Sapphire Radeon HD 5850 and HD 5830 1GB Xtreme Video Cards Review

Sapphire re-releases the HD 5850 and HD 5830. Should we or you really care, though? - Let's find out!

@ShawnBakerTW
Published Thu, May 5 2011 9:26 PM CDT   |   Updated Tue, Nov 3 2020 7:02 PM CST
Rating: 92%Manufacturer: Sapphire

Introduction and Package


Introduction

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I'm not sure what word I would use to describe what came to mind when I heard that Sapphire was going to be re-releasing the HD 5850 and HD 5830 to the market. First I wondered, why? - But the answer to that would be nothing more than excess cores that need to go.

Next, I was a bit surprised and shocked because I felt it was more of a step backwards than anything else. The thing is, though, if the price and performance is good, why not buy one? - Both models were very good over 12 months ago, but the HD 5830 never sold. People didn't like the 30 naming scheme and it was never really accepted.

Why would it be accepted this time? - Well, it won't be, because the people who are going to buy these cards aren't going to care so much about the name, rather the price and performance that's going to be on offer. It's not so much that the name won't be accepted, but people just won't really care.

Our test line up of games has changed a fair bit from twelve months ago when we last looked at the models. Since then we've also had some fantastic mid-range models launch like the HD 6790 and GTX 560 Ti. So with that all in mind, how is the revamped HD 5850 and HD 5830 going to go? It's all good and well for Sapphire to slap the "Xtreme" name on the models now that they're re-releasing them, but does it mean anything? Well, there's only one way to find out; but before we look at the performance, let's see the package of the cards, the cards themselves and have a closer look at the specifications that are on offer from these new revamped "Xtreme" versions.


Package

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It's interesting to see that Sapphire opted for a smaller box on the HD 5850 which is the higher up model of the two. I'm quite a fan of it, though; it's cheaper to ship and both hold exactly the same bundle which doesn't really hold any surprises.

Card and Specifications


The Card

Looking at the cards, the design isn't anything out of the ordinary with both coolers being ones we've seen before. As for the sizes of the cards, you can see that the higher end model; the HD 5850 is a fair bit smaller. This is probably the main reason Sapphire are able to opt for a smaller box over the bigger HD 5830.

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When it comes to power, both cards are identical with a dual 6-Pin PCI-E setup. The only difference is the location with the larger HD 5830 seeing them on the top of the card while the HD 5850 sees them at the back and slightly separated.

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Connectivity between both cards is almost identical with Dual-Link DVI, HDMI and DisplayPort. The only difference is that the HD 5830 uses a mini DisplayPort connector while the HD 5850 uses a full size one.


Specifications

On the specification front the cards both carry with them the same clock speeds we saw when the models launched. That means the HD 5830 comes in with a core clock of 800MHz while the 1GB of GDDR5 comes in at 4000MHz QDR.

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As for the HD 5850, the 1GB of GDDR5 carries the same clock speed as the HD 5830 coming in at 4000MHz QDR, but carries a lower clock than the HD 5830 at 725MHz. Of course, the big advantage the HD 5850 has over the HD 5830 is that it carries more Stream Processors with 1440 versus the HD 5830 which carries only 1120.

Test System Setup and 3DMark 11


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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, Mittoni, Noctua and Corsair.

With both models priced below $140 US, these last generation high end models slot straight into the super aggressive mid-range segment of this generation from NVIDIA. As for the competition, these cards go against models like the GTX 550 Ti from NVIDIA and actually sit slightly below the new HD 6790 when it comes to price.

Along with those two models in our graphs today, we've also got the more expensive GTX 560 Ti, HD 6850 and previous generation mid-range king from AMD, the HD 5770. It's going to be really interesting to see how these previous high-end models that carry very aggressive price tags now perform against this new crop of mid-range cards.

Let's get started!


3DMark 11

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.0
Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com
Product Homepage: http://www.3dmark.com/3dmark11/
Buy It Here




3DMark 11 is the latest version of the world's most popular benchmark. Designed to measure your PC's gaming performance 3DMark 11 makes extensive use of all the new features in DirectX 11 including tessellation, compute shaders and multi-threading. Trusted by gamers worldwide to give accurate and unbiased results, 3DMark 11 is the best way to consistently and reliably test DirectX 11 under game-like loads.

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Under 3DMark 11 we can see the performance is very strong. The Sapphire HD 5850 Xtreme is actually able to outperform the HD 6850 which comes in at $20 - $30 more. It will be interesting to see how these numbers translate a little later on in our games, though.

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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Looking at Vantage, we can see that both the HD 5800 models perform very strong against the other AMD offerings. The only card that clearly separates itself from them is the GTX 560 Ti which of course enjoys the benefit of PhysX support here.

Unigine Heaven Benchmark




Version and / or Patch Used: 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.

