As with Sapphire’s Radeon HD 5870, the company’s HD 5850 card ships with coupons for two games: Dirt 2 and Battlestations: Pacific. Sapphire’s HD 5850 delivers a stock Radeon HD 5850, with its 1,440 stream processors, 72 texture units, and DirectX 11 support.
In our power-usage testing, Sapphire’s power draw was about average for an HD 5850. Our system power averaged 140W at idle, while pushing 260W at full throttle. Fan noise was fairly loud at full bore, but that was generally true of all the cards. At idle, overall noise levels were low enough to blend into the background of CPU, power supply, and case cooling.
We put the card through its paces in our gaming benchmark suite and found it to be an able performer, easily besting Nvidia’s last-generation best single-GPU card. There were no benchmark standouts, but given that we were running with 4x AA throughout, overall performance was robust. The Sapphire card kept pace with other HD 5850s in our roundup, but lacks the overclocking software tools Asus includes with its card.
The Sapphire Radeon HD 5850 seems readily available, and the best prices we found hovered around $270. The company offers a two-year warranty, but you need to return it to the retailer for replacement cards. There’s no provision for transferring the warranty if you resell the card.