PowerColor Radeon HD 5870 and 5850 PCS+ Review

When the ATI Radeon HD 5800 series was first introduced a few months back, all of AMD's add in board partners offered essentially the same products, at least at the hardware level. The various boards available during the 'first wave' of Radeon HD 5800 series availability shipped with different accessory bundles and usually had custom decals affixed to their fans and fan shrouds to help differentiate them from one another. But plug them into a slot, install the drivers and they all performed at exactly the same level. That's what happens when ever card is clocked the same and have the same sized frame buffers, etc.

Recently, however, the 'second wave' of Radeon HD 5800 series cards begun shipping. This second wave of product didn't strictly adhere to AMD's reference designs and featured factory overclocks, custom cooling, and even custom circuit boards. The first cards from the second wave of Radeon HD 5800 series cards to land in the HotHardware labs comes by way of PowerColor. The PowerColor Radeon HD 5870 and 5850 PCS+ cards look very similar to each other, but they're nothing like the original Radeon HD 5800s, save for their output configurations. These babies have custom coolers, are factory overclocked and sport redesigned PCBs. Take a look...

PowerColor Radeon HD 5870 and 5850 PCS+ Review

The PowerColor Radeon HD 5800 Series PCS+

Via:  HotHardware
3vi1 4 years ago

The price and performance looks good, but that heat-shroud looks like a cheap/ugly plastic toy compared to what we've been seeing, eh?

recoveringknowitall 4 years ago

I agree about the cheap/ugly and also it looks as though the way the pipes stick out, it might be a problem in some cases. Nice to see you threw the GTX 480 in the mix... sure is a BEAST albeit power hungry, hot, noisy and expensive. lol

If I had to chose between this OC'ed 5870 and the GTX 480, I'd take the 5870 personally.

3vi1 4 years ago

[quote user="recoveringknowitall"]

I agree about the cheap/ugly and also it looks as though the way the pipes stick out, it might be a problem in some cases.


Just cut a hole in the window of your case so that they have room to stick out and call them a feature:  "Now with Thermal Interaction Points for pets and toddlers!".

recoveringknowitall 4 years ago

[quote user="3vi1"]Just cut a hole in the window of your case so that they have room to stick out and call them a feature:  "Now with Thermal Interacation Points for pets and toddlers!".[/quote]

Why... whatever do you mean? rofl

marco c 4 years ago

The shroud may look "cheap" but the PCS+ cooler is excellent.

3vi1 4 years ago

Good to know, but I still think it needs a sticker with a picture of a lady holding a sword. Cards perform better when they have stickers of ladies holding swords.

marco c 4 years ago

Well, everyone knows that's true.

InfinityzeN 4 years ago

Morning Marco.

Nice card there, but what is up with its really weak factory OC?  There are cards out there with a much higher factory OC on them (such as the top model Gigabyte UD).

Are you guys going to OC it to see just how far you can push it?

rapid1 4 years ago

Actually I think it needs a picture of a woman in a bathing suit holding 2 swords. Those also seem to perform way better than the picture of a woman with a sword, and these are the + models so it would be fitting. I will say one thing seeing as I have a 5850 and a 5870 in cross fire! They can both be overclocked rather easily, are very efficient on energy usage, perform great in stock form anyway, and can be overclocked quite easily as well. That is in bone stock form! The main advantage I see here is these are OC'd with a factory warranty. The only thing I could think of that beats them is an XFX card with a transferable double lifetime warranty that can also be oc'd with ease.

3vi1 4 years ago

>> and these are the + models so it would be fitting.

No thank you; No video cards with plus sized models in bathing suits. You gotsta draw the line on performance somewhere, and that's where I draws it.

Then again, this gives me a business idea where I could make a fortune selling curtains for case windows.

marco c 4 years ago

@Infinity - I presume, to help keep heat and noise down, PowerColor didn't jack up voltage very much on the GPU to acheive their OC. In it's stock form, it overclocks much like other 5870s, perhaps slightly better due to the better cooler. We're working on a round-up of the higher-overclocked cards now as well, which will contain the other cards you mention.

With that said, I'd personally sacrifice a few MHz for lower temps and quieter operation. But that's just me. :)

realneil 4 years ago

[quote user="Marco C"]I'd personally sacrifice a few MHz for lower temps and quieter operation[/quote]

I agree, especially when you consider the overall performance you already get with these cards to begin with. Just a few more MPH seems a little silly when you're already cruising at 150, especially if it means that the room temperature is gonna go up because of your computer being on. 

Remember Cooking Times?


Thermal considerations are important these days.

Sound doesn't matter much to me, but I'm hearing challenged anyway.

rapid1 4 years ago

I agree with both of you temperature mans more to me these days with the current performance level of GPU's especially. As far as hearing and PC's go I am 100% deaf in my right ear and 70% deaf in my left ear, so everything sounds relatively quiet to me anyways.

la_guy_10 4 years ago

Again we see very little gain from an over clocked GPU. This is strange to me because we see tremendous linear gains on the CPU side of things. Makes me call into question if it is even worth it to produce the extra heat that comes along with it. On a positive note this cooler should be good if you want to push it. I do like the design as well with the use of the copper heat pipes protruding from the side looks nasty!!!! 

I was really impressed with the temps now that stood out big time, also this card is priced very well. Overall I give it Yes


Good Review Marco

RyuGTX 4 years ago

Love to see all the redesigned cards come out. They run cooler and the price for the most part isn't that far off from the reference/stock video card.

Can't wait to see this video card round-up. Hope you OC each card because I want to see which after-market heatsink/fan combo is the best at cooling and if different PCB designs make any difference. Seeing max OC for each card is nice too.

Inspector 4 years ago

Doe it really matter how the card looks? It should be just te specs it will push out. You can remove that "ugly plastic" and people would still buy it because looks is not everything. The price is nice and the specs are cool so its a overall good card .

recoveringknowitall 4 years ago

Yes it matters how the card looks. It MUST have a slick looking shroud with an awesome sticker of a hot chick with any weapon(sword or gun what ev). It must also have the ability to make my PC levitate and glow in the dark, all the while making me the pwn master of the universe and providing 1000 fps with all settings maxed across 6 monitors! :P

BTW: Chix dig guys with huge gfx cards!!!

animatortom 4 years ago

For the Price performance ratio on these cards, the whole cheap black plastic doesn't bother me. If this thing could stay cool and be priced reasonably, that is really what matters. Once a card is enclosed into the case, I really don't worry about it anymore until the card fails.

Powercolor is usually pretty good when it comes to price, so if they give all the performance without all the flash then I will sign on. They usually do pretty good when it comes to cooling as well.

Although I don't need to worry about the 5850's. Thanks to Hot Hardware's review, I have a FirePro8800 on its way:)

sid.xlfc 2 years ago

Hey i have an intel 945g motherboard....i know its old but i dont plan to upgrade it as of now....

can it support the 5870 or 5850??

rapid1 2 years ago

It seems to have a PCI Xpress port on it visually, so I went to Intel and found the product manual which states it has a PCI Express X16 port! That should definitely support it. Just make sure you have enough juice (outgoing wattage) and the proper PCI Xpress power ports needed by the card included with your Power Supply Unit. I would also make sure you have enough power as PSU suggested output for the exact card you plan to get as well (IE: OC cards will often state they need a bit more power etc). You may even want to look at 6000 series cards as either of them you should be able to find for pretty good discounts I bet. They may also have better cooling and operating PCB memory specs/and memory etc for within a few dollars of each other.

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