Sapphire Radeon HD 5850 CrossfireX

Testbed, Temperatures & Synthetic Benchmarks


Our testbed has been configured such to avoid any potential limiting factors that may otherwise stunt the performance of the graphics cards being tested. This in turn may produce an artificial result that implies that CrossfireX offers minimal performance gains when infact it might be quite the opposite. With an Intel Core i7, cycling at a rather frisky 3400MHz we are not particularly worried about a potential bottleneck. All games are tested at a resolution of 1920x1080 .
Intel Core i7 920 @ 3.40GHz
Gigabyte EX58 UD3R LGA1366 Motherboard
6GB Corsair PC3-12800 DDR3 RAM
2x Sapphire HD Radeon HD 5850 1GB GDDR5
Antec Nine Hundred Two Gaming Case
Corsair HX750W ATX2.0 Power Supply Unit
500GB Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 SATA II HDD
LG 22x DVD+/-RW
Windows Vista Home Premium
During full GPU load, our Radeon HD 5850's had reached temperatures of 80*c. While this may seem high, it is well within operating temperatures. Furthermore, we are once again happy to report another quiet cooling solution on an ATi reference heatsink with Catalyst Control Center reporting Fan Duty speeds of just 33%.
Futuremark 3DMark Vantage
3DMark Vantage is an updated and more demanding evolution over the package that it succeeded. Our tests cover the "Performance" setting of the benchmark. The application will output three scores. The first two are CPU and GPU scores, which are formed from various tests that will focus on either of the two (or both). On the basis of those scores, a final "Overall" score is then outputted with a "P" prefix beforehand to denote that the "Performance" setting was applied.
In this Synthetic Benchmark, we see that the Radeon HD 5870 has a fair lead over it's stunted brother in both single and crossfire mode. The HD 5850's scores however are excellent for a £200 graphics card.
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Most Recent Comments

02-11-2009, 19:12:16

Great review as usual Mul. The 5850's look like a good buy! They should be awesome around christmas when the price drops kick in, ATI's cards are the real working class hero's of graphics Quote

02-11-2009, 19:28:23

Originally Posted by name='MeltedDuron'
Great review as usual Mul. The 5850's look like a good buy! They should be awesome around christmas when the price drops kick in, ATI's cards are the real working class hero's of graphics
Cheers MeltedDuron.

As for price drops, I fear it may well go the other way until nVidia has a direct competitor. Given that the production of GeForce GTX 260/275/285's, VAT increases and a (currently) low supply of Cypress cards to meet demand, prices could even rise. We'll see how things pan out though.Quote

02-11-2009, 20:07:35

Great review.

Got a few questions I'm not sure of:

  • Is the difference between the 5850 & 5870 purely clock speed, or is there something capability-wize the 5870 can do that the 5850 can't ?

  • Why does the i7 cpu score in the FutureMark benchie vary so much with the differing 4 setups ?

Unless there's a non-clock answer to the 1st question, I don't see any point in any1 buying 2x 5870 to xfire. There's a difference of some %age of fps in games that the 2x 5850 are already scoring over 100s. To that end, I don't see the cream.

Need to revisit this once there are some/few Dx11 comparisons to be had. Making comparisons of these cards in Dx10 at best doesn't seem to present much visible differences.

Decent card on the face of it. Nothing being made of AMD scoring nice pricing, and perhaps more to come, from the fact they have the only Dx11 out in this window. We know it would, and will, be different in a months time, and I'm sure there will be some shouting from the roof tops then - especially when these cards get cut.Quote

02-11-2009, 20:24:58

Cheers for your thoughts Rastalovich,

The answer to the first question is no unfortunately. Aside Frequencies, the 5850 variant of the Cypress core has 8 5 Way Shading Units disabled, resulting in a 1440 Stream Processors overall, which is 10% less than the HD 5870 at 1600. The consequence is that you'd need to push a HD 5850 to slightly higher core frequencies in order to match the HD 5870.

As for the second question, I'm unsure as to why the CPU Score varied so much. Identical testbeds were used, and the same goes for the drivers.

With regards to revisiting these cards with DX11 hits, I completely agree. Quote

02-11-2009, 20:28:55

The variation of the cpu score concerns me.

If u were to lay out a flat comparison of 5850/5870/5890, I'd personal need a serious answer to why the likes of the i7 cpus are either being held back or being used to bolster deficiencies.

Moreover, would it mean that if u had Quote

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