As we've done in the past, we didn't test the GIGABYTE HD 5850 in single form due to the simple fact that the card follows the same reference clocks and there's no new driver. We already know what the performance of the model is going to be like. The good thing about these higher end models is when we add two of them together we end up with something that becomes extremely interesting.
CrossFire HD 5850 is exactly like CrossFire HD 5870 in the sense it doesn't disappoint. We saw some really good performance straight out of the gate and we manage to go through strong and finish off in the same way.
This is quickly going to become a popular option for people who want to get into CrossFire but don't want to spend HD 5870 money. What's great about the setup we tested here today is that it's faster than a single HD 5870. Mind you, this didn't come as much of a surprise due to the fact that when you look at the specification differences between the two there isn't a whole lot.
The GIGABYTE package is a bit on the light side, but comes with everything we want. Pricing is good and performance is great. You can also see today that mixing and matching brands isn't a problem, so if you picked up one card which came with Dirt 2 and then at release of the game picked up a second card that didn't come with it, you're really not missing out on anything.
ATI continue to do good things with CrossFire and today isn't an exception. One HD 5850 no doubt performs well, but if you're looking for a bit of extra performance in the future without busting the bank account, it's worth noting that a second one is going to yield some very impressive performance gains for users of 1920 x 1200 and 2560 x 1600.