With word really beginning to get around that the new GT 300 based NVIDIA cards aren't going to be seen this year, it really gives AMD a chance to cement its HD 5000 series cards into the market. The latest HD 5000 series card to make its way into our labs is the HD 5850 and comes from HIS.
We've already had a look at the model before and we've been pretty happy with what ATI has done with the card. Today we'll be seeing what HIS have done to the bundle and card to see if there's anything that stands out from other models.
While we're looking at moving our video card reviews over to Windows 7, the HIS HD 5850 is still part of our older line up which revolves around testing in Vista. Before we have a look at the benchmark results, though, we'll check out the package that HIS has put together before taking a quick look at the card itself.
Like the other HD 5850 cards we've seen, HIS have put a nice little spread on for us with the Dirt 2 voucher being included in the bundle. Apart from that, the rest of the bundle is pretty standard and doesn't hold any surprises.
With the package out of the way it's time to check out the card and as you can see HIS haven't done anything too special with the design. We've got the standard cooler that covers up most of the card which has the fan sitting to the right hand side.
HIS has of course added its own sticker to the cooler with the brand and model along with a picture of the sword we saw on the front of the box taking up most of the card. On top of the fan we have another sticker which has the HIS logo.
Taking a quick spin around the card, we have our two 6-Pin PCI-E connectors at the back. Moving to the front we can see two CrossFire connectors located at the top of the card which gives us the ability to run up to three of these bad boys together.
Checking out the I/O ports, there isn't anything we haven't seen before. We've got two Dual-Link DVI connectors along with a single HDMI and DisplayPort connector. We've also got a small vent in the top left corner which lets some of the hot air escape from the card.
With the card following the standard specifications, there isn't anything unusual in the clocks department. The core comes in at 725MHz while the 1GB of GDDR5 memory carries with it a 4000MHz QDR clock.
Test System Setup and 3DMark Vantage
Test System Setup
Processor(s): Intel Core i7 920 @ 3.8GHz (190MHz x 20)
Cooling: Noctua NH-U12P (Supplied by Noctua)
Motherboard(s): GIGABYTE EX58-UD5 (Supplied by GIGABYTE)
Memory: 3 X 2GB OCZ Technology PC-12800 DDR-3 8-8-8-24 (OCZ3G1600LV6GK)
Hard Disk(s): Western Digital 300GB Velicorapter (Supplied by Western Digital)
Operating System: Windows Vista SP1 64-bit
Drivers: ATI Catalyst Cypress Driver 9.10 Beta
Today we'll have a look at how the HD 5850 is performing in a number of our benchmarks against the HD 5870 along with both HD 5800 cards also running in CrossFire form.
Let's get started!
Version and / or Patch Used: 1.0.1
Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com
Product Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com/products/3dmarkvantage/
Buy It Here
3DMark Vantage is the new industry standard PC gaming performance benchmark from Futuremark, newly designed for Windows Vista and DirectX10. It includes two new graphics tests, two new CPU tests, several new feature tests, and support for the latest hardware.
3DMark Vantage is based on a completely new rendering engine, developed specifically to take full advantage of DirectX10, the new graphics API from Microsoft.
Looking at 3DMark Vantage the HD 5850 really doesn't fall that far behind its big brother, the HD 5870. The biggest difference is ultimately seen at the higher X preset.
Benchmarks - PT Boats: Knights of the Sea
PT Boats: Knights of the Sea
Version and / or Patch Used: Benchmark Demo
Developer Homepage: http://en.akella.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.pt-boats.net/
PT Boats: Knights of the Sea is a naval action simulator that places gamers in charge of a mosquito fleet of the Allied Forces, Russia or Germany during the height of World War II.
Using the latest Direct X 10 technology PT Boards - Knights of the Sea manages to apply a lot of stress to the components of today which in turn gives us quite an intensive benchmark.
Across the board we see some good numbers coming from the HD 5850. Even at 2560 x 1600 with the settings at high we're able to break the 30 FPS minimum.
