Asus Radeon EAH5850

Nikhil Pradhan 2009-12-02
82 Very Good
Price: Rs 16,500

Full Review

You might have already read the reviews of the other ATI Radeon 5000 series cards such as the HD 5970, the HD 5870, the HD 5770 and the HD 5750. The newest ATI card to join that line-up is from Asus’ stables- the EAH5850.

Like the aforementioned Radeon cards the EAH5850 comes DirectX 11 ready and also has support for Shader Model 5.0. Like the HD 5870, it has 1GB of DDR5 RAM; however, since the card is smaller physically and is meant to be one rung lower than the HD 5850 in the 5000 series hierarchy, its core clock speed has been reduced to 725MHz as opposed to the HD 5870’s 850MHz. Similarly, the memory clock speed has also been dropped down to 2000MHz. The card though still uses the same 256-bit memory interface as all the other cards in its family.

In terms of design, Asus has pretty much stuck to ATI’s reference. It looks similar to the HD 5870 apart from being slightly shorter. The only other change is Asus’ brand sticker on the main body and on top of the fan. The EAH5850 comes with dual-DVI ports, an HDMI port and a display port. It still needs two six-pin inputs to power it but the overall power draw is considerably lower than the HD 5870. The Asus card also comes with the requisite manuals, power connectors and a download coupon for the game Grid 2.

Performance-wise the closest competitor to the Asus card is again, the Asus ENGTX285 based on Nvidia’s chipset.  We started off our performance tests with the 3D Mark ’06 benchmark. In it the Asus card managed 18,788 points just about 300 points above the GTX285. In 3D Mark Vantage’s Extreme benchmark, the HD5850 scored 6,483 points again just 100 points higher than the GTX285. In the gaming tests, we started off with Crysis at 1920x1200 with 8xAA and Very High Settings; the EAH5850 scored 24fps. In Far Cry 2 at the same resolution and AA and ultra high settings, the card scored 49fps and in Tom Clancy’s H.A.W.X., it managed 55fps. Overall, the EAH5850 is 4% faster than the GTX285 while its performance scores are about 10% lower than the HD5870’s.

These figures make more sense when put in the context of price. Asus’ price for the EAH5850 is Rs. 21,250 while ATI’s suggested price for the HD 5870 is Rs. 25,000 (which essentially means that you would be able to buy the card in the market for anywhere from Rs. 28,000 to Rs. 30,000). In the same spectrum, Asus has priced the ENGTX285 at a staggering Rs. 29,500, making the winner out of the two quite clear. The Asus EAH5850 is a strong performer and as its price drops in the future, its value for money index will only rise.

Bottom Line

Asus' take on the Radeon HD 5850 manages a performance that slots it right between the HD 5870 and the HD 5750.

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