In our previous review on the Radeon HD 5870 graphics card we showed you that the Radeon HD 5800 series appears to live up to the hype and is the real deal when it comes to performance on DirectX 9/10/10.1 game titles. We can only hope that it also performs just as well on DirectX 11 game titles as the Radeon 5800 series is something that anyone upgrading to Windows 7 should be looking into.
The ATI Radeon HD 5850 that we highlighted here today might be smaller and cost less than the Radeon HD 5870, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t still a great gaming graphics card. The 1440 stream processors operating at a core clock frequency of 725MHz are still more than enough horse power to play all the latest game titles. The Radeon HD 5850 will be the DirectX 11 card to have for overclockers looking for the biggest bang for the buck.
Since the Radeon HD 5850 PCB is only 9.5″ in length and the load temperatures have gone down, the Radeon HD 5850 is something that would work great in a mid-tower system as it should fit and not cook everything else inside the chassis. Far too often people try stuffing massive amounts of hardware into smaller cases only to find out that heat and noise becomes an issue. From just a size perspective alone you can tell that this card is aimed at the mainstream market.
When it comes to the performance of the Radeon HD 5850 we found it to be 15-25% slower than the Radeon HD 5870 in the vast majority of the benchmarks. It was also faster than the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 285 graphics card, which is currently NVIDIA’s flagship single GPU video card! If we had to suggest a screen resolution size to go with the Radeon HD 5850 it would have to be 1680 x 1050 and under if you like to turn all the eye candy on. Sure, the majority of the benchmarks that we ran here today showed that the Radeon HD 5850 was able to run above 60FPS at 1920 x 1200 with 8xAA enabled, but we would like to plan for the future. With DirectX 11 game titles coming out soon a Radeon HD 5870 would be the better choice for gamers with monitors greater than 24″ and screen resolutions in the 1920 x 1200 and beyond range.
The Radeon HD 5800 series has proved to be one for the record books and they haven’t even been out for two weeks yet! Both cards support Microsoft DirectX 11, ATI Eyefinity & Stream Technologies and are basically the same GPU core. The ATI Radeon HD 5850 will cost $259.99, which is $120 less than the Radeon HD 5870 graphics card. AMD told Legit Reviews that we can expect the first volume shipments of the Radeon HD 5850 on September 28th, so by the time you are reading this you should be able to purchase the cards!
Legit Bottom Line: The ATI Radeon HD 5850 is 15-25% slower than the Radeon HD 5870 graphics card, but it also is priced 32% less right off the bat. That, my friends, makes it a price versus performance winner!