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ATI RADEON HD 5850 Graphics Card

The middle of the high-end series.

December 11, 2009



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A long, long time ago, in the past century, all graphics cards were one-size-fits-all. The choice was either to buy one, or not. All novelties were expensive, getting cheaper as they were becoming obsolete. Then manufacturers realized they were not doing their best and separated products according to price ranges. They continued to roll out expensive top-end offerings, but started adding cheaper cards to the series. The latter were, essentially, pared-down modifications of the former, with some units disabled, clock rates reduced, etc.

Today we are going to review RADEON HD 5850, based on the same Cypress core, but having 1440 stream processors instead of 1600, 72 texture processors instead of 80, 725 MHz core clock rate instead of 850 MHz, and 1000 (4000) MHz memory clock rate instead of 1200 (4800) MHz.

Card design


HIS RADEON HD 5850 1024MB
  • GPU: RADEON HD 5850 (Cypress)
  • Interface: PCI Express x16
  • GPU clock rate (ROPs/Shaders): 725/725 MHz
  • Memory clock rate, physical (effective): 1000 (4000) MHz
  • Memory bus: 256-bit
  • Vertex processors: -
  • Pixel processors: -
  • Unified processors: 1440
  • Texture processors: 72 (BLF/TLF)
  • ROPs: 32
  • Dimensions: 260x100x33 mm
  • PCB color: black
  • RAMDACs/TDMS: integrated into GPU
  • Outputs: 2 x DVI (Dual-Link/HDMI), Display Port, HDMI
  • VIVO: n/a
  • TV-out: n/a
  • Multi-GPU support: Hardware CrossFire
Sapphire RADEON HD 5850 1024MB
  • GPU: RADEON HD 5850 (Cypress)
  • Interface: PCI Express x16
  • GPU clock rate (ROPs/Shaders): 725/725 MHz
  • Memory clock rate, physical (effective): 1000 (4000) MHz
  • Memory bus: 256-bit
  • Vertex processors: -
  • Pixel processors: -
  • Unified processors: 1440
  • Texture processors: 72 (BLF/TLF)
  • ROPs: 32
  • Dimensions: 260x100x33 mm
  • PCB color: black
  • RAMDACs/TDMS: integrated into GPU
  • Outputs: 2 x DVI (Dual-Link/HDMI), Display Port, HDMI
  • VIVO: n/a
  • TV-out: n/a
  • Multi-GPU support: Hardware CrossFire


HIS RADEON HD 5850 1024MB
Sapphire RADEON HD 5850 1024MB

Each card has 1024 MB GDDR5 SDRAM in 8 Samsung memory chips on the front side of the PCB; 1250 (5000) MHz peak clock rate.



Comparison with the reference design, front view
Sapphire RADEON HD 5850 1024MB Reference card ATI RADEON HD 5870
HIS RADEON HD 5850 1024MB


Comparison with the reference design, rear view
Sapphire RADEON HD 5850 1024MB Reference card ATI RADEON HD 5870
HIS RADEON HD 5850 1024MB

Obviously, HD 5850 differs from the higher-end HD 5870. Almost all differences are related to the power supply unit and PCB length. We can also see that both cards look very much alike, being based on the reference design. These products have clearly been made at the same factory and just have different stickers.

These graphics cards feature audio codecs, so nothing else it required to transmit audio to HDMI.

Note that these cards have two 6-pin connectors for external power supply.

Another important feature is that the new cards can work with 3 monitors simultaneously.

Maximum resolutions and frequencies:

  • 240 Hz maximum refresh rate
  • 2048 x 1536 x 32bit @ 85Hz Max -- analog interface
  • 2560 x 1600 @ 60Hz Max -- digital interface (Dual-Link DVI/HDMI)

As for the HDTV support, a review is available here.


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Article navigation:

Page 1: Introduction, design

Page 2: Cooling

Page 3: Bundles, boxes

Page 4: Performance in games



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