Sapphire Radeon HD 5850 1GB graphics card (Game Edition)

Following in the only slightly larger footprints of the sizzling 5870 graphics card comes this downscaled version, the Sapphire Radeon HD 5850 1GB.

Sapphire Radeon HD 5850 1GB (Game Edition)
  • Sapphire Radeon HD 5850 1GB (Game Edition)
  • Sapphire Radeon HD 5850 1GB (Game Edition)
  • Sapphire Radeon HD 5850 1GB (Game Edition)
  • Expert Rating

    4.50 / 5

Pros

  • Good price, can support up to three screens, decent performance

Cons

  • Until more DirectX 11 games are on the market we won't be able to test this card's performance fully

Bottom Line

While the 5870 is all about showcasing innovation, the Sapphire Radeon HD 5850 1GB also boasts plenty of power, with many of the same features. The clincher, though, is the price.

Would you buy this?

Special Offers

While the 5870 is designed for ultimate single-chip performance, the ATI Radeon HD 5850 aims to be a more modest version, yet one fast enough to satisfy demanding gamers.

You don't lose a great deal. Both use the 40nm manufacturing process, but the Sapphire Radeon HD 5850 1GB card is shorter, runs cooler and consumes a little less power - although still requires a pair of 6-pin power connectors.

It offers the same useful duo of HDMI and DVI ports, and can support up to three screens. There's the potential to stretch some games across three flat-panels using Eyefinity - creating an immersive cockpit in a flight sim or racing game, for example, or giving a wider range of view in a First Person Shooter.

The basic architecture remains the same. The 256-bit memory interface has been retained, but other specs are trimmed. Not by an awful lot, though, so the 5870's 850MHz core clock becomes 725MHz in the Sapphire Radeon HD 5850 1GB, and the memory clock slides from 1200MHz (4800MHz DDR effective) to 1000MHz (4000MHz). And the number of stream processors is sliced from 1600 to a still impressive 1440.

We'll have to wait a while yet to see DirectX 11 games in full glory. A small number of titles tuned for DX11 are due out before next year, but right now, all we have to judge is Battleforge, taking a small sampling of DX11's promised capabilities.

The most significant use of DX11 in the Sapphire Radeon HD 5850 1GB is in improving performance through compute shader, giving an extra 19 percent framerate in our tests.

But until we see games showcasing a range of DX11's artillery, we can't honestly assess these cards of their DirectX11 worth.

The Sapphire Radeon HD 5850 1GB is a clear contender on performance - never quite reaching the heights of the 5870, but neither finishing too far behind. Both the nVidia GTX 295 and ATI's 5870 remain ahead, but those cards are an awful lot more expensive. And the 5850 gives the 4870 X2 a good fight, beating it comfortably in a number of tests.

Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Read more on these topics: sapphire, pc components, graphics cards
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?