XFX HD 5850 ReviewRHKCommander959 - October 27, 2009
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The XFX Radeon HD 5850 comes in after the 5870, packing in the same transistor count of approximately 2,154 million. The core is built on 40nm fabrication process technologies. The 5850 is shorter than the 5870, but otherwise looks identical. Two SIMD units were disabled - lowering the shader processor count from 1600 to 1440 - double the amount of the 5750's. Clock speed has also been lowered with the core at 725 MHz and the memory at 1000 MHz stock. The top is arched and should help the fan get air in a tight space with another card next to it. The red sides, back vents, and centerpiece all mesh well. The 5850 lacks the back plate that the 5870 featured. The blower motor still sounds like a vacuum cleaner when being ran at anything much over 40% - especially up at 100%. The back of the video card shows many screws - this should allow for a good third party cooler to work well, but should also mean that the stock cooler will have proper contact across the card on the VRM, memory, and GPU core.
The side is mostly red and reads ATI Radeon, imprinted in the center. There are vent slots notch the side at the front of the card near the expansion slot. Near the vents are the two CrossFireX capable connectors. The other side has two stickers - one showing a heat symbol while the other has another number. The PCI-Express x16 slot is exposed with AMD printed on the PCB in white.
The back of the video card has the two 6-pin PCI-Express power connections that were mounted on the side of the 5870. Moving these to the rear vent allowed some space to be shaved off. The other vent shows the fan cable and a capacitor. The front matches the 5870 exactly - with a vent, two stacked DVI connections, an HDMI, and a Display Port. Two screws also help mount the expansion slot to the video card, and another helps hold the HDMI connection to it too. A fourth screw on the PCB itself also anchors the piece of metal to the card, sitting next to the two CrossFireX slots.
With the card examined, let's get it and the drivers installed!