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Sapphire Radeon HD 5850 Toxic 2GB Review

ccokeman    -   March 30, 2010
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Testing:

Testing of the Sapphire HD 5850 2GB 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. Comparisons to the 1GB model will be shown just to see if the additional 1GB of GDDR5 memory has an impact on 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 2GB Toxic OC Edition 906/1160

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. The Catalyst control center really did not allow much inthe way of overclocking so it was straight to the aftermarket utilities. Knowing where the Toxic 1GB model was stable I started my testing at that point to see whether or not it would lead to stability and started with the GPU core first. This card easily went past 900Mhz up to 925 Mhz for 3Dmark06 and vantage testing but just would not pass in some of the games at this level. 910Mhz was good for all of the benchmarks but not 100% of the time so I reduced the clock speed on the core to 906Mhz and everything was stable at that point. Thats a good 141Mhz or 18.6% boost in clock speed. Now when it came to the memory there was not much to be had. Even dropping the core clock speeds down to stock speeds would not let me gain more than 35Mhz work of an increase in the GDDR5 memory speeds. Spooling the fan speeds to 100%, nothing helped get any higher with stability. Even so an increase is an increase and helps drive the overclocked performance higher. While running this card in an overclocked state I bump the fan speeds up to 100% to gain the maximum clock speed I can to keep the temperatures in check. The Vapor-X cooling used on this model does a great job of keeping temperatures in the tolerable level at stock speeds and does even better when you lean on the clocks and fan speed. running the fan at 100% my idle temperatures with the card overclocked measured 44°C and 56° C after an hour of looping 3DMark06's Canyon test at 2560x1600 4x AA and 16XAF. I have been a fan of Sapphires Vapor-X cooling for a reason.

 

  • 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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