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Maximum PC Staff Nov 17, 2009

Diamond Radeon HD 5850

At A Glance

Shiny

Impressive performance at under $300

Drab

Warranty and bundled game require online registration; seems pricier than other 5850s.

Performs well, but is pricier than the competition

We admit to mixed feelings about Diamond’s Radeon HD 5850. On one hand, it offers the same strong performance as other Radeon HD 5850 cards—second only to their big-brother HD 5870 cards. But unlike other manufacturers, you don’t get a coupon for Dirt 2 in the box. Instead, you need to register the card at Diamond’s website to get the perk. You also won’t get the two-year warranty unless you register the card.

The other puzzling bit is the price. The card seems to be priced higher than other HD 5850s in our survey of online sites, though only by a few dollars.

Built on the cut-down Cypress chip, with 1,440 shader units and 1GB of 1,000MHz GDDR5 memory, Diamond’s card certainly offers terrific performance at a generally sub-$300 price point that’s sure to please, hitting 30fps in the demanding STALKER: Clear Skies test and pushing past 60fps in the Far Cry 2 ranch scene. But Diamond’s warranty, pricing, and bundle policy seem a little consumer unfriendly, so you might want to consider other HD 5850 cards if you’re in the market.

Review Roundup:

XFX Radeon HD 5870 HID Radeon HD 5870

Sapphire Radeon HD 5870 Asus EAHH5850

Diamond Radeon HD 5850 Sapphire Radeon HD 5850

Gigabyte 260 GTX Super OC HIS Radeon HD 5770

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Benchmarks

Diamond 5850 EVGA 285 GTX SSC
3DMark Vantage Performance
14,359
13,941
3DMark Vantage Extreme
6,583 6,276
HAWX (fps)
57
62
Far Cry / Action (fps) 53
47
Far Cry 2 / Ranch Long (fps)
63
56
Battle Forge / DX10 (fps) 41
46
Crysis / DX10 (fps) 26
22
Resident Evil 5 (fps)
85
87
X3: Terran Conflict (fps)
93
93
STALKER: Clear Skies (fps)
30
27

Best scores are bolded. All games were run at 1920x1200 with all detail levels maxed out and 4x AA enabled. Anisotropic filtering was also enabled in game, where available.

THE VERDICT

Diamond Radeon HD 5850

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