4850 vs. 8800GT for a quiet, general-use PC

brettjrob

Senior member
Jul 1, 2003
214
0
71
I'm gathering parts for a new build, and have most recently been researching my options for graphics cards. I game some, but not frequently enough to justify spending more than $150-$175 on the latest and greatest.

From what I can tell, my best bets right now from NVIDIA and ATI are the 8800 GT and 4850, respectively. Given the small price difference between the two with a relatively large performance gap, I would be inclined to go with the 4850. The problem is that almost every review I read on NewEgg for these cards mentions excessive heat and the need to screw around with desktop programs to control fan speed.

I'm planning on using other quiet and energy-efficient components for this system, so I'd hate to spoil it with a 4850 if it's going to be putting out massive amounts of heat and make my room sound like an aircraft carrier. For anyone with experience using both, how big is the difference in heat output and fan noise between these two classes of cards?

FWIW, the 8800 GT I'm looking into is the eVGA version: http://www.newegg.com/Product/...x?Item=N82E16814130318
 

Sylvanas

Diamond Member
Jan 20, 2004
3,752
0
0
Originally posted by: brettjrob
I'm gathering parts for a new build, and have most recently been researching my options for graphics cards. I game some, but not frequently enough to justify spending more than $150-$175 on the latest and greatest.

From what I can tell, my best bets right now from NVIDIA and ATI are the 8800 GT and 4850, respectively. Given the small price difference between the two with a relatively large performance gap, I would be inclined to go with the 4850. The problem is that almost every review I read on NewEgg for these cards mentions excessive heat and the need to screw around with desktop programs to control fan speed.

I'm planning on using other quiet and energy-efficient components for this system, so I'd hate to spoil it with a 4850 if it's going to be putting out massive amounts of heat and make my room sound like an aircraft carrier. For anyone with experience using both, how big is the difference in heat output and fan noise between these two classes of cards?

FWIW, the 8800 GT I'm looking into is the eVGA version: http://www.newegg.com/Product/...x?Item=N82E16814130318
Depending on resolution and games you play you probably don't even need to shell out that much for a general use PC card (I assume the majority of the time it will be used for things other than gaming). Something like this would be a good quiet solution for light gaming. In regards to the 4850- on reference cooling it does run quite hot but you don't HAVE to modify any profiles, modern components are built to last operating at 100c so 80's infrequently under load is not something to be afraid of- stock 4850 is fine. If, however you want to put your mind at rest then you could look to spending a little more for custom cooled 4850's like this and this (the MSI is $162 MIR).
 

DaveSimmons

Elite Member
Aug 12, 2001
40,730
670
126
The 8800GT that came with my new Dell at work had a really annoying whine to it that wasn't steady, it went up and down in a pattern to drive me mad. I replaced it with a passivley-cooled 7300GS before I started thinking too much about taking a fire axe to it.

Anyway, that 3870 with a big, quiet cooler looks nice :)
 

QuixoticOne

Golden Member
Nov 4, 2005
1,855
0
0
They've both had their shares of heat / fan problems. I run both kinds of card and I'd guess I'd say the 8800GT
fan *control* is better handled now by the more mature drivers / firmware / 3rd party utilities than the 4850 is
given the remaining immaturity of the 4850 firmware / drivers / 3rd party utilities.

Given control and use of the best available manual settings for power conservation, fan speeds, I'd say the cards
become roughly equal. The difference is you may have to do a little more work (flash BIOS or at least tweak with
Catalyst Control Center's profile based fan settings) to tune the 4850, whereas it is a little easier with NVIDIA
because you can use programs like RivaTuner or NTUNE and not mess with the firmware.

I suspect in about one month you'll see tools like the ATITOOL, RivaTuner support controlling fan and clock settings
on the 4850 cards, and at that point it'll be just as easy to get either one to run as a desired level of quietness vs
temperature since you'd need one of the additional utilities for either model (NTUNE, RivaTuner, ATITOOL).

Additionally rumors about the upcoming Catalyst 8.8 release suggest that they may have improved their
PowerPlay 2.0 functionality which, if true, would mean better dynamic power conservation and temperature management
for the 4850.

Because of the performance advantage and roughly comparable power consumption I'd suggest going with a quality
build 4850 model like the VisionTek (due to its longer warranty et. al.). It'll be slightly more inconvenient at first
due to a temporary lack of RivaTuner support, but I suspect by the time you've had it a few weeks the better
Catalyst and currently available Fan profiles and future RivaTuner support will keep you happy enough.

Either card model runs unpleasantly hot under idle / 2D load, in the 55-60C+ range at fairly low fan speeds,
without much room to improve that without boosting the fan a little unless you do have more aggressive 4850 PowerPlay
firmware which some cards do and some don't. So if the stock fan speed is too loud for you
and you wanted something even quieter, you're possibly going to be unhappy without the firmware fix on the 4850
whereas there's nothing much to be done on the 8800 besides manually underclocking it in RivaTuner.
The good news is that the 4850 has more room for improvement since I believe they haven't even fully taken
advantage of its power conservation technologies.
Actually IIRC some users have 4850s with new firmware that cause them to run down as low as 160MHz idle
at which point I think you could really have the fan turned lower than even what I've experienced.

