Radeon HD 5850 review (CrossfireX) -
Final Words & Conclusion
Even before literally testing the Radeon HD 5850 we already could have written the conclusion if we wanted to do so. It's a slightly slower version yet better priced graphics card compared to the Radeon HD 5870. It's a little gem really.
Price positioning wise the main competitor of the Radeon HD 5850 is obviously the GeForce GTX 285. And though both cards are close to each other in terms of overall performance, the big phat winner here of course is the Radeon HD 5850 thanks to its feature set and price. See, with the 5850 you get to have DirectX 11 support and Eyefinity which are huge selling points. The GTX 285 is priced roughly 50 USD more expensive yet is a DX10 class card. Its advantage however is that it does come with PhysX support, but the reality here remains that you guys just don't seem to warm up about PhysX. I disagree, as I really like PhysX. Any additional feature that can enhance or benefit a game is much welcomed in my book. But sure, I do feel very strongly that PhysX needs to become an open platform for both ATI, NVIDIA and perhaps later on even Intel.
So for 289 USD you can purchase a really nice DX11 ready graphics card that is well balanced out price and performance wise. Will it be enough to cope with NVIDIA's upcoming GT300 based products, did ATI take a large enough step? We honestly do not know. But fact is, the tide is turning and we see a lot of activity in GPU land, which we like so very much. Personally, I can't wait on some new DX11 games where compute shaders are utilized and heck, hardware tessellation is something I really look forward to. Fact is, if you purchase a card like the one shown today, you'll know for sure that it's 100% DX11 compatible.
Stability wise we have had no issues whatsoever except a nasty texture bug in Anno 1404, which hopefully will be fixed real soon. We see exemplary performance and great image quality as well. CrossfireX scaling is also very nice, in fact it surprised me a couple of times. You'll quickly gain 1.7x performance in a two-way GPU setup, and that definitely is a lot of performance for the money.
So the bottom line is really simple: with the Radeon HD 5850 you gain a lot of features and will play your games at really good performance levels. There's very little to dislike here as not only do you have a state of the art graphics card in da house, you'll also have a very wide feature set available which is future proof. If your upgrade path is worth USD 259,- the Radeon HD 5850 comes very much recommended in our book.
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The Radeon HD 5850 will become available in (r)etail starting this Friday.
If you have not done so, you can check out the following articles:
- Radeon HD 5870 reference review here
- Radeon HD 5870 CrossfireX article here
- ATI Radeon Series 5000 Eyefinity article here.
- altered price - 5850 is now ever lower at 259 USD.
- TDP lowered by ATI - Card consumes 151 Watt.
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