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After every new graphics card is introduced, a flurry of clones from different manufacturers hits the market. The reason is simple: in order to be competitive, and to get products out at the same time as the other vendors, there is little room for customization. Regardless of the manufacturer, the first version of any new graphics card is almost always based closely on the reference design that either AMD or Nvidia provides. As vendors launch carbon copies of the PCB board and coolers, there is little reason to compare one manufacturer’s version against the others, unless you’re looking at warranty and bundle details.
But after a while, some companies get creative, providing a truly unique spin on the product. Sometimes a unique cooler is used, sometimes the buyer is given more control over things like voltages and overclocks, and sometimes the entire PCB is redesigned. Reviewing these non-reference solutions is usually a much more interesting proposition, which brings us to our comparison here.
By now, the mid-range battle between the Radeon HD 4850 and the GeForce GTS 250 is no secret, and it’s common knowledge that either of these cards offers competitive and compelling performance at very reasonable prices. But how do the unique implementations of these products compare?
Enter the Gigabyte GV-N250ZL-1GI and Asus EAH4850 MT. We put these two cards through their paces to really see if either of these unique offerings can break the stalemate between the garden-variety Radeon HD 4850 and the vanilla GeForce GTS 250.
Let’s start alphabetically with Asus' card.