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Mid-range matchup: ASUS GTS 250 Dark Knight and Sapphire HD 4850 Vapor

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The ASUS GeForce GTS 250 Dark Knight

Introduction

The world of graphics is...interesting to say the least.  I know many of you would call the move from $1000 GPUs being the king of the proverbial hill to $250 cards dominating that space to be less exciting, but there is no arguing that it is more affordable.  We have seen our fair share of new graphics cards hit the market with one prevailing trend: performance is getting cheap; really cheap.

In March we saw the GeForce GTS 250 take over the space of the 9800 GTX+ while lowering the price and most recently the AMD Radeon HD 4770 brought the world the first 40nm GPU and a handy $99 price tag.  And the Radeon HD 4850 is still a dominant force selling for the $130 range.  Which brings us to today's article comparing a couple of new cards we had sitting around the office both of which are overclocked and offer more features than their reference sidekicks. 

The ASUS GeForce GTS 250 Dark Knight 512MB

The ASUS GeForce GTS 250 Dark Knight edition (no relation to Batman though) is a custom cooled version of the popular GPU that is slightly more attractive.

The cooler design is an open air design that uses a set of four heatpipes to transfer heat from the GPU to the fins across the card.

The clock speeds on the ASUS card are pretty close to reference: 740 MHz core clock, 1836 MHz shader clock and 2200 MHz GDDR3 memory speeds. 


The back of the card is pretty much blank as all the memory is located on the front.


The connectors on the card include a pair of dual-link DVI outputs, one of which supports DVI-to-HDMI adaptors (the yellow one).  There is also a connector that supports component HDTV output on the far left.

The GTS 250 DK uses a single 6-pin power connector.


The heatsink on the ASUS GTS 250 DK is actually only actively being cooled is the GPU - the memory is left to be passively air cooled.  The fan does push moving air over the memory chips and we didn't have any problems NOT having heatsinks on them. 


In the box with the ASUS card are all the various cables you should need to get running.  There is a digital audio cable to pass sound through the yellow DVI-to-HDMI adaptor, a DVI-to-VGA adaptor, HDTV output dongle, Molex-to-PCIe power converter and drivers and installation directions.  
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