Sapphire Radeon HD4850 512MB Graphics Card Review

by Michael "SKYMTL" Hoenig     |     July 1, 2008

MX-2 & S1 Rev.2 Performance Testing

Unlike some heatsinks on the market, the S1 comes with several fan options for those of you who are a bit adventurous or even if you want a simple, no-nonsense solution.

In its stock form, the Accelero S1 is a passive heatsink which relies on a large surface area and your case’s natural internal airflow to cool off the GPU core. It does not come with a fan but has been proven to perform quite well in its passive form as long as the GPU’s core isn’t overclocked to insane speeds.

Arctic Cooling also offers its own fan solution in the form of the inexpensive “Turbo Module” which consists of a pair of frameless 80mm fans that clip onto S1’s fins. Retailing at under $10, this offers users increased cooling potential while minimizing the acoustical profile versus other fan solutions since the Turbo Module is very, very quite.

Another option many people gravitate towards is the installation of a single 120mm fan onto the top of the heatsink. Any 120mm fan will do and all you have to worry about is properly installing it. Want quiet cooling? Add a 1100RPM Scythe. Want extreme performance? Pop on a Delta 3000RPM dust-buster. Just be aware that faster isn’t always better since the four heatpipes on the S1 can only remove a certain amount of heat from the core no matter what speed fan you have running.

In order to attach a 120mm fan to this heatsink, you will need a pair of 6” zip ties (preferably black) which should be looped through the mounting holes on your chosen fan and then routed around the S1 itself. Make sure you don’t overly tighten them or you risk damaging the cooler.

The only issue with adding any fan to the S1 is that its overall height will naturally increase which will make installing two cards next to one another impossible on certain motherboards. If you want to run Crossfire while using the S1 with a fan installed, make sure that you have at least two PCI slots between the PCI-E slots you will be installing your cards in.

Performance Testing

So, after all of that we still have a few tests to run. We are going to go about this a bit differently this time since this cooler offers us so many options. There have also been some talk going around that replacing the stock thermal compound will yield much better temperatures on the stock cooler. I should warn you before you see these results: they WILL want to make you go out and buy an aftermarket cooler to replace that lackluster stock cooler. Warranties be damned

So, here is what we tested with:

- Application of Arctic Cooling MX-2 on stock heatsink
- Passive mode relying on case airflow for cooling
- Arctic Cooling Turbo Module installed
- Yate Loon 120mm D12BL-12 1200RPM fan installed

Please note that all tests were conducted in a closed Gigabyte Aurora 570 case with a single Noctua NF-S12 120mm fan (1200RPM) placed 6” away from the edge of the card on the hard drive bay.

Well, these are some very interesting results so let’s start off with the thermal compound change. In my opinion, replacing the stock thermal compound doesn’t give a large enough performance difference to justify voiding your warranty. At idle there is zero difference while after an hour of full load there was only a 3 degree difference in peak load values.

Passive mode offers some absolutely amazing cooling benefits considering it does so in utter and complete silence. The only caveat to this is that you have to make sure there is sufficient in-case airflow to warrant going this route. If your case does not offer properly placed front intake fan placement, there is a real danger of your GPU overheating when using the S1 without a fan.

The other two options we have listed above a naturally the best performing. Both with the Turbo Module and with the 120mm fan installed, the Arctic Cooling S1 Rev.2 was really able to shine and lowered load temperatures by a stunning39 and 44 degrees respectively. With this kind of cooling performance it is a real shame that you have to void your warranty to install any aftermarket cooler. That being said, if you are looking for a new heatsink for your HD4850, we highly recommend you take a look at the S1 Rev.2 since it offers an amazing value for your money.

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