HIS Radeon HD 5850 Turbo 1GB Video Card

Another Turbo model arrives from HIS and this time it's based on the HD 5850. Let's take the time to check it out in our new benchmark line-up.

Manufacturer: HIS Digital
16 minutes & 12 seconds read time


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Only recently we looked at the HD 5870 Turbo from HIS which did a good job of impressing us. Today we're moving slightly down the ladder to the HD 5850 which has become one of the best valued video cards on the market today.

This one from HIS again sits in the Turbo series and is the first retail card to get reviewed on our new testbed with all of our new benchmarks. After just coming off some coverage of the GTX 470, we did mention a few times that due to price of the GTX 470, it really goes against an overclocked HD 5850 when it comes to comparing the two models head to head due to being in the same price bracket.

So, not only today will we be able to see how the first retail card goes through our new benchmark line-up, but we'll also see how the GTX 470 goes against an overclocked HD 5850.

Before we get into that fun stuff, though, let's have a quick look at the package, the card and the specifications that the Turbo model carries. Once that's done we'll get into the benchmarks and check out the performance of the model.

The Package

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HIS Radeon HD 5850 Turbo 1GB Video Card 04

HIS Radeon HD 5850 Turbo 1GB Video Card 05

HIS Radeon HD 5850 Turbo 1GB Video Card 06

Like the HD 5870 Turbo package, there's not heaps that stands out. In saying that, though, the Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 voucher does stand out. With this voucher and Steam you're able to download a full version copy of the game which is great fun; at the same time you'll be able to get into some great FPS shooting soon after the card is installed.

The Card and Specifications

The Card

Looking at the card, you might notice that the cooler design is exactly the same as we saw the other day on the HD 5870. It's of course different to the standard design with the biggest difference being the type of fan being used and the fact that it's now placed in the middle of the card, directly over the GPU.

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On the right hand side we can see the brand and model while on the left you can see that HIS have chosen to clearly take advantage of the fact Modern Warfare 2 is included in the bundle. Behind the fan you can see the heatsink and in between that we have some heat pipes to help keep the card as cool as possible.

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HIS Radeon HD 5850 Turbo 1GB Video Card 09

While the cooler might be different, the rest of the card doesn't really hold any surprise at all. Towards the back we've got our two 6-Pin PCI E power connectors while across the top but closer to the front we have our two CrossFire connectors in the event you want to throw a couple of these together.

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The I/O department carries the standard HD 5800 series Eyefinity setup which is two Dual-Link DVI connectors along with a single DisplayPort and HDMI connector.


As we've already mentioned a few times, this particular version of the HD 5850 is a Turbo one and it's not just a little baby overclock. Having a look below, you can see that HIS have given us a nice little bump.

HIS Radeon HD 5850 Turbo 1GB Video Card 01

The core comes in at 765MHz which is a good 40MHz up on the stock 725MHz clock, while the 1GB of GDDR memory which normally comes in at 4000MHz QDR now carries with it a 4500MHz QDR clock.

The overclock that HIS is offering us should really yield some good performance increases when compared to a standard HD 5850. It'll also be interesting to see how it goes against the newly released GTX 470 from NVIDIA.

Test System Setup and 3DMark Vantage

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We would like to thank the following companies for supplying and supporting us with our test system hardware and equipment: Intel, ASRock, Kingston, Western Digital, Noctua and Thermaltake.

If for some reason you chose to skip over our latest Catalyst articles and the GTX 470, you may have missed that we have indeed upgraded our testbed with some hot new items including the new ASROCK X58 Extreme3 motherboard and Intel's new i7 980X CPU.

Let's get started!

3DMark Vantage

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.

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Performance under Vantage is very close between the GTX 470 and HD 5850. You can see that when we introduced the overclocked HD 5850 into the picture, a clear winner can be seen; in this case it's the HIS HD 5850 Turbo.

Unigine Heaven Benchmark

Version and / or Patch Used: 1 and 2
Developer Homepage: http://www.unigine.com
Product Homepage: http://unigine.com/press-releases/091022-heaven_benchmark//

New benchmark grants the power to unleash the DirectX 11 potential in the gift wrapping of impressively towering graphics capabilities. It reveals the enchanting magic of floating islands with a tiny village hidden in the cloudy skies. With the interactive mode emerging experience of exploring the intricate world is ensured within reach. Through its advanced renderer, Unigine is one of the first to set precedence in showcasing the art assets with tessellation, bringing compelling visual finesse, utilizing the technology to the full extend and exhibiting the possibilities of enriching 3D gaming.

