With the ATI Radeon HD 5870
ever so slightly disappointing, our attention now turns to the other HD 5000-series that are imminent. A little bird has revealed that the lesser HD 5850 will launch 'very early October
' so it looks like we won't have to wait long. We should clarify that the pictures used in this article don't necessarily reflect our source, the images are merely for illustrative purposes.
Judging by the pre-order prices, the HD 5850 looks to be around £200-220 when it does finally launch, and the specs don't look so dissimilar to those of the HD 5870. The lesser GPU may 'only' 1,440 stream processors (rather than the 1,600 of the HD 5870) and operate at 725MHz rather than 850MHz, but it still connects via a 256-bit memory interface to 1GB of GDDR5 memory.
The memory of the HD 5850 runs slightly slower than that of the HD 5870, but ATI hasn't cut the ROPs from the lesser GPUm nor the range of display outputs. Peak power has been shaved from 188W of the HD 5870 to only 151W for the HD 5850 - this is due to the fewer stream processors and lower clock speeds. Both cards still require two 6-pin PCI-E power connectors though.
Here's a low-down of comparative specs and pre-order pricing:
- Aria - XFX, £195.49 (inc VAT) | Asus, £229.94 (inc VAT)
- CCL Computers - XFX, £206.83 (inc VAT) | Sapphire, £190.53 (inc VAT)
- Novatech - PowerColor, £218.49 (inc VAT) | Sapphire, £206.99 (inc VAT) | XFX, £218.49 (inc VAT)
- Overclockers UK - VTX, £199.99 (inc VAT) | PowerColor, £198.98 (inc VAT) | XFX, £198.98 (inc VAT) | Sapphire, £198.98 (inc VAT)
- Scan - PowerColor, call for price | Sapphire, £202.63 (inc VAT) | MSI, £210.28 inc VAT | XFX, £212.42 (inc VAT)
Prices in the US seem to be between $299 and $259 (ex tax)
depending on where you go and what brand you want.
Quite a few HD 5850 cards will come with DiRT 2, click to enlarge
So, there we go - could we have a repeat of the Radeon HD 3800-series on our hands, where the lesser card of the range was actually the more desirable
? At this point, a £100 saving for a few less stream processors and slightly lower clock speeds seems a good deal. Let us know your thoughts in the forums