The graphics war is looking more and more one-sided these days as ATI continues to pour out its latest Evergreen (Radeon 5000) series of cards. Just weeks after the range-topping Radeon HD 5870 and HD 5850, the dudes in red followed up with their mainstream offerings, the HD 5770 and HD 5750. NVIDIA, on the other hand, has only the scrawny budget-class GeForce GT 220 to show for in recent months and its next-generation Fermi (GT300) cards are still nowhere to be seen.
Today, we are going to take a look at the Radeon HD 5850, what should be ATI's second-fastest GPU ever. Launched alongside the stunningly quick Radeon HD 5870, the Radeon HD 5850 hasn't quite received the attention bestowed on its more powerful sibling has. Living in the shadows of the HD 5870, the HD 5850 is a diluted version of the range-topping HD 5870. It sports fewer stream processors and lower clock speeds, but at US$259, it also means that it's considerably cheaper.
In terms of specifications, while the HD 5870 has 1600 stream processors, 80 texture mapping units, the less powerful HD 5850 has to make do with 1440 stream processors, 72 texture mapping units. The HD 5850 also gets bumped down clock speeds, 725MHz at the core and 4000MHz DDR at the memory, compared to the HD 5870's 750MHz and 4800MHz DDR. Happily, raster operating units stays the same at 32, and the HD 5850 also gets the same 256-bit wide memory bus width, so that should compensate, if only somewhat, for the fewer stream processors and lower clock speeds.
Despite being a weaker variant of the Radeon HD 5870, the specifications of Radeon HD 5850 is still leaps and bounds ahead of ATI's last generation flagship, the Radeon HD 4890, and it should be interesting to see what kind of performance it'll give. Here's a quick look at how the HD 5850 stacks up against competitive SKUs.
|Model||ATI Radeon HD 5850 1GB||ATI Radeon HD 5870 1GB||ATI Radeon HD 4870 X2 2GB||ATI Radeon HD 4890 1GB||NVIDIA GeForce GTX 285 1GB||NVIDIA GeForce GTX 275 896MB||NVIDIA GeForce GTX 260+ 896MB|
|Core Code||Cypress Pro||Cypress XT||R700||RV790||GT200||GT200||GT200|
|Transistor Count||2150 million||2150 million||1912 million||965 million||1400 million||1400 million||1400 million|
|Stream Processors||1440 Stream Processing Units||1600 Stream Processing Units||1600 Stream Processing Units||800 Stream Processing Units||240 Stream Processors||240 Stream Processors||216 Stream Processors|
|Stream Processor Clock||725MHz||850MHz||750MHz||850MHz||1476MHz||1404MHz||1242MHz|
|Texture Mapping Units (TMU) or Texture Filtering (TF) units||72||80||80||40||80||80||72|
|Raster Operator units (ROP)||32||32||32||16||32||28||28|
|Memory Clock||4000MHz GDDR5||4800MHz GDDR5||3600MHz GDDR5||3900MHz GDDR5||2484MHz GDDR3||2268MHz GDDR3||1998MHz GDDR3|
|DDR Memory Bus||256-bit||256-bit||256-bit||256-bit||512-bit||448-bit||448-bit|
|PCI Express Interface||PCIe ver 2.0 x16||PCIe ver 2.0 x16||PCIe ver 2.0 x16||PCIe ver 2.0 x16||PCIe ver 2.0 x16||PCIe ver 2.0 x16||PCIe ver 2.0 x16|
|Molex Power Connectors||2 x 6-pin||2 x 6-pin||2 x 6-pin||2 x 6-pin||2 x 6-pin||2 x 6-pin||2 x 6-pin|
|Multi GPU Technology||CrossFireX||CrossFireX||CrossFireX||CrossFireX||SLI||SLI||SLI|
|DVI Output Support||2 x Dual-Link||2 x Dual-Link||2 x Dual-Link||2 x Dual-Link||2 x Dual-Link||2 x Dual-Link||2 x Dual-Link|
|HDCP Output Support||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Street Price||Launch price: US$259||Launch price: US$379||~US$360||~US$200||~US$350||~US$230||~US$200|