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Radeon HD 4850 Vs. GeForce GTS 250: Non-Reference Battle

Overclocking the GV-N250ZL-1GI Using Gigabyte’s Gamer HUD Lite

Because Gigabyte doesn’t offer any voltage control for the GV-N250ZL-1GI, overclocking the card is a very straightforward affair. Just increase the clocks and stress test for artifacts. No artifacts? Increase the clocks some more. Artifacts present? Decrease the clocks. Rinse and repeat.

Gigabyte claims a 10% to 30% increase in overclocking ability over competing GeForce GTS 250 cards. That’s a pretty tough thing to measure, seeing as how every card will overclock a little differently. How will we put that to the test? With colossal variances in every card, let’s throw together a useless and pseudo-scientific methodology just for fun.

First off, we have to consider that the GPU in the GTS 250 is already close to its ceiling at stock speeds. Remember, this is the exact same GPU as the older GeForce 9800 GTX+, which is itself an overclocked and die-shrunk GeForce 9800 GTX released with an original 675 MHz clock speed. It’s not uncommon for a GeForce GTS 250 to top out under 780 MHz with stock cooling.

For the sake of argument, let’s say most cards can make it to 800 MHz, which is a 62 MHz overclock. So, for Gigabyte’s claim of a 10% overclocking increase, we’ll say that most GV-N250ZL-1GI cards should be able to get to at least 806.2 MHz on the GPU. Hey, let’s round it up to 807 MHz to keep things clean. Did the GV-N250ZL-1GI beat the spread?

It sure did. With absolutely no modifications except to raw clock speeds, our sample GV-N250ZL-1GI made it to 815 MHz rock-solid stable. That’s a 20% increase over an "expected" overclock according to our unscientific calculation.

In all seriousness, an 815 MHz core clock and a 1,925 MHz shader clock are very good results for a stock GeForce GTS 250 without as much as a fan-speed increase. Sure, the 2,210 MHz memory overclock could have been better, but memory is often more of a challenge.

Of course, we have to question how much the Ultra Durable VGA feature is responsible for this overclock compared to the sweet, quiet Zalman cooler. But the bottom line is that for whatever reason, the GV-N250ZL-1GI gave us a respectable overclocking result. Now, let’s see where those overclocks get us when it comes to performance.