So I guess 4850 wins if you put some effort into maximizing the cooling / minimizing the clock rate while keeping the
fan at a quiet speed.
 

MarcVenice

Moderator Emeritus <br>
Apr 2, 2007
5,664
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Running hot and heaving a space heater are 2 different things. The 8800gt and the HD4850 put out very similar amounts of heat, there's roughly a 10w difference. The heat doesn't get dissipated on the HD4850 as fast though, because the fan runs a little slow. In the end, no matter how fast the fan spins, the heat still gets dumped into your room. Same thing with the 8800gt For similar prices I'd go with the HD4850, the one from MSI for $163 looks nice. If you ever get to do some real gaming, the HD4850 will hold up a lot better and longer then a 8800gt or a HD3870 for that matter.
 

ajaidevsingh

Senior member
Mar 7, 2008
563
0
0
Both run hot 4850 runs better when on same heat zone as the GT..

You can crank up the 4850's fan and that with up the noise vol...

Just buy a 4850 and a S1 "Noise zero"
 

zod96

Platinum Member
May 28, 2007
2,830
43
91
I've had both. And the 8800GT produces less heat, but is louder with the stock fan than the 4850. So the 4850 is quieter than the 800GT. But like ajaidevsingh said if you put a $25 S1 cooler on either card, you can run it passively with no fan and zero noise and your temps will be in the low 40's, so then you get the best of both worlds, heat and noise wise. So its up to you. If you game at 1280x1024, then get the GT with the S1 and if you game at 1680x1050 or above get the 4850 and the S1..
 

octopus41092

Golden Member
Feb 23, 2008
1,839
0
76
Actually, the HD4850 is very quiet. When I put it in I couldn't even hear it over my other fans. Now, the temps on the HD4850 are somewhat high but the card was designed to run at those temperatures. Now, you could always boost the fan speed on the HD4850 which would drop the temps but on the down side it would be a bit louder. But like ajaidevsingh and zod96 said you could put a Accelero S1 on it and it'd be completely silent and the temps at load would be lower than the temps on the stock at idle.
 

Zap

Elite Member
Oct 13, 1999
22,377
2
81
Originally posted by: nRollo
The 4850 is a better gaming card, but if "quiet" is the primary criteria, this is the best choice:

Fanless 8800GT for $109.99
I would actually have to agree with Rollo. :eek: My main rig (which is what I'm using right now) has this card in it. No need to spend $25-35 more on the S1 cooler separately. It even comes with the turbo module. picture
 

zod96

Platinum Member
May 28, 2007
2,830
43
91
Dam yeah I would agree too. That is one good price on the card. Go for that ECS 8800GT with the S1 already on it...
 

bryanW1995

Lifer
May 22, 2007
11,143
32
91
yeah, I saw that on hot deals earlier. that's $30 less than you can find a 4850, plus you will have absolutely no worries at all regarding card temps or fan noise. get the 8800gt with the accelero installed. let us know how it goes!
 

Golgatha

Lifer
Jul 18, 2003
12,254
622
126
Originally posted by: Sylvanas
Originally posted by: brettjrob
I'm gathering parts for a new build, and have most recently been researching my options for graphics cards. I game some, but not frequently enough to justify spending more than $150-$175 on the latest and greatest.

From what I can tell, my best bets right now from NVIDIA and ATI are the 8800 GT and 4850, respectively. Given the small price difference between the two with a relatively large performance gap, I would be inclined to go with the 4850. The problem is that almost every review I read on NewEgg for these cards mentions excessive heat and the need to screw around with desktop programs to control fan speed.

I'm planning on using other quiet and energy-efficient components for this system, so I'd hate to spoil it with a 4850 if it's going to be putting out massive amounts of heat and make my room sound like an aircraft carrier. For anyone with experience using both, how big is the difference in heat output and fan noise between these two classes of cards?

FWIW, the 8800 GT I'm looking into is the eVGA version: http://www.newegg.com/Product/...x?Item=N82E16814130318
Depending on resolution and games you play you probably don't even need to shell out that much for a general use PC card (I assume the majority of the time it will be used for things other than gaming). Something like this would be a good quiet solution for light gaming. In regards to the 4850- on reference cooling it does run quite hot but you don't HAVE to modify any profiles, modern components are built to last operating at 100c so 80's infrequently under load is not something to be afraid of- stock 4850 is fine. If, however you want to put your mind at rest then you could look to spending a little more for custom cooled 4850's like this and this (the MSI is $162 MIR).
Unless you volt mode the fan on that Sapphire card, it is much louder than the stock fan since it constantly spins at 1700rpm (even at idle). The MSI card is cooler, quieter, and cheaper than the Sapphire one. If you're going for quiet, I'd go for the MSI or get an Accelero S1 rev2 and go fanless from a stock 4850.
 
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