When it comes to performance there was no doubt that the ASUS EAH5850 TOP was faster than a reference Radeon HD 5850. In all of our game tests we saw a slight performance increase thanks to the 40MHz GPU speed boost and 125MHz memory boost.
With the new Direct CU cooler and increased performance, this card is a decent value at $339.99 plus $1.99 shipping. However, what really sells this card is how well it overclocks! This thing is an absolute monster, reaching 1000MHz GPU core and 1200MHz memory. While these are not record breaking clocks, the fact that the bundled cooler is easily able to cope with the additional heat and do so at low noise levels. When you add in that ASUS gives you a utility to up the voltage and still backs it up with a 3-year warranty, it’s really to overlook the $20 price difference between a reference Radeon HD 5850 and the ASUS EAH5850 TOP.
Power consumption is well within reason for an overclocked card. Do note that once you push speeds towards 1GHz on the core that you will see a marked increase in power consumption. We saw 50-60w greater peak power draw.
Heat and noise are both well under control thanks to the Direct CU heat sink. This is a great addition to the card, my only complaint is that it would be nice if it weren’t dumping heat into the system. I suppose that’s one of the tradeoff’s for being able to lower the temperature of the graphics card.
When comparing between the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 470 and our ASUS EAH5850 TOP, it undercuts the cheapest GTX 470 by $20 and when overclocked puts out numbers that would rival the $499.99 GTX 480.
For a gamer whose not afraid of getting down and dirty with an overclock, the ASUS EAH5850 TOP is a great alternative to the more expensive Radeon HD 5870 at $399.99 shipped. Performance at 1000/1200 is a step above the reference speeds of the $70 more expensive card.
All in all, this is a great card for someone looking for top shelf gaming performance on a modest budget. You get the best of both worlds with low power consumption, and with a couple clicks of the mouse, incredible speed in your favorite games.
Legit Bottom Line: The ASUS EAH5850 TOP is an incredible value for the gamer wanting to play the latest games. With a “modest” $339 price tag, a custom GPU cooler, and overclocking performance that gives the $500 cards a run for their money, this card should be on every enthusiast gamers short list!