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Sapphire HD5850 Xtreme Review (Hardware)

Posted by Shane Dickson, Apr 12, 2011 16:05

Sapphire HD 5850 Xtreme Introduction:

You’re building your next system on a budget, and have a toughSapphire Radeon HD 5850 Xtreme decision in terms of video card choices.  In fact, most cards out there that offer a decent quality DirectX11 experience and performance are priced in the $200-$300 category, easily blowing the top off any economy build you might have been considering.  Nvidia just introduced their GTX 550 Ti series to help solve the problem, at $150 they aimed to corner the market in that price range, offering a decent performing card that allows you to play DX11 games in medium settings for about half what you’d pay for a card that would run satisfactory on high settings.

Today, Sapphire announced the exclusive reintroduction of the 5800 series video cards, highlighting the announcement with its HD 5850 Xtreme. The original DirectX 11 powerhouse is being reintroduced with new features and at an aggressively priced MSRP of $149. This price point is one of the most sought after shares of the video card sales market, with a high percentage of users not willing to spend over $200 on a video card solution it becomes the “sweet spot” that all manufacturers ideally want to control, and today Sapphire is looking to dominate it completely.

In my opinion the price point for the 5850 Xtreme is made to almost ridicule the newly introduced 550 Ti, especially given the original 5850’s already proven performance in existing benchmarks. The original reference 5850 allows most games to be run on medium to high settings at high resolutions in DirectX11 and was usually found to perform at satisfactory levels especially if anti-aliasing was turned off.

Sapphire HD 5850 Xtreme Features:

The first thing that popped into my mind and hopefully yours, was "what’s new about this card besides being introduced at a value price?" I’ve made a short list here for those just interested in the differences and will follow up with the rest of the features afterward.

  • Optimize voltage regulation circuitry
  • Overclocking support with Free Sapphire Trixx tool
  • New quiet heatpipe cooler, similar to those found in the 6800 series
  • Enhanced Universal Video Decoder  3 (UVD 3) supports dual HD Streams
  • AMD Advanced Parallel Processing technology to offload Parrallel data execute tasks from the CPU to the GPU for improved system performance
  • 3rd generation Terascale Engine (original 5850 is 2nd Gen)
  • AMD Eyespeed – Accelerated processing with stream processors including using the power of GPU for Enhanced Internet browsers (IE9/Mozilla Firefox)  and improved picture and media capabilities in Microsoft Office 2010 applications .

Sapphire 5850 xtreme Sapphire 5850 angled

The Sapphire HD 5850 Xtreme also comes complete with most features found in the 5850 series including:

  • 1GB of GDDR5 Memory
  • Sapphire TriXX OC Utility Support
  • 725 MHz Engine Clock, 1000MHz for memory = Effective 4 GHz Memory Clock
  • 1440 stream processors and 72 texture units (2+ teraFLOPS processing power)
  • Microsoft DirectX 11 Support
  • AMD Eyefinity Technology (*only with DP Monitor or Active adapter)
  • PCI Express 2.0 x16 bus interface
  • HDMI 1.3a support with Deep Color,  7.1 High Bitrate Audio
  • ATI CrossFireX multi-GPU support
  • Enhanced Unified Video Decoder(UVD 3)
  • Dolby TrueHD and DTSHD Master Audio TM Support
  • GPU acceleration support for IE9/Firefox & Microsoft Office 2010

Sapphire HD 5850 Xtreme  Specifications:

  • Bus Interface PCI-E x16 (PCI-E 2.0)
  • Memory 1024MB / 256-bit GDDR5
  • Clock Speed 725 MHz Eclk / Effective 4000 MHz Mclk
  • Cooling System Dual slot Fan with auto fan control
  • Bracket Full Height
  • Display Support
  • DL-DVI-I
  • HDMI
  • Display Port
  • VGA (Via included adaptor)
  • HDCP Yes
  • Crossfire Support Native Hardware Crossfire
  • External Power PCIe Graphic External 2x 6 pin
  • Software Driver CD
  • TriXX Support

Sapphire HD 5850 Xtreme  Maximum Display Resolution:

  • D-Dub(VGA): 2048 x 1536 @85 Hz.
  • DL-DVI-I: 2560 x 1600@60Hz
  • HDMI:1080P
  • Display Port: 2560 x 1600@60Hz
  • Eyefinity: 5760 x 1200@60Hz

Sapphire HD 5850 Xtreme  System Requirements:

  • Windows 7, Vista, XP or Media Center edition 2005
  • DVI, HDMI, Display Port or VGA Monitor
  • PCI express Slot with 1 x16 lane slot available
  • 500 watt or greater power supply
  • Min of 1GB of System Memory

For more video game reviews on this and many others head to Game Rankings

Our Rating for Sapphire HD5850 Xtreme Review (Hardware)
7.0 Style (look/feel)
No shiny lights, or even branding logo when installed, but it is small and compact compared to most graphics card these days.
8.0 Functionality (what it does/doesn't do)
Can play DX11 games with minimal sacrifices, although supporting Eyefinity requires DP or adapter for setup, and with only 1GB of RAM you’d have to play in low resolutions without a crossfire solution
10.0 Value (worth the cost vs. competition)
Excellent price point blowing away competition in the $149 price range, creating its own niche for value, while still maintaining great performance.
9.0 Customer Support
Sapphire backs up its warranties with successful RMA’s, one of the reviewers here at GDN went through the process, but experienced a problem with a scratched cover with a RMA product he received, they quickly fixed even that for him.
8.0 Usability (comfort, usefulness, installation)
This card is great solution for gamers who aren’t into buying the most powerful card out there, but still want to be able to run most games in DX 11 without losing too much by decreasing settings.
8.5 Overall
Although not nearly the most powerful card on the market, this is by far the best performance you can ask for based on what you are spending, I personally feel this card will create a ripple in prices throughout the video card market as consumers will begin to expect more for their money.

Rating: 4.8, votes: 25


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