HIS Radeon HD 5850 Review :
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HIS Radeon HD 5850 Review

Date: 2009-10-29

   Weaker, but CheaperThe graphics war is looking more and more one-sided these days as ATI continues to pour out its latest Evergreen (Radeon 5000) series of cards. Just weeks after the range-top...

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Weaker, but Cheaper

The graphics war is looking more and more one-sided these days as ATI continues to pour out its latest Evergreen (Radeon 5000) series of cards. Just weeks after the range-topping Radeon HD 5870 and HD 5850, the dudes in red followed up with their mainstream offerings, the HD 5770 and HD 5750. NVIDIA, on the other hand, has only the scrawny budget-class GeForce GT 220 to show for in recent months and its next-generation Fermi (GT300) cards are still nowhere to be seen.

Today, we are going to take a look at the Radeon HD 5850, what should be ATI's second-fastest GPU ever. Launched alongside the stunningly quick Radeon HD 5870, the Radeon HD 5850 hasn't quite received the attention bestowed on its more powerful sibling has. Living in the shadows of the HD 5870, the HD 5850 is a diluted version of the range-topping HD 5870. It sports fewer stream processors and lower clock speeds, but at US$259, it also means that it's considerably cheaper.

HIS Radeon HD 5850 Review
Our copy of the HIS Radeon HD 5850 comes bundled with a redeemable copy of Dirt 2 when it comes out later this year.

In terms of specifications, while the HD 5870 has 1600 stream processors, 80 texture mapping units, the less powerful HD 5850 has to make do with 1440 stream processors, 72 texture mapping units. The HD 5850 also gets bumped down clock speeds, 725MHz at the core and 4000MHz DDR at the memory, compared to the HD 5870's 750MHz and 4800MHz DDR. Happily, raster operating units stays the same at 32, and the HD 5850 also gets the same 256-bit wide memory bus width, so that should compensate, if only somewhat, for the fewer stream processors and lower clock speeds.

Despite being a weaker variant of the Radeon HD 5870, the specifications of Radeon HD 5850 is still leaps and bounds ahead of ATI's last generation flagship, the Radeon HD 4890, and it should be interesting to see what kind of performance it'll give. Here's a quick look at how the HD 5850 stacks up against competitive SKUs.

HIS Radeon HD 5850 Review

The ATI Radeon HD 5850 Compared
ModelATI Radeon HD 5850 1GBATI RadeonHD 58701GBATI Radeon HD 4870 X2 2GBATI RadeonHD 48901GBNVIDIAGeForce GTX 285 1GBNVIDIAGeForceGTX 275 896MBNVIDIA GeForce GTX 260+896MB
StreamProcessors1440Stream Processing Units1600Stream Processing Units 1600Stream Processing Units800Stream Processing Units240Stream Processors240Stream Processors216Stream Processors
StreamProcessor Clock725MHz850MHz750MHz850MHz1476MHz1404MHz1242MHz
TextureMapping Units (TMU) or Texture Filtering (TF)units72808040808072
RasterOperator units (ROP)32323216322828
DDRMemory Bus256-bit256-bit256-bit256-bit512-bit448-bit448-bit
PCIExpress InterfacePCIever 2.0 x16PCIever 2.0 x16PCIever 2.0 x16PCIever 2.0 x16PCIever 2.0 x16PCIever 2.0 x16PCIever 2.0 x16
MolexPower Connectors2x 6-pin2 x 6-pin 2x 6-pin2 x6-pin2 x6-pin2x 6-pin2x 6-pin
MultiGPU TechnologyCrossFireXCrossFireXCrossFireXCrossFireXSLISLISLI
DVIOutput Support2x Dual-Link2 xDual-Link2x Dual-Link2 xDual-Link2 xDual-Link2x Dual-Link2x Dual-Link
HDCPOutput SupportYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
StreetPriceLaunchprice: US$259Launchprice: US$379~US$360~US$200~US$350~US$230~US$200

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