Sapphire TOXIC HD 4850 (512MB GDDR3 PCI-E)
A taste of poison paradise
- Great performance for the asking price, reduced card size, Zalman heat-pipe fan keeps things nice and cool
- Fan obscures adjacent expansion slot, no 'ninja babe' artwork
The Sapphire TOXIC HD 4850 (512MB GDDR3 PCI-E) is an excellent factory-overclocked graphics card that will offer mainstream gamers plenty of bang for their buck. Cool, fast and energy-efficient: what's not to love?
Price$ 295.00 (AUD)
We’ve never really understood Sapphire’s decision to call its factory overclocked cards ‘toxic’. The idea of noxious chemicals simmering inside our PC doesn’t strike us as a particularly marketable image — but maybe we just need to bone up on our street lingo. Ominous naming aside, this latest addition to the Toxic range is an excellent mid-range graphics card based on the award-winning ATI Radeon HD 4850. With increased clock speeds over the standard HD 4850 board and a premium Zalman heat-pipe fan, it is arguably the ‘sickest’ Toxic card yet (sorry).
If you’ve been hiding under a rock for the past few months, allow us to give you a quick debriefing on ATI’s new Radeon 4800 Series graphics cards (of which the HD 4850 is the entry-level model). Codenamed RV770, the new chip offers some notable improvements over its RV670 predecessor; including a huge boost in the number of stream processors — up from 320 to 800. Other notable improvements include an increased transistor count (from 666 million to 965 million), a substantial leap in texture units (40, rather than 16), and a 256-bit wide memory interface.
For its Toxic edition, Sapphire has added some additional tweaks to the ATI reference board to boost its speed and efficiency. Its core clock speed now stands at 675MHz, while its memory clock speed has been increased to 1100MHz. This is an increase of 50MHz and 107Mz, respectively. In addition, the board has been extensively redesigned with an improved cooling solution tailor-made for overclockers.
With its basic, stripped-down design and lack of obligatory bimbo artwork, the Toxic HD 4850 almost looks like a self-modded DIY job. Its dimensions are significantly smaller than the standard HD 4850 board, which should prove very handy for Crossfire configurations (it also uses a single six-pin PCI-E power connector, which will reduce clutter inside your PC even further).
The board’s front is dominated by the copper Zalman heat-pipe fan, which unfortunately protrudes over the motherboard’s adjacent expansion slot. On the plus side, it allows the card to run at vastly reduced temperatures, regardless of what you throw at it. When running idle, the Toxic HD 4850’s GPU hovered at around the 40 degree mark — less than half the temperature of the ATI reference board. When under load, the card still managed to keep below 60 degrees, which is not bad for a factory-overclocked model. For hardcore gamers who want to squeeze the most out of their GPU, this cooling solution will be a big plus. It also makes for a quieter operation.
Now that we’ve taken a look at the Toxic HD 4850’s features and overall design, let’s get down to those all-important benchmarks. Just how much extra grunt does it offer over its vanilla cousin? In an attempt to find out, we compared our test results to Force3D’s Radeon HD 4850 , which is identical to the ATI reference board. The results were universally favourable.
In 3DMark 06, the Sapphire card received an overall score of 12,630. This was an improvement of 712 marks over the Force3D Radeon HD 4850. In the game F.E.A.R., the Toxic HD 4850 averaged 102 frames per second (fps), compared to 93fps from the Force3D model. Half-Life 2 also returned a faster result on the Sapphire: 176fps vs. 167fps. While none of these differences are huge, they will make a real-world difference to gaming. We also saw improvements in our DirectX 10 gaming tests. When we ran the notorious system-hog Crysis, the Toxic HD 4850 averaged 23.9fps. This was significantly faster than the Force3D card’s result of 16.7fps. The Sapphire model also trumped the Force3D in our other DX10 gaming tests, including Call of Juarez (47.9fps vs. 42.4fps) and Lost Planet: Extreme Conditions (31fps vs. 27fps).
The results speak for themselves: the Sapphire Toxic HD 4850 offers a faster performance than its Radeon equivalents for much the same price. As such, it can be viewed as an excellent choice for enthusiasts on a budget. Furthermore, the bundled software (including Cyberlink’s DVD Suite and Sapphire’s Ruby Rom) bolsters its value even further.
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Smart LED Bulb LB130
Samsung portable 1TB T3 drive
Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop
Linksys AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit router
Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive
Everki ContemPRO Roll Top Laptop Backpack
UE Boom 2 Bluetooth speaker
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
Google Daydream VR headset
Huawei Mate 9
Lexar® Portable SSD
Acer Swift 7
HP Pavilion x360 13”
Surface Pro 4
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
Dell XPS 13 laptop
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Star Wars Death Star Bluetooth levitating rotating speaker review
- 2 Finally! LG OLED TV 2016 range review
- 3 Fetch TV Mighty review: Better than Foxtel
- 4 Fetch TV Mini review: Make your TV a smart TV
- 5 Panasonic Viera DX900U UHD 4K smart TV review
Latest News Articles
- Intel Coffee Lake 8th-gen Core processors release date rumours
- Intel's mobile future is in blazing modems as it buries Atom failure
- PC prices will continue to go up due to shortage of components
- Radeon Vega vs. GeForce GTX 1080 Ti? AMD, Nvidia announce dueling events at GDC 2017
- Toshiba's in chaos, but not quitting PCs -- yet
PCW Evaluation Team
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
- Horizon Zero Dawn review
- How to quit Pokemon Go (or to start enjoying it again)
- Japan's pop culture, anime-friendly, J-Pop shrine, Kanda Myojin
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- CCSharepoint Business AnalystACT
- CCIT Procurement OfficerNSW
- TPDrupal Developer - Immediate startQLD
- FTDatabase Modelling SpecialistACT
- FTSAP BOBJ ConsultantACT
- CCTransport Planner - GIS SpecialistNSW
- FTLevel 2 Technical Support OfficerQLD
- CCIT Solutions ArchitectQLD
- TPWinforms DevelopersWA
- CCTest AnalystQLD
- FTDeveloper/ ProgrammerSA
- CCData Migration Consultant - LeadNSW
- FTSnr SOC Security Coordinator - Perm - North Ryde areaNSW
- FTFront-End DevOps Developer/Consultant - IT Services - SydneyNSW
- FTLead PMONSW
- TPSenior Project Manager - ReinsuranceNSW
- TPInsights ManagerWA
- TPPerformance Test Analyst - Perth BasedQLD
- TPSpatial Science OfficerQLD
- FTSenior Security Sales SpecialistVIC
- TPSenior Business AnalystQLD
- CCSenior Infrastructure EngineerNSW
- CCNetwork EngineerNSW
- FTDynamics AX Functional Consultant (Sales & Marketing Modules)VIC
- CCProject SpecialistVIC