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Firing up Heaven, we can see where the new HD 6000 series models begin to perform strong. Tessellation was an area that AMD improved a lot in the new HD 6000 series and for that reason you're seeing the HD 5800s perform closer to the HD 6790 instead of the HD 6850. Of course, NVIDIA are also very strong with Tessellation and you see performance on the HD 5850 is close to the GTX 550 Ti and miles away from the GTX 560 Ti.

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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Getting past the synthetic tests and into some games, we can see there's some very strong performance. The HD 5850 Xtreme has no trouble outperforming the HD 6850 and both models deal with the GTX 550 Ti and HD 6790 with no problem.

Benchmarks - Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X. 2


Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X.2

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. 2 is an arcade-style flight action game developed by Ubisoft Romania and published by Ubisoft. The game is the sequel to Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X., released in 2009.

The game begins with Colonel David Crenshaw participating in a routine patrol mission in the Middle East. After halting an insurgent attack, a volley of missiles is fired at the Air Force base that Crenshaw was stationed at, with one of the missiles disabling Crenshaw's aircraft, resulting Crenshaw being in enemy captivity. A joint strike force composed of the U.S. Navy, U.S. Air Force, and a Ghost Recon squad executes an operation to rescue Crenshaw. In Scotland, Royal Navy Pilot Colin Munro encounters an unidentified passenger aircraft that explodes from an on-board bomb when undergoing training exercise. In Russia, an air force squadron led by Colonel Denisov and Captain Dmitri Sokov engages separatist aircraft but is ordered to retreat from the region after numerous Russian military installations have been attacked.

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HAWX 2 as we always mention does favor the NVIDIA cards, so we can see they're clearly separated from the AMD offerings. HAWX 2 is actually a game that makes use of Tessellation, though, and for that reason we see the HD 5800 cards perform closer to the HD 6790 in this instance instead of the HD 6850. The important thing to note, though, is that both cards are able to pull an average of over 60 FPS at both resolutions.

Benchmarks - Mafia II


Mafia II

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update
Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark
Developer Homepage: http://www.2kczech.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.mafia2game.com/
Buy It Here




Mafia II is a third-person action-adventure video game, the sequel to Mafia: The City of Lost Heaven. It is developed by 2K Czech, previously known as Illusion Softworks, and is published by 2K Games. The game is set from 1943 to 1951 in Empire Bay (the name is a reference to New York's state nickname "The Empire State"), a fictional city based on San Francisco and New York City, with influences from Chicago and Detroit. The game features a completely open-ended game map of 10 square miles. No restrictions are included from the start of the game. There are around 50 vehicles in the game, as well as licensed music from the era.

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Looking at Mafia II, we can again see that the HD 5850 Xtreme has no problem dealing with the GTX 550 Ti and HD 6850 with it again performing strong and offering over 60 FPS at both resolutions. The HD 5830 does a good job at 1680 x 1050, but does fall slightly at 1920 x 1200. Against the competition, though, it again manages to outperform the GTX 550 Ti.

Benchmarks - Lost Planet 2


Lost Planet 2

Version and / or Patch Used: Benchmark Demo
Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark - Test A Scene 1
Developer Homepage: http://www.capcom.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.lostplanet2game.com/




Lost Planet 2 is a third-person shooter video game developed and published by Capcom. The game is the sequel to Lost Planet: Extreme Condition which is also made by Capcom, taking place ten years after the events of the first game, on the same fictional planet. The story takes place back on E.D.N. III 10 years after the events of the first game. The snow has melted to reveal jungles and more tropical areas that have taken the place of more frozen regions. The plot begins with Mercenaries fighting against Jungle Pirates. After destroying a mine, the Mercenaries continue on to evacuate the area, in which a Category-G Akrid appears and attacks them. After being rescued, they find out their evacuation point (Where the Category-G appeared) was a set-up and no pick up team awaited them. The last words imply possible DLC additions to the game, "There's nothing to be gained by wiping out snow pirates... unless you had some kind of grudge."

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The heavy tessellation seen in Lost Planet 2 combined with just how intensive the game is sees all cards stumble here with only the GTX 560 Ti being able to pull out a playable number at 1680 x 1050.

Benchmarks - Aliens vs. Predator


Aliens vs. Predator

Version and / or Patch Used: Standalone Benchmark
Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark
Developer Homepage: http://www.rebellion.co.uk/
Product Homepage: http://www.sega.com/games/aliens-vs-predator/




Aliens vs. Predator is a science fiction first-person shooter video game, developed by Rebellion Developments, the team behind the 1999 original PC game, and published by Sega for Microsoft Windows, the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360. The game is based on the Alien vs. Predator franchise, a combination of the characters and creatures of the Alien franchise and the Predator franchise. There are three campaigns in the game, one for each race/faction (the Predators, the Aliens and the Colonial Marines), that, while separate in terms of individual plot and gameplay, form one overarching storyline.

Following the storyline of the campaign modes comes the multiplayer aspect of the game. In this Multiplayer section of the game, players face off in various different gametypes in various different ways.

