Vantage to test differences with or without PhysX.
Fraps is what you want to use.
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Old Mar 5, 2009, 12:31 AM   #22
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Re: Gainward GTS 250 / XFX 4850 XXX Review @ DH

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Fraps is what you want to use.
That's exactly what I needed thanks for the help Stu

Not to go too far off topic but some quick questions on Mirrors Edge during the testing. I am using the Domino ALC here as you did on the tests and played around with the game on my 4870 for a few hours Sunday night. I happened to glance over and noted my coolant temp was sitting at 30C(performance setting) it idles at 24C in the Tempest case. Thats pretty high with this O/C running OCCT CPU stress test I think the coolant only hit 31C (I didn't record the core temps but will next time).

My questions(s) are:

1) Did you find that game CPU intensive?

2) If so did using the NV card with PhysX enabled take any noticeable load off the CPU during testing as compared to the ATI card?
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