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HIS Radeon HD 5850 review




  • Recommended by TR
HIS Radeon HD 5850


Our Score:


Last week we looked at AMD's brand new top-end graphics card the ATI HD 5870 and found it to be a seriously impressive piece of hardware. It doubled the performance of previous generation hardware (on a chip by chip basis) and came in at a reasonable price. However, knowing that the card I'm looking at today theoretically has 80 per cent of the performance but costs a third less, a full-on recommended for the HD5870 seemed a little over zealous. Well, now we're actually looking at said card so let's see if our presumptions were correct.

Well, we were right-on with the price. Even after being on the shelves for a couple of weeks, prices for the HD 5870 and HD 5850 are still hovering around £300 and £200, respectively. The particular card we're looking at today is made by HIS but it conforms exactly to the reference design provided by AMD. It actually demands a little more than its brethren - in the shops we could find it in - for no apparent reason.

The card is very similar in design to the HD 5870. Indeed the whole 5000 series (including the new mid-range HD 5770 - review coming soon) is sporting the same black and red livery. At 242mm, the HD 5850 is a little (40mm) shorter than the HD 5870, though. This crucially means it isn't longer than a motherboard is wide, so should fit in any ATX form factor case. We're not sure the HIS sticker adds much to proceedings, though.

AMD's new Eyefinity technology has been carried over from the HD 5870 so you still get a choice of four digital outputs; 2 x DVI, 1 x DisplayPort, and 1 x HDMI. As with the HD 5870, though, you can only use three outputs at once and at least one of these must be the DisplayPort. This still gives you the ability to run three 30in monitors at once, though. VGA analogue output can be obtained by using a DVI-to-VGA converter, one of which is provided in the box with this HIS card. You can also output digital audio through the HDMI connections and through the DVI ports, by using special DVI-to-HDMI adapters, giving you a single-cable connection to your AV receiver or TV. These latest cards add support for Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio bit-streaming so they now support all major DVD and Blu-ray audio streams.


October 17, 2009, 5:19 am

I read this review but it wasn't necessary. My next graphic card=Sapphire HD5850 soon.


October 17, 2009, 9:59 am

Hi I can't find any power consumption & temperature page. Are they not important?


October 17, 2009, 5:00 pm

@stranded: I read your comment and it wasn't necessary.

Good review by the way. Might get 2 of these in Crossfire.


October 17, 2009, 6:53 pm

@stranded, your post was not necessary too.

Mr Chester, could you please give relative noise levels of fans in future graphics card reviews? It would be good to know if this particular HIS card is loud or not relative to other manufacturer models and previous generation cards. Including the decibel levels of the fan at idle operation and during heavy load would be very informative. Apart from this omission, good review.

Tim Sutton

October 17, 2009, 7:50 pm

@ guy

I'd say having a *subjective* opinion on noise levels in a review is very worthwhile, but an actual decibel level is only useful if its done while the card is inside a PC case in an acoustically shielded room.

Which would add a lot of expense and time to every review, and really wouldn't add much to a reviewer just saying "a bit louder than x card, but not as loud as y card. Perfectly usable in a HTPC in your living room."

OT: I've just ordered 2 of these, will try some geekery Crossfire action before they go into their separate PCs :-)


October 17, 2009, 8:00 pm

Noise and temps would be good (idle and load).


October 17, 2009, 8:49 pm

@guy - I would also like to know the noise levels but after reading Bit-tech's 5850 review and why they don't give noise levels, I think it's quite difficult to get accurate measurements.

Although I'd still like to know, even if it's just a subjective opinion, and even if it's just to say that the 5850 is quieter/louder then the previous generation of ATi cards.


October 24, 2009, 5:12 pm

Pleas note, I've now added sound level testing to this article.


January 2, 2010, 9:57 pm

Thanks Ed for the sound level testing. Didn't realise it had been added until I did a Google search for 5850 noise levels, and this review came up first.

Hopefully, it'll prove slightly quieter then my 4870 when idle or, if not, I'll maybe have to consider the higher-spec Vapor-X cards.


February 25, 2010, 7:55 pm

A nice card, but I think my 5770 Vapor-x for over £90 less is better value.

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