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Sapphire Radeon HD 5850 Toxic OC Edition Review

ccokeman    -   February 17, 2010
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Testing:

Testing of the Sapphire HD 5850 Toxic OC Edition will consist of running the card through the OverclockersClub.com suite of games and synthetic benchmarks, to test the performance against many popular competitors to gauge its performance. The games used are some of today's popular titles to give you an idea on how the cards perform relative to each other. The system specifications will remain the same throughout the testing. No adjustment will be made to the respective control panels during the testing with the exception of the 3DMark Vantage testing where PhysX will be disabled in the NVIDIA control panel. I will test the card at stock speeds and then overclocked to see how much additional performance is available and determine if it can run with or faster than the current fastest single GPU cards on the market. Of course, all settings are left at defaults in the control panels of each respective manufacturer except where noted. I will be using the latest drivers from each manufacturer at the time of this review.

 

Comparison Video Cards:

 

Overclocking:

Overclocked settings:

  • Sapphire HD 5850 Toxic OC Editon 881/1190

The first thing you want to do if you plan on trying for clock speeds in excess of the limits in the Catalyst control Center is download AMD GPU Clock tool and MSI AfterBurner to make sure you get all the functionality you can. The reason for the two utility approach is that when you set the clock speeds in AMD GPU Clock Tool and apply the setting, you default the fan speed to auto. If you go back into the CCC to change the fan speed you lose the clock speeds you set in the GPU Clock Tool. Goofy, but it's what happens. Enter MSI Afterburner - this application was written by the same person responsible for Riva Tuner over at Guru3d and is an easy to use interface that is already able to work with the latest cards from ATI and their partners like Sapphire. Once you have the applications installed, it was a simple matter to push for higher clock speeds on this specialty version of the HD 5850 from Sapphire. Sapphire's specialty models usually do a bit better than the reference versions when it comes to cooling and overclocking. The Toxic is no different with factory speeds of 765MHz on the Cypress core and 1125Mhz on the GDDR5 memory (4500Mhz effective) - you get a pretty healthy bump over the reference clocks of 725/1000Mhz. The clock speeds I could reach with this card varied by benchmark and may be more driver related than I would like to admit. Grey screens at clock speeds that should be easy to handle for this card made finding the right balance between GPU clock speed and memory challenging. In the Futuremark testing I could push for 905Mhz on the core and 1250Mhz on the memory, but in order to call it stable it has to pass all of the benchmarks and play through some rigorous gaming to be truly stable. I started by increasing the fan to 100% so that heat would not be an issue during the overclocking sessions. The Vapor-X cooling really does the job on this card with temperatures hitting a Maximum of 50 degrees Celsius under load during my testing. The reference card I looked at back in October maxed out at 870Mhz on the core so that's where I started my testing. I moved up in 10Mhz increments until the benchmarks would fail then moved down 5Mhz at a time until the clock speed was stable. While 905Mhz would pass in 3DMark06 it would not make it through all the benches. I used the same method on the memory to reach the final clock speeds of 881/1190Mhz. Not bad but I was hoping for more. Even so, this bump in clock speeds offers a significant jump in performance. Bump the CPU up as well and you have a whole new level of performance.

 

  • Video:
  1. Far Cry 2
  2. Crysis Warhead
  3. Darkest of Days
  4. Call of Duty World at War
  5. Warhammer 40,000 DOW II
  6. Batman: Arkham Asylum
  7. Resident Evil 5
  8. Left 4 Dead
  9. 3DMark 06 Professional
  10. 3DMark Vantage



  1. Introduction & Closer Look
  2. Closer Look (The Video Card)
  3. Closer Look: Drivers & Programs
  4. Closer Look (Catalyst Control Center)
  5. Specifications & Features
  6. Testing: Setup, Overclocking
  7. Testing: Far Cry 2
  8. Testing: Crysis Warhead
  9. Testing: Darkest of Days
  10. Testing: Call of Duty World at War
  11. Testing: WarHammer 40,000 Dawn of War II
  12. Testing: Batman Arkham Asylum
  13. Testing: Resident Evil 5
  14. Testing: Left 4 Dead
  15. Testing: 3DMark 06
  16. Testing: 3DMark Vantage
  17. Conclusion
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