XFX graphics cards have always been held in high regard at OC3D so it really should come as no surprise that we also love this card. I do like it when an underdog comes out on top so when I first began to see how well the XFX HD5850 performed when compared to the GTX285 I was grinning from ear to ear. Not that this makes the GTX285 a bad card you understand, but when one manufacturer has been on top for so long it can sometimes stagnate the market resulting in a slowdown of the performance evolution.
We never expected the card to beat it's bigger brother, the HD5870 but in the overclocking department it certainly did. Reaching huge overclocks of 910/1300MHz on the core and memory respectively, the card was made for overclocking which does beg the question - why have ATI limited the overclocks available in CCC's Overdrive utility. ATI will no doubt chew on my ear for this but you could save yourself a few pennies by overclocking the HD5850 past that of the HD5870 to make of for the texel shader deficit. Not only that but the card consumes slightly less power and runs a little cooler too, although this would probably be a different matter when the card is overclocked.
Perhaps my only gripe with the XFX HD5850 is with the bizarre 'X' packaging. While it is appealing to the eye, I felt like a chimpanzee with a Rubiks cube trying to fit it all back together for the photoshoot. End users will not have to worry about such matters of course until they come to sell the card on come upgrade time but with performance such as we have shown today, upgrade time should be a long, long way off. The HD5850 offers oodles of performance which coupled with a very competitive £200 price tag, makes the HD5850 a very wise purchase indeed. For this kind of performance you would have paid double the price 6 months ago!
- Excellent Overclocking
- Included accessories
- Quiet running
- Inconsistent in older games (driver issue?)
- 'X' Packaging (although available in normal box).