Sapphire Radeon HD 5850 Toxic 2GB Reviewccokeman -
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Sapphires HD5850 Toxic 2GB model for all intentsive purposes looks like the 1GB model save the addition of another 1GB of GDDR5 memory. While thats the short story, the rest of the story shows this card to be based on the Cypress core, built using TSMC's 40nm process. The core is equipped with 2.15 Billion transistors, 1440 shader cores, 72 texture units and 32 ROP's. THe 1440 shader core count is just 160 shy of what the HD 58570 uses. This allows the HD 5850 Toxic to deliver 2+ TeraFlops of computing power. As you can see from the heatsink cover the Toxic edition differs in appearance from the reference version and is far from the cookie cutter norm. The Blue and Black shroud is just the start of the differences. Under the cover you have Sapphires Vapor-X technology to cool the heat generated by the enhanced clock speeds used on this card. The reference cards come with a nice set of clock speeds at 725Mhz on the core and 1050 on the GDDR5 memory but the Toxic Edition gets the big bump in clock speeds with the core clock reaching 765Mhz with the 2Gb of GDDR5 memory reaching 1125Mhz. Both well above the stock clocks so we should see a nice performance boost over the reference version.
For connectivity you get what is pretty much the standard setup with the HD 58xx series of video cards from ATI and its partners. Not that standard is bad its just the same which in this case is pretty decent as this setup can be used to run an Eyefinity setup with just a single card. What you get is a single DisplayPort, HDMI that supports HDMI 1.3 with Deep Color and 7.1 High Bitrate Audio, and two Dual Link DVI ports that combined with the DisplayPort connection you can enable an Eyefinity setup with resolutions up to 7680 x 1600 @ 60Hz - with one monitor supporting DisplayPort or by using one of the active adapters to go to a DVI connection. The back end does not have much for features but the power connections are here instead of on the spine of the card. Instead of the dual 6pin PCIe power connections used on the 1GB Toxic HD 5850 you get an 8 pin plus 6 pin power connection layout that shows that better overclocking may be on the agenda or maybe the additional power was needed for the additional vram. If one of these cards is not enough to get your gaming jones on, then you can hook this card up to three more for an increased level of performance. Of course just hooking the cards together is not the way to do it, as you need a motherboard that supports up to four cards in an CrossfireX setup.
When you open the Toxic edition up for inspection you get to see the first glimpse of the Vapor-X cooling solution as well as the self designed blue PCB. The back side of the PCB house the additional 1Gb of frame buffer memory under an aluminum heatshield used to cool off the modules. Once the card is stripped of its covers you can see the heatsink used to cover the voltage regulation circuits and the proprietary Black Diamond chokes that feature additional cooling to run up to 10°C cooler and 25% more efficient than standard designs. Plus you just have to love the additional ribs on the top to increase the cooling capacity of the chokes.
The cooling soultion on this card looks much like the one used on the HD 5870 Vapor-X edition and is the same cooling solution used on the 1Gb model of this card. It consists of a copper vapor chamber with 3 heatpipes running to an aluminum fin array with a downdraft fan blowing air through the heatsink to cool the GPU core and memory. The fan used has 11 blades and uses two ball bearings to reduce the noise from the fan, as well as increasing the lifespan so you don't cook your video card a year or two down the road. To cool the VRM circuit, you have just a small aluminum bolt on heatsink that receives airflow through the fin array to effect the cooling of the mosfets on the back end of the card.
The 40nm Cypress core houses 2.15 billion transistors,1440 shader cores, 72 texture units and 32ROP's giving 2+ TeraFlops of processing power for you to use in any number of ways from gaming to video encoding to just sitting back watching some Bluray content. This version of the HD 5850 Toxic series comes with clock speeds of 765Mhz on the core and 1125Mhz (4500Mhz effective) on the 2Gb of Samsung GDDR5 memory that runs through a 256 bit bus. This version of the Toxic comes with Samsung memory in place of the Hynix used on the 1Gb model, so I'm anticipating the memory overclocks to be similar in results from other cards using the same memory.
The last HD 5850 Toxic provided a nice boost in performance over the reference card, lets see if this one can improve upon that performance.