ATI radeon HD 5870

ATI Radeon HD 5870 Video Card Front

Last week AMD launched of a pair of the first DirectX 11 graphics cards, the ATI Radeon HD 5870 and Radeon HD 5850! We wrote up a full review on the Radeon HD 5870 graphics card at that time, but the Radeon HD 5850 was not exactly shipping yet.  It appears that AMD has started volume shipping of the Radeon HD 5870 and that the first shipments of the Radeon HD 5850 have finally made it from the factory to retailers around the world. At $379 the AMD Radeon HD 5870 might be the fastest single graphics card that we have ever tested, but it does cost more than what most consumers are willing to spend.

ATI Radeon HD 5870 Video Card Front

The Radeon HD 5850 looks very similar to the Radeon HD 5870 as both cards use basically the same core logic, but they differ in the fact that the Radeon HD 5850 costs just $259. Not a bad price considering the Radeon HD 5850 has a compute power rating of 2.09 TFLOPS, a frame buffer of 1GB and supports up to three monitors at a resolution of 2560 x 1600!

ATI Radeon HD 5870 Video Card Front

So, what will $259 buy you? Well for starters you will have $120 more in your pocket. Other than that you will have a Radeon HD 5800 series graphics card that has just 18 SIMD engines (2 fewer than the Radeon HD 5870) that operate at lower clock frequencies. The 1440 stream processors on the Radeon HD 5850 operate at a core clock frequency of 725MHz. The 1GB of GDDR5 memory is operating at 1000MHz rather than 1200MHz, so the memory bandwidth is lower. Sure the card is less powerful, but that means it will have lower load temperatures as well as 37 Watts lower power consumption at load.  Since both the Radeon HD 5850 and the Radeon HD 5870 have the same numbers of transistors and are based off the same GPU core architecture the idle board power and temperatures should remain the same.

The Radeon HD 5850

ATI Radeon HD 5870 Video Card Front

The card that we will be showing you today is the reference Radeon HD 5850, which is a dual-slot graphics card that measures in at 9.5″ in length.

ATI Radeon HD 5870 Video Card Back

The back of the Radeon HD 5850 is pretty bare and boring as you can see from the image above.

ATI Radeon HD 5870 Video Card

The Radeon HD 5850 does look good and has what looks to be the same factory cooling solution on it that he Radeon HD 5870 has as well.  It will be interesting to test and see how well it really does cool.

ATI Radeon HD 5850 Video Card

The Radeon HD 5850 supports ATI CrossFire technology thanks to the interconnects located on the top of the card. On the right motherboard you will be able to run up to four of these graphics cards from CrossFire X. This review will show the performance of a single and dual-GPU setup as we have two reference cards.

ATI Radeon HD 5850 Video Card

The Radeon HD 5850 video card has a pair of dual-link DVI outputs along with DisplayPort and HDMI outputs. All of the hot air from the cooling fan exhausts out the small vent hole on the back of the card and the little slots just in front of the CrossFire interconnects.

ATI Radeon HD 5850 Video Card 6-pin PCIe Power Connectors

The ATI Radeon HD 5850 has two 6-pin PCI-E power connectors on it and both are required for operation. A 500W or larger power supply is recommended by AMD and a list of suggested power supply units can be found here. The air intakes on the end of the card don’t do too much from what we have been told by the AMD engineers (less than 10% of the air intake), but they do add some flare to the card.

ATI Radeon HD 5850 Video Card 6-pin PCIe Power Connectors

The ATI Radeon HD 5870 measures over 11 inches in length, which makes it one of the largest graphics cards that we have ever reviewed.  The Radeon HD 5850 PCB measures 9.5″ and is obviously the smaller of the two Radeon 5800 series cards in the image above.

The Test System

All testing was done on a fresh install of Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit with all the latest updates installed. All benchmarks were completed on the desktop with no other software programs running. The Corsair DOMINATOR memory modules were run in triple-channel mode at 1866MHz with 8-8-8-24 timings. The NVIDIA GeForce graphics cards were benchmarked with Forceware 191.03 drivers; the ATI Radeon HD graphics cards were tested with 9.9 CATALYST drivers. The ASUS P6T Deluxe V2 motherboard was run using BIOS 0610 with the processor running stock settings.

Windows 7 Drivers Used:
Intel Chipset Inf Update Program V9.1.1.1014
SoundMAX 2000B Audio Driver V6.10.2.6585 for Windows 64bit Windows 7.(WHQL)
Marvell Yukon Gigabit Ethernet Driver V11.10.5.3 for 32/64bit Windows 7.(WHQL)

The Test System

Here is the Intel LGA 1366 Test platform:

Intel Test Platform



Live Pricing


Intel Core i7 975


ASUS P6T Deluxe V2


6GB Corsair DDR3 1866MHz

Video Card

See Below

Hard Drive

Western Digital VelociRaptor


Intel Reference

Power Supply

Cooler Master 1000W


None (Open Bench)

Operating System

Windows 7 Ultimate 64-Bit

GPU-Z 0.3.5 Details:

ATI Radeon HD 5850 Reference Card:

ATI Radeon HD 5850 GPU-Z



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