The Sapphire Radeon HD 5850 beat the 1GB GTX 260 quite soundly in every test. The overclock gave me more of a performance boost than I would have expected from a 5% overclock, in all but one test the gains were significant. Even in the other test, a gain of 1 FPS is about what I’d expect from a small overclock, so even it isn’t anything to sneeze at.
The Sapphire Radeon HD 5850 turned out to be everything I expected. It looks sharp with its Black/Red motif and excellent graphics. The cooler is very effective, and the fan silent. The shorter length of the card made installation in my midtower a breeze, even with the power connectors at the front of the card. It is still worth measuring before you order, you will need a minimum of 10.25” from the rear of the case to the drive bay for clearance if your HDD bay faces the side of the case or if you have hard drives sitting in front of the video card. Most midtowers have more than that.
The HD 5850 has lots of connectors to accommodate all modern LCD monitors. If your monitor is older, it includes a trusty DVI/Sub-15 adapter.
Performance is great on this card, it soundly beat a card that easily bested its predecessor. With nearly double the Stream Processors found on the HD 4850, this is one formidable gaming card. It easily accepted a 5% overclock that gave a significant performance boost. That was nearly all the overclock possible with ATI Overdrive, using a third party overclock utility and some patience, I have no doubt a higher overclock can be attained.
I found nothing not to like about this video card.
The Sapphire Radeon HD 5850, along with other reference HD 5850s, sells for $299.99 at my favorite online retailer. Though its price nearly takes it out of what I’d consider a midrange gaming card, it is still under $350, which is where upper-end cards usually start. Again, ATI’s midrange card has significantly raised the bar for performance in the $250-$300 price range. ThinkComputers.org gives the Sapphire Radeon HD 5850 1GB Video Card a 10 out of 10 score.
- The highest performance yet for a midrange gaming card
- Two-heatpipe cooler is very effective
- Silent fan
- Even a small overclock gave a significant performance boost
- None that I found