PowerColor Radeon HD 5870 and 5850 PCS+ - HotHardware

PowerColor Radeon HD 5870 and 5850 PCS+

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How We Configured Our Test Systems:  We tested the graphics cards in this article on a Gigabyte GA-EX58-UD5 motherboard powered by a Core i7 965 quad-core processor and 6GB of OCZ DDR3-1333 RAM. The first thing we did when configuring the test system was enter the system BIOS and set all values to their "optimized" or "high performance" default settings. Then we manually configured the memory timings and disabled any integrated peripherals that wouldn't be put to use. The hard drive was then formatted, and Windows 7 Ultimate x64 was installed. When the installation was complete we fully updated the OS and installed the latest hotfixes, along with the necessary drivers and applications.

HotHardware's Test Systems
Core i7 Powered

Hardware Used:
Core i7 965 (3.2GHz)

Gigabyte EX58-UD5
(X58 Express)

PowerColor Radeon HD 5800 PCS+
Radeon HD 5850
Radeon HD 5870
Radeon HD 5870 OC

GeForce GTX 285
GeForce GTX 480

6GB OCZ DDR3-1333
Western Digital Raptor 150GB
Integrated Audio
Integrated Network

Relevant Software:
Windows 7 Ultimate x64
DirectX Feb. 2010 Redist
ATI Catalyst v10.3a
NVIDIA GeForce Drivers v197.13 / 197.17

Benchmarks Used:

Unigine Heaven v2.0
3DMark Vantage v1.0.1
FarCry 2
Left 4 Dead 2*
Enemy Territory: Quake Wars v1.5*

* - Custom benchmark

Unigine Heaven v2.0 Benchmark
Synthetic DirectX 11 Gaming

Unigine Heaven

The Unigine Heaven Benchmark v2.0 is built around the Unigine game engine. Unigine is a cross-platform real-time 3D engine, with support for DirectX 9, DirectX 10, DirectX 11 and OpenGL. The Heaven benchmark--when run in DX11 mode--also makes comprehensive use of tessellation technology and advanced SSAO (screen-space ambient occlusion), and it also features volumetric cumulonimbus clouds generated by a physically accurate algorithm and a dynamic sky with light scattering. Due to the fact that we tested Heaven in DX11 mode, no NVIDIA GT200 series cards are represented in the graph below.

The increased core and memory clock frequencies of the PowerColor Radeon HD 5870 and 5850 PCS+ give them a slight edge over the stock cards in the Unigine benchmark. The 5850 PCS+'s delta is more pronounced than the 5870's, but ultimately both were faster.

Article Index:

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@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. :)

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Marco C:
I'd personally sacrifice a few MHz for lower temps and quieter operation

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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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 .

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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!!!

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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:)

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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??

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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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