Benchmarks - CINEBENCH R10
Version and / or Patch Used: Release 10
Developer Homepage: http://www.maxon.net/
Product Homepage: http://www.maxon.net
CINEBENCH is a real-world test suite that assesses your computer's performace capabilities. MAXON CINEBENCH is based on MAXON's award-winning animation software, CINEMA 4D, which is used extensively by studios and production houses worldwide for 3D content creation. MAXON software has been used in blockbuster movies such as Spider-Man, Star Wars, The Chronicles of Narnia and many more.
MAXON CINEBENCH runs several tests on your computer to measure the performance of the main processor and the graphics card under real world circumstances. The benchmark application makes use of up to 16 CPUs or CPU cores and is available for Windows (32-bit and 64-Bit) and Macintosh (PPC and Intel-based).
We can see no benefits from CrossFire which means we're seeing pretty similar numbers from all setups across the board.
Benchmarks - World in Conflict
World in Conflict
Version and / or Patch Used: 188.8.131.52
Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in Test
Developer Homepage: http://www.massive.se
Product Homepage: http://www.worldinconflict.com
World in Conflict is a real-time strategy video game by Massive Entertainment and to be published by Sierra Entertainment for Windows (DX9 and DX10).
The game is set in 1989 where economic troubles cripple the Soviet Union and threaten to dissolve it. However, the title pursues a "what if" scenario where, in this case, the Soviet Union does not collapse and instead pursues a course of war to remain in power. It is an intensive new game is sure to put plenty of stress on even the latest graphics cards and we use the built-in benchmarking for our testing.
Like PT Boats we see good numbers across the board. More importantly, though, at these high presets we're still sing the HD 5850 break that 30 FPS minimum at 2560 x 1600.
Benchmarks - Crysis Warhead
Version and / or Patch Used: Unpatched
Timedemo or Level Used: Airfield
Developer Homepage: http://www.crytek.com
Product Homepage: http://crysiswarhead.ea.com/
Buy It Here
Crysis Warhead updates and refines the gameplay of the original game through a sidestory plot involving Psycho, one of previous protagonist Nomad's allies. The game is a parallel story that follows Sergeant Michael "Psycho" Sykes, a character from the original Crysis, as he faces his own trials and challenges on the other side of the island during the time period of the first game.
It also showcases a new, enhanced and optimized version of CryEngine 2 using full DX10 extensions and is the first game developed by Crytek's Budapest studio.
Warhead is extremely intensive and we can see the HD 5850 struggles here. Unlike the HD 5870 it's unable to break 30 FPS at any resolution.
Benchmarks - Far Cry 2
Far Cry 2
Version and / or Patch Used: 1.01
Timedemo or Level Used: Ranch Long
Developer Homepage: http://www.ubi.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.farcry2.com/
Buy It Here
The Dunia Engine was built specifically for Far Cry 2 by the award-winning Ubisoft Montreal development team. It delivers the most realistic destructible environments, amazing special effects such as dynamic fire propagation and storm effects, real-time night-and-day cycle, dynamic music system, non-scripted enemy A.I. and so much more.
Like we saw in PT Boats and World in Conflict, we're seeing good numbers again, but ultimately the most important thing is that we're seeing above 30 FPS at 2560 x 1600. Even if it's only just above, that's really all we need.
Benchmarks - S.T.A.L.K.E.R. - Clear Sky
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. - Clear Sky
Version and / or Patch Used: 1.5.07
Timedemo or Level Used: Custom Timedemo
Developer Homepage: http://www.gsc-game.com/
Product Homepage: http://cs.stalker-game.com/en/
Buy It Here
S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky, is the stand-alone prequel for S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl, a first-person shooter computer game by Ukrainian developer GSC Game World. The game consists of a roughly 50/50 mix of new areas and old, remodeled areas from the previous game. The X-ray graphics engine has been updated to version 1.5 and includes DirectX 10 support (later patch 1.5.06 included DirectX 10.1). Additionally, the AI received an overhaul to accommodate the new faction wars feature.
At up to 1920 x 1200 we can see we're above 30 FPS in the minimum department. As for 2560 x 1600, it's a no go zone. With that said, though, we can see it's also a no go zone for the HD 5870 in single card form.
