AMD needed this model to be good after the run of HD 7700 series comments that have seen the model launch at a price point considered too much for many as AMD's partners continue to offer strong quantity of the HD 6800 series at an aggressive price point. The $249 price point, though, that the HD 7850 hits at today is a key one for AMD and you can see that performance on the model is really strong. AMD are also promoting the overclocking ability of the model and that's something we'll be looking at in greater detail soon.
Considering this is also the baby HD 7800 series of the two new models today, it makes us feel good about what to expect from the HD 7870. We wanted this series to be more HD 7900 than HD 7700 and going off the HD 7850; it is!
The biggest issue of the new model is the availability. It's not for sale yet and we probably won't see it for a few more weeks which an expected retail date sitting around the 19th to 22nd of this month which makes this launch similar to that of the HD 7970 with reference card reviews showing up today and retail ones coming up over the coming weeks.
I think the only reason, though, we're seeing AMD officially launch the product today is because of CeBIT that starts tomorrow. By announcing it officially today we should see partners display versions of the new models at the big German show. As great as the HD 7900 series is, it's been around for a little now and companies haven't done heaps with the higher end HD 7970. As for showing off the HD 7700 series, no doubt companies are going to be doing it, but it doesn't have the same shine as showing off what is the new HD 7800 series.
I'm glad AMD have come out strong with this model in both price and performance. Outside of the performance today, though, CrossFire is going to be something that's really important as we see a setup that will come in just under $500. Like overclocking, though, that's something we'll be looking at in more detail soon enough.
AMD needed this model to stand out for all the right reasons and looking at it today, it does. For people who want to game at high quality at 1680 x 1050 this is a fantastic model. If you're a 1920 x 1080 or 1920 x 1200 gamer as well, gaming on a lot of today's more intensive engines is also an option if you're happy to move from Very High in game settings to High or Medium. Hitting these key resolutions at the price point it does, the HD 7850 is going to be a model that stands out for gamers on a budget. AA and AF is also an option depending on your resolution and the game you're playing.