Last week the ATI Radeon HD 5870 started trickling into the market, and this week the Radeon HD 5850 should be available in the retail channel. Quite a number of Radeon HD 5850 reviews were published today, lets take a look at some of them to see how the card performs.
First up is a review from The Tech Report, they gave the card an editor's choice award and praise it for its good performance and attractive $259 price.
Speaking of the 5870, we're now left wondering whether that behemoth is worth the $120 premium over its little brother. The 5850 may be slower, but for the most part, it's still quick enough to generate smooth frame rates at 2560x1600 with AA and AF cranked up in current games (Crysis Warhead's "Enthusiast" preset excepted). We'll have to see whether that changes once DirectX 11 games start hitting stores, but for now, the 5850 sure seems to be fast enough for today's titles.
Next is a review from HardOCP, they write the Radeon HD 5850 packs the most punch in its class with no close contenders.
For $259 the ATI Radeon HD 5850 smacks the competition then laughs. AMD has engineered this series smartly, doing what worked for it with the Radeon HD 4800 series. The Radeon HD 5850 uses the same GPU as the Radeon HD 5870 with some streaming processor units and texture units disabled with lower clock speeds. In our gaming experience, the 5850 performed appropriately compared to the Radeon HD 5870. AMD was smart in keeping the 32 ROPs intact on the Radeon HD 5850 and equipping the video card with 1GB of GDDR5 memory. With this combination, dual-card 5850 CrossFireX performance is stellar. We were easily able to run at high resolutions with AA and high in-game settings.
Last but not least there's a review over at AnandTech, they conclude is a very interesting card due to the good performance and excellent value.
The result of this is clear: the 5870 is the fastest single-GPU card, and the 5850 is the value alternative. Couple that with the fact that it’s cooler running, quieter, shorter, and less power hungry, and you have a very interesting card. Design-wise the 5850 lets AMD get Cypress in to slightly smaller cases that can’t fit full 10.5” cards, something NVIDIA was never able to capitalize on with the reference GTX design (we actually had several comments on this; apparently a good number of people can’t fit 10.5” cards). The 5870/5850 situation ends up closely mirroring the 4870/4850 situation as a result; the 5870 is still the card to get when price (and size) is no object, but the 5850 is there to fill the gap if you won’t miss some of the performance.