Note: If a card doesn't support DirectX 11 the benchmark will be left out, if it does it will be included along with the DirectX10 results.

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Under V1 of Heaven we can see that both the HIS and Sapphire HD 5850s sit very close together. Under V2, though, which is more intensive, the overclock on offer from the Turbo HD 5850 gives it a performance bump. However, compared to the GTX 480 the ATI offerings do fall back a bit due to the advanced Tessellation features on offer from NVIDIA.

Benchmarks - CINEBENCH


Version and / or Patch Used: Release 10 and Release 11.5
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).

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CB R10 performance is slightly down for some reason compared to the stock HD 5850. We ran the test a few times and continued to get the same results. For most, though, the performance under this benchmark won't matter. As for R11.5 performance, it lines up as you would expect with the other HD 5850.

Benchmarks - Resident Evil 5

Resident Evil 5

Version and / or Patch Used: Demo Benchmark
Developer Homepage: www.residentevil.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.residentevil.com/

Resident Evil 5 is a survival horror video game developed and published by Capcom. The game is the seventh installment in the Resident Evil survival horror series, and was released on September 18. Resident Evil 5 revolves around Chris Redfield and Sheva Alomar as they investigate a terrorist threat in Kijuju, a fictional town in Africa.

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Across the board we see a bump in performance from the Turbo variant of the HD 5850. Compared to the GTX 470 the card does fall slightly behind, although it's significantly less at 2560 x 1600.

The good news is that as far as playability goes you're not going to run into any problem playing RE5 at 2560 x 1600 on any card here with in-game detail at very high settings.

Benchmarks - BattleForge


Version and / or Patch Used: Auto Patched at Load
Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in Test
Developer Homepage: http://www.battleforge.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.battleforge.com/

The Gods have disappeared and the old sun has died, letting a vile twilight engulf the world of Nyn. In exchange for all treasures the mortals possessed, the evil giants agreed to forge a new sun and hurl it into the sky.

But the deal was betrayed, the treasure stolen and now the mortals flee the wrath of the giants. Under the light of a new sun the mortals stumble into a world changed and twisted by an age of twilight. The long journey home has become a conquest of survival.

Note: Supporting DirectX 11 we have seperated the graphs for NVIDIA and ATI cards. While the numbers between the two brands can be compared you have to make note that ATI based HD 5000 series cards are running DirectX 11.

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At 2560 x 1600 HIS is able to extend the performance lead the HD 5850 has on the GTX 470. Dropping down the resolution table, we can see the OC gives it another win at 1920 x 1200 while at 2560 x 1600 it does fall behind, but again the OC helps close that gap slightly.

Benchmarks - Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X.

Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X.

Version and / or Patch Used: Benchmark Demo
Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in Test
Developer Homepage: http://www.ubi.com/UK/default.aspx
Product Homepage: http://www.hawxgame.com/

Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X is an arcade-style flight simulator video game developed by Ubisoft Romania and published by Ubisoft for Microsoft Windows, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and iPhone OS.

The fundamental gameplay mechanics are similar to those of other console-based flight series. Players take on enemies with over 50 aircraft available. Each mission is at real world locations in environments created with commercial satellite data. A cockpit, first person, and third person view are selectable. The third person view gives the player an external view of both their plane and the target.

Set above the skies of a near-future world, increasingly dependent on private military companies with elite mercenaries who have a relaxed view on the law. As these non-governmental organizations gain power, global conflict erupts with one powerful PMC attacking the United States.

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At the lower resolutions the HD 5850 falls a little behind the GTX 470. The overclock on offer from HIS shrinks that gap and while the HD 5850 sneaks ahead at 2560 x 1600, we again see the overclock only extend that lead even more.

Benchmarks - Darkest of Days

Darkest of Days

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.4
Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in Test
Developer Homepage: http://www.darkestofdays.com/index.php
Product Homepage: http://www.darkestofdays.com/index.php

Darkest of Days takes the player through time into historic battles in an effort to save key individuals from certain death. The battles range from Custer's Last Stand at the Battle of the Little Bighorn in 1876 to fighting in Pompeii as ash and fire rain down from an erupting Mt. Vesuvius in 79 AD. Other locations include the battles of Antietam and Tannenberg, and a German World War II P.O.W. camp. There are different missions in every time period and the game takes about 4 hours to complete.

The game features over twenty weapons, both from the original time period as well as those brought back from the future. In addition, there are artillery weapons from different time periods to assist in battle.

