AMD ATI Radeon HD 5850 Performance Review

Our Summary and Conclusion

Performance Summary: After running the Radeon HD 5850 through an assortment of tests, a distinct trend emerged. Save for a few instances (namely in 3DMark Vantage and L4D), the Radeon HD 5850 performed right on par with or just ahead of the GeForce GTX 285. The Radeon HD 5850 was also significantly faster than the Radeon HD 4890, but it trailed the more powerful and more expensive cards, like the Radeon HD 4870 X2, GeForce GTX 295, and of course the Radeon HD 5870.


Having thoroughly tested the Radeon HD 5850, it is abundantly clear what AMD's goals were with this product--to introduce a more affordable and more economical to produce variant of the Radeon HD 5870, with an identical feature set, at a price point that severely undercuts rival NVIDIA's current flagship single-GPU based card, the GeForce GTX 285. And should Radeon HD 5850 cards hit store shelves at their projected price point of $259 today, as we are told they are supposed to, we'd have to say enthusiastically that AMD has succeeded in this effort.

As of this moment, 1GB GeForce GTX 285 cards can be found for about $295 - $369 at a variety of e-tailers. At that price range, in light of the Radeon HD 5850's performance--not to mention its features--the GeForce GTX 285 is simply priced too high. NVIDIA will obviously react to the release of the Radeon HD 5850, but upon its arrival at this moment, the 5850 is the clear choice. NVIDIA can claim support for CUDA-enabled applications and PhysX at this time, but AMD's new baby supports DirectX 11 and ATI Eyefinity technology.  It occasionally outperforms the GeForce GTX 285 all the while using much less power, and that bodes very well for AMD.

There you have it. A week after introducing the Radeon HD 5870, AMD is ready with the more affordable Radeon HD 5850. It is not the barn-burner that the 5870 is, but for the money, the Radeon HD 5850 is supremely attractive. Gamers in the market for a powerful graphics card, that supports all of the latest technologies, need look no further.

  • Excellent Performance
  • Great Power Consumption
  • DirectX 11 Support
  • ATI Eyefinity Support
  • Competitive Pricing


  • Just Barely Outpaces The GTX 285
  • No DX11 Games Just Yet

Related content