Benchmarks - Left 4 Dead
Left 4 Dead
Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update
Timedemo or Level Used: Custom Timedemo
Developer Homepage: http://www.valvesoftware.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.l4d.com/
Buy It Here
Left 4 Dead uses the latest version of Valve's Source engine, with improvements such as multi-core processor support and physics-based animation to more realistically portray hair and clothing, and to improve physics interaction with enemies when shot or shoved in different body parts. Animation was also improved to allow characters to lean realistically when moving in curved paths.
Rendering and artificial intelligence were scaled up to allow for greater number of enemies who can navigate the world in better ways, such as climbing, jumping or breaking obstacles. Lighting has been enhanced with new self-shadowing normal mapping and advanced shadow rendering that is important to convey information about the environment and player actions.
Big numbers across the board and you're really not going to have any trouble playing Left 4 Dead at any resolution here.
Benchmarks - High Quality AA and AF
High Quality AA and AF
Our high quality tests let us separate the men from the boys and the ladies from the girls. If the cards weren't struggling before they will start to now.
Far Cry 2
With only a single card installed, getting Far Cry 2 to play nicely at these settings just isn't going to happen.
World In Conflict
While the HD 5870 manages to just be over that 30 FPS minimum, we can see the HD 5850 is just behind it. Maybe move to 2x AA or drop the AF and we can be over it.
Left 4 Dead
With no minimum we want to see an average of 60 FPS or better. As you can see above, we have that, so it's looking pretty good for Left 4 Dead gamers who are interested in playing the game at high details.
Temperature and Sound Tests
With the TES 1326 Infrared Thermometer literally in hand we found ourselves getting real-world temperatures from the products we test at load (3D clock speeds).
There are two places we pull temperature from - the back of the card directly behind the core and if the card is dual slot and has an exhaust point we also pull a temperate from there, as seen in the picture.
We can see that all the cards sit within a degree of each other.
Pulling out the TES 1350A Sound Level Meter we find ourselves quickly yelling into the top of it to see how loud we can be.
After five minutes of that we get a bit more serious and place the device two CM away from the fan on the card to find the maximum noise level of the card when idle (2D mode) and in load (3D mode).
Noise levels are much like the temperature; no real difference between the setups.
Power Consumption Tests
Using our new PROVA Power Analyzer WM-01 or "Power Thingy" as it has become quickly known as to our readers, we are now able to find out what kind of power is being used by our test system and the associated graphics cards installed. Keep in mind; it tests the complete system (minus LCD monitor, which is plugged directly into AC wall socket).
There are a few important notes to remember though; while our maximum power is taken in 3DMark06 at the same exact point, we have seen in particular tests the power being drawn as much as 10% more. We test at the exact same stage every time; therefore tests should be very consistent and accurate.
The other thing to remember is that our test system is bare minimum - only a 7,200RPM SATA-II single hard drive is used without CD ROM or many cooling fans.
So while the system might draw 400 watts in our test system, placing it into your own PC with a number of other items, the draw is going to be higher.
It comes as no surprise that the HD 5850 draws less power than its big brother, the HD 5870 and the two CrossFire setups respectively.
We ultimately knew what to expect when it came to testing the HD 5850. The good news is that we're not disappointed with the card nor the bundle that HIS have given us today. What we have here is another great HD 5850 that anyone would really like to own.
It's good to see Grid 2 was included in the bundle which really helps the card and package go from good to great. If you find yourself wanting to game at resolutions up to 1920 x 1200 or feel that you're a more casual gamer that will play just here and there at 2560 x 1600, the HD 5850 is the perfect card for you.
We're not really seeing anything too different with the HIS version of the HD 5850, though. With that said, we really don't need to see anything new; out of the box the HD 5850 in its reference form is a great card and that's exactly what we've got on our hands today.
The good news as well is that if you want a bit of extra power later down the track, adding a second HD 5850 really does yield some impressive performance gains which make it an attractive option. For now, though, if you're looking for just a single HD 5850 the HIS version we have with us today doesn't give us anything to complain about.
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