Note: With the PhysX set to Medium or High Darkest of Days take advantage of the NVIDIA PhysX abilities. For that reason we will test ATI cards at the Low preset, NVIDIA based cards though will be tested at Low and High.

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HIS Radeon HD 5850 Turbo 1GB Video Card 27

We see a nice bump in performance as we climb the resolution table. Thanks to the inclusion of PhysX the GTX 470 does perform very strong under this benchmark with PhysX on.

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.

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Compared to the stock clocked HD 5850 we see across the board a bump in performance. Compared to the GTX 470 the card does trail at 1920 x 1200 and lower with it pulling out a small win at 2560 x 1600 in the minimum department.

The good news is at 1920 x 1200 we're so far ahead of the 30 FPS minimum that it doesn't matter what card you use. As for 2560 x 1600, the HIS HD 5850 Turbo pulls out a win with a 5 FPS gap from the minimum.

Benchmarks - Batman Arkham Asylum

Batman Arkham Asylum

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.1
Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in Test
Developer Homepage: http://www.batmanarkhamasylum.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.batmanarkhamasylum.com/

Batman: Arkham Asylum exposes players to a unique, dark and atmospheric adventure that takes them to the depths of Arkham Asylum - Gotham's psychiatric hospital for the criminally insane. Gamers will move in the shadows, instigate fear amongst their enemies and confront The Joker and Gotham City's most notorious villains who have taken over the asylum.

Using a wide range of Batman's gadgets and abilities, players will become the invisible predator and attempt to foil The Joker's demented scheme.
Batman: Arkham Asylum features an original story penned exclusively for the game by famous Batman author and five-time Emmy award winner Paul Dini, whose credits include Lost season one and Batman: The Animated Series.

Note: With support for PhysX NVIDIA based cards will be tested with the technology on and off, ATI cards will be tested with the technology off due to it not being supported on their cards.

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HIS Radeon HD 5850 Turbo 1GB Video Card 30

While the HD 5850 does trail behind the GTX 470 at all resolutions, at the highest one which is where we see the GTX 470 begin to struggle, the HD 5850 Turbo with its extra MHz on offer helps bring up the minimum and give the average a nice bump making it overall the fastest card.

Of course, the ATI offerings don't support PhysX, but since the GTX 470 is compared in the article it's relevant to offer the results it receives when PhysX is on.

Benchmarks - Dark Void

Dark Void

Version and / or Patch Used: Benchmark Demo
Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in Test
Developer Homepage: http://www.airtightgames.com
Product Homepage: http://www.darkvoidgame.com/

The game's story takes place during World War II and centers around a cargo pilot named William Augustus Grey (voiced by Nolan North) who is teleported to another world while flying through the Bermuda Triangle. In this world, known as the 'Void', Will encounters an alien race as well as other humans, which are known as the Watchers and the Survivors respectively.

Will reluctantly joins the Survivors who are engaged in a feud with the alien race to satisfy his desire to return to Earth. While aiding the Survivors, Will discovers that the Void is a middle ground that connects both the Watchers homeworld and Earth. It also becomes apparent that the Watchers are supplying the Axis powers with various supplies for reasons unknown. With the help of Nikola Tesla, Will utilizes retrofited Watcher technology to combat the Watchers and eventually find a way to escape the Void.

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HIS Radeon HD 5850 Turbo 1GB Video Card 32

Across the board we see strong performance from the HD 5850 and the Turbo version from HIS is able to make that performance even stronger. At 2560 x 1600 we do see some nice bumps in performance, especially in the average department.

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

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The GTX 470 performs very strong in this test and it doesn't matter what the OC is, it simply wouldn't be able to match the performance it offers here. Compared to the stock clocked HD 5850 we see a slight bump in the average, but nothing too serious.

Resident Evil 5

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While the GTX 470 again pulls out a win here, the HIS HD 5850 Turbo does help close the gap from a 5 FPS difference with the standard HD 5850 to a 2 FPS one.

Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X.

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The ATI offerings perform stronger here and the Turbo version of the HIS HD 5850 is able to increase the lead on offer by an even greater margin thanks to the extra MHz on offer.

Benchmarks - Elcomsoft Wireless Security Auditor

Elcomsoft Wireless Security Auditor

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.51
Timedemo or Level Used: Sample File
Developer Homepage: http://www.elcomsoft.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.elcomsoft.com/ewsa.html

ElcomSoft has pioneered many software innovations that have made it easier to recover passwords protecting various types of resources. For the first time in the industry, the company's patent-pending GPU acceleration makes its way into Wi-Fi password recovery, reducing the time required to recover Wi-Fi passwords up to a hundred times.