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Aliens vs. Predator is again a very intensive game like Lost Planet 2, but doesn't have that tessellation like it. For that reason we see that the HD 5850 Xtreme and GTX 560 Ti manage to perform very similar to each other with both cards offering us a 60 FPS average or better at 1680 x 1050. As for the HD 5830 Xtreme, we see it's able to perform slightly faster than the HD 6850, but like the HD 6850 it does struggle to break the 60 FPS barrier we aim for.

Benchmarks - Street Fighter IV


Street Fighter IV

Version and / or Patch Used: Standalone Benchmark
Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark
Developer Homepage: http://www.capcom.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.streetfighter.com/




While Street Fighter IV features models and backgrounds rendered in 3D, the gameplay remains on a traditional 2D plane, with the camera having freedom to move in 3D at certain times during fights, for dramatic effect. Producer Yoshinori Ono has stated that he wanted to keep the game closer to Street Fighter II. A new system called "Focus Attacks" ("Saving Attack" for the Japanese version) has been introduced, as well as Ultra moves. The traditional six-button control scheme returns, with new features and special moves integrated into the input system, mixing classic gameplay with additional innovations.

All the characters and environments in Street Fighter IV are rendered as 3D models with polygons, similar to the Street Fighter EX sub-series Capcom produced with Arika. However, there are a couple of key differences. Art director and character designer Daigo Ikeno, who previously worked on Street Fighter III 3rd Strike, opted for non-photorealistic rendering to give them a hand-drawn look, with visual effects accented in calligraphic strokes, ink smudges and ink sprays during the fights.

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Street Fighter IV is of course not an issue for the cards here, but we again see that the HD 5850 Xtreme is able to outperform the HD 6850 while both HD 5800s outperform the GTX 550 Ti.

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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Far Cry 2 performance is very strong across the board for most models here, but we continue to see the HD 5850 Xtreme separate itself from the HD 6850 and GTX 550 Ti. The HD 5830 also manages to perform strong, performing similar to the HD 6850 but easily beating out the GTX 550 Ti again.

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.

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We continue to see that strong performance on offer from the HD 5800 series cards. Really, the HD 5850 Xtreme falls only to the GTX 560 Ti.

Temperature Test


Temperature Tests



The temperature of the core is pulled from MSI Afterburner with the max reading used after a completed run off 3DMark Vantage and the Performance preset.

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Looking at the core temperature of both cards, there's nothing we'd be too worried about coming in at around the mid 60c mark.

Sound Test


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 are strong and slide in with most other setups at under 60 dB.

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 SSD hard drive is used with a single CD ROM and minimal 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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Looking at the power draw of the cards, we continue to see it's quite low coming in at under 300 watt on both models.

Final Thoughts




When I started testing the first thing I really thought to myself was, sure, the HD 5850 Xtreme performs strong, but I have no idea why you would choose it over the GTX 560 Ti which is an extremely strong performing mid-range card from NVIDIA.

I then looked at the price tag of the GTX 560 Ti which comes in at around $230US - $260US and understood at $139.99US the HD 5850 Xtreme from Sapphire is just super good value. You're talking at a pricing level of the GTX 550 Ti, but performance that's nowhere near it except in Heaven, which isn't a game, HAWX 2 which strongly favors NVIDIA and Lost Planet 2 which is very heavy on tessellation but doesn't pull playable numbers on either models, making it irrelevant.

So why would you choose the GTX 550 Ti over the HD 5850 Xtreme? Well, to be honest, I'm not too sure. The aggressive price on the HD 5850 Xtreme is just so strong that the only reason you wouldn't buy it is because you feel you're buying a "last generation" card. The thing is, it's very true and a fair statement. What's so important, though, is that Sapphire hasn't priced this like the high end model it was last year.

This brings us onto the HD 5830 Xtreme. Over at Newegg it'll set you back just $10 less than the HD 5850 Xtreme. There's absolutely no reason why you would not spend the extra $10 to get the HD 5850.

The good news, though, is that currently Newegg bundle the HD 5830 Xtreme with a KWorld Hybrid USB 2.0 TV Stick valued at $50. That of course brings the price of the HD 5830 to a super aggressive amount, but the issue is if you don't need a TV tuner it has no value to you. If you're thinking of getting one or you could sell it off to a mate for $20 - $30, the model carries very strong value.

The release of these models, though, really shakes up the mid-range market. Priced at under $150 US and offering very strong performance, these models are going to worry a lot of partners trying to perform strong in the mid-range segment, which as we've said before is the most important for a lot of companies.

What hurts these models the most is the name. The HD 5800 name has been around for ages and people are going to feel they're buying old technology. In a sense you are, because tessellation performance isn't as strong on the latest generation of cards. The bottom line is you can't get past the price that's on offer from these models. They've been priced at the perfect level to get people interested in them.

The HD 5850 and HD 5830 Xtreme might not do anything that the previous versions we looked at over 12 months ago did, but they've just come in at that perfect price point that is going to make people think twice about buying models like the HD 6850 and GTX 550 Ti. Because really, what's in a name?

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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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