Intro, Specs, and Bundle
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...
The PowerColor Radeon HD 5800 Series PCS+
The PowerColor Radeon HD 5870 and Radeon HD 5850 PCS+ cards both ship with the exact same accessory bundle.
Included with the cards themselves, we found quick installation guides and driver discs, single DVI-to-VGA adapters, and CrossFire bridge connectors--nothing terribly exciting, but most of the essentials are there. We would have like to have seen PCI Express power adapters included as well, however.
In addition to the aforementioned items though, PowerColor also throws in a copy of the DirectX 11-based Colin McRae Dirt 2 racing game from CodeMasters. Although I loathe Dirt 2's interface, the game itself is really good. And it's absolutely a welcome addition to the accessory bundle.