Supporting up to four NVIDIA boards such as GeForce 8, 9, and 200, as well as ATI video cards such as RADEON HD 4000 Series and up, Elcomsoft Wireless Security Auditor allows building servers with supercomputer performance at a fraction of the price.

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What's so great about WSA is that it's able to make use of the overclock even though it's not a game benchmark. You can see compared to the stock HD 5850 we get a nice boost. As for it compared to the GTX 470, performance is significantly better, but at the moment the program isn't properly optimized for the GTX 400 cards.

Temperature and Sound Tests

Temperature 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.

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We can see that the cooler that HIS have opted to use comes in nice and low with the core being the coolest out of the lot of cards we've got in our graph.

Sound Tests

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).

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Noise levels from the cooler are pretty standard with no real surprises. Overall they're fairly impressive considering that the card runs cool.

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.

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Power draw doesn't hold any surprises with it sitting where you would think.

Total Performance Rating (TPR)

Total Performance Rating

The TPR graph is a combination of all our benchmarks in which NVIDIA and ATI are on an even playing field. This includes benchmarks where PhysX can be forced off like Dark Void and Batman: Arkham Asylum, but not Darkest of Days.

The TPR number is a combination of:

3DMark Vantage, Heaven Benchmark V2, CINEBENCH R11.5, Resident Evil 5, BattleForge, Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X., Far Cry 2, Batman: Arkham Asylum (PhysX Off), Dark Void (PhysX Off) and our three High Quality tests which include Far Cry 2, Resident Evil 5 and Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X.

All of the benchmark results achieved are then combined into a single number. As this graph will grow over time and cards won't be re-tested, next to each model you'll find the driver version that was used when the card was benchmarked.

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Compared to the stock HD 5850 we can see that the TPR rating has a nice boost. Compared to the stock GTX 470 only a few hundred points separate the two cards. If you removed Heaven Benchmark V2 from the table the HD 5850 Turbo from HIS would actually be the faster card; that's how small the difference between the two models is.

Total Value Rating (TVR)

Total Value Rating

The TVR graph is the TPR score divided by the price of the video card. The price of the video card is based on the list price of the model on Newegg.com. In the event the card isn't listed, it will be based on the U.S. $ MSRP given to us by the manufacturer.

In the event we can't source a price from either, the product will not receive a TVR rating. As with our TPR graph, the amount of video cards on the list will grow over time and the price of the model won't change from what it was when first reviewed. For this reason the U.S. $ price that the card is based off will be included next to the name of the model.

In the event you want to find the TVR rating yourself based on the current price, all you have to do is simply divide the TPR number by the list price.

TVR numbers are rounded to the nearest whole number; 100.3 will be 100; 100.8 will be 101 and 100.5 will be rounded down to 100.

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As always, an overclocked model carries with it the higher price. As we move up the price table we tend to lose some value; this is especially seen in the higher end models like the HD 5870 and HD 5970.

As with the performance rating, you can see it sits very inline with the GTX 470.

Final Thoughts

It's great to see another model from HIS get the Turbo treatment. What's also great about the Turbo series is unlike some other companies that offer overclocked models, the increase that HIS give us is actually noticeable and does a good job of improving performance across the board.

Compared to the stock HD 5850, the HIS does an excellent job of making itself stand out against a model with reference clocks. Against the GTX 470 the overclock HIS gives us does an excellent job of battling the model. At 1680 x 1050 where the GTX 470 often wins out the HIS HD 5850 Turbo manages to still slightly fall behind. In saying that, though, the gap becomes smaller. At 1920 x 1200 and 2560 x 1600 we see the extra grunt kicks in from the overclock and we see a number of wins against the new model from NVIDIA that sits more expensive.

If the extra performance wasn't enough to convince you to look at the HIS HD 5850 Turbo, its bundle which includes Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 or the cooling which makes it the coolest running card that we've tested on our new testbed just might be.

The Turbo series continue to stand out and show us that HIS can make some killer cards. If you're looking at a HD 5850 and want a bit more power from the card I would highly recommend you taking the time to check out the Turbo variant of the model from HIS.

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Shawn takes care of all of our video card reviews. From 2009, Shawn is also taking care of our memory reviews, and from May 2011, Shawn also takes care of our CPU, chipset and motherboard reviews. As of December 2011, Shawn is based out of Taipei, Taiwan.

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