5850 amd: ATI Radeon HD 5850 Specs

AMD’s Radeon HD 5850: The Other Shoe Drops

by Ryan Smithon September 30, 2009 12:00 AM EST

  • Posted in
  • GPUs



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AMD’s Radeon HD 5850: The Other Shoe Drops


“For those of you looking for the above and a repeat of the RV770/GT200 launch where prices will go into a free fall, you’re going to come away disappointed. That task will fall upon the 5850, and we’re looking forward to reviewing it as soon as we can.”


-From our Radeon HD 5870 Review

Today the other shoe drops, with AMD launching the 5870’s companion card: the slightly pared down 5850. It’s the same Cypress core that we saw on the 5870 with the same features: DX11, Eyefinity, angle-independent anisotropic filtering, HDMI bitstreaming, and supersample anti-aliasing. The only difference between the two is performance and power – the 5850 is a bit slower, and a bit less power hungry. If by any chance you’ve missed our Radeon HD 5870 review, please check it out; it goes in to full detail on what AMD is bringing to the table with Cypress and the HD 5800 series.

  ATI Radeon HD 5870 ATI Radeon HD 5850 ATI Radeon HD
ATI Radeon HD
Stream Processors 1600 1440 800 800
Texture Units 80 72 40 40
ROPs 32 32 16 16
Core Clock 850MHz 725MHz 850MHz 750MHz
Memory Clock 1. 2GHz (4.8GHz data rate) GDDR5 1GHz (4GHz data rate) GDDR5 975MHz (3900MHz data rate) GDDR5 900MHz (3600MHz data rate) GDDR5
Memory Bus Width 256-bit 256-bit 256-bit 256-bit
Frame Buffer 1GB 1GB 1GB 1GB
Transistor Count 2. 15B 2.15B 959M 956M
TDP 188W 151W 190W 150W
Manufacturing Process TSMC 40nm TSMC 40nm TSMC 55nm TSMC 55nm
Price Point $379 $259 ~$180 ~$160

AMD updated the specs on the 5850 at the last moment when it comes to power. Idle power usage hasn’t changed, but the final parts are now specified for 151W load power, versus the 160W originally given to us, and 188W on the 5870. So for the power-conscious out there, the 5850 offers a load power reduction in lockstep with its performance reduction.

As compared to the 5870, AMD has disabled two of the SIMDs and reduced the core clock from 850MHz to 725Mhz. This is roughly a 15% drop in clock speed and a 10% reduction in SIMD capacity, for a combined theoretical performance difference of 23%. Meanwhile the memory clock has been dropped from 1.2GHz to 1GHz, for a 17% overall reduction. Notably the ROP count has not been reduced, so the 5850 doesn’t lose as much rasterizing power as it does everything else, once again being 15% due to the drop in clock speed.

With the reduction in power usage, AMD was able to squeeze Cypress in to a slightly smaller package for the 5850. The 5850 lobs off an inch in length compared to the 5870, which will make it easier to fit in to cramped cases. However the power connectors have also been moved to the rear of the card, so in practice the space savings won’t be as great. Otherwise the 5850 is a slightly smaller 5870, using the same sheathed cooler design as the 5870, sans the backplate.

Port-side, the card is also unchanged from the 5870. 2 DVI ports, 1 HDMI port, and 1 DisplayPort adorn the card, giving the card the ability to drive 2 TMDS displays (HDMI/DVI), and a DisplayPort. As a reminder, the DisplayPort can be used to drive a 3rd TMDS display, but only with an active (powered) adapter, which right now still run at over $100.

AMD tells us that this is going to be a hard launch just like the 5870, with the 5850 showing up for $260. Given that the 5870 did in fact show up on-time and on-price, we expect the same for the 5850. However we don’t have any reason to believe 5850 supplies will be any more plentiful than 5870 supplies – never mind the fact that it’s in AMD’s interests to ship as many 5870s as they can right now given their higher price. So unless AMD has a lot of Cypress dice to harvest, we’re expecting the 5850 to be even harder to find.


Update: As of Wednesday afternoon we have seen some 5850s come in to stock, only to sell out again even sooner than the 5870s did. It looks like 5850s really are going to be harder to find.

Battleforge: The First DX11 Game
IndexBattleforge: The First DX11 GameThe TestCrysis: WarheadFar Cry 2BattleforgeWorld of WarcraftHAWXDawn of War IIResident Evil 5Batman: Arkham AsylumLeft 4 DeadPower, Temperature, & Noise Conclusion


Sapphire HD 5850 Xtreme 1GB Review

Written by

Harry Butler

June 10, 2011 | 07:49

Tags: #5850 #hd-5850 #radeon #xtreme

Companies: #sapphire

1 — Sapphire HD 5850 Xtreme 1GB Review2 — Sapphire HD 5850 Xtreme 1GB Test Setup3 — Sapphire HD 5850 Xtreme 1GB Dirt 2 Performance4 — Sapphire HD 5850 Xtreme 1GB Black Ops Performance5 — Sapphire HD 5850 Xtreme 1GB Arma II Performance6 — Sapphire HD 5850 Xtreme 1GB Bad Company 2 Performance7 — Sapphire HD 5850 Xtreme 1GB Power and Thermals8 — Sapphire HD 5850 Xtreme 1GB Conclusion

Manufacturer Sapphire
UK price (as reviewed)£112 (inc VAT)
US price (as reviewed) TBC

We must admit, we were a little surprised when the Sapphire HD 5850 Xtreme 1GB arrived on our desks; had the postman found a package due for delivery back in 2009? In fact, Sapphire has managed to acquire a large number of the remaining HD 5850 GPUs and has decided to release a brand new cut-price card based on the last-gen chip.

You would be wrong to write off the Sapphire HD 5850 Xtreme 1GB as last-generation junk, though. While the HD 5850’s Cypress GPU has since been superseded by the Barts GPUs of the Radeon HD 6800-series, AMD’s first-generation DirectX11 GPU still has plenty to offer.

Click to enlarge

For example, the HD 5850 1GB has a higher stream processor count (1,440 stream processors) than the Barts Pro GPU of the HD 6850 1GB (980 stream processors) and the Barts XT GPU of the HD 6870 1GB (1,120 stream processors). More stream processors usually mean greater speed and a better chance of handling future games, although it’s a little bit more complicated than that.

The Cypress design on which the HD 5850 is based has a less capable front-end, so it can’t accept work (particularly tessellation) quite as efficiently as a Barts GPU. We should also point out that Sapphire has a full range of Radeon HD 6000-series cards as well – we’re just looking at this card because it’s new and interesting.

Click to enlarge

Despite its hyperbolic name, the HD 5850 Xtreme 1GB actually uses standard HD 5850 1GB clock speeds, with the GPU operating at 725MHz and a memory frequency of 1GHz (4GHz effective). While the newer Barts GPUs boast higher GPU frequencies (the HD 6850 1GB – the lesser of the two – runs at 775MHz), the other differences between these and the older Cypress models are subtle.

Sapphire has used both a custom PCB and a custom cooler for the card. Measuring 215mm in length, the dual-slot card still requires a pair of 6-pin PCI-E power connectors, which are end-mounted. Meanwhile, the card’s outputs have been reduced to a single dual-link DVI, an HDMI and a DisplayPort, with a DVI to D-Sub adaptor included in the box.

Click to enlarge

The card’s cooler only cools the card’s GPU, with a copper contact plate connected to two 8mm copper heatpipes that run through a tight pack of aluminium fins. Mounted on the black plastic shroud above these fins is an 80mm fan that blows air down through the cooling fins and over the card’s PCB.