My XFX 5850 Black Edition has landed :)


Oct 13, 2004
Goodbye to my trusty old Asus 4850 512mb, your 800mhz-capable core was nice but your RAM was not :(

Some early observations

Captain Obvious, but it is just brutally quick compared to my 4850, I am very comfortably able to play everything I have at 1920x1200 now and ladle on the eye candy :)

It fitted quite comfortably in my Antec Sonata III once I took the fan behind the HDD cage out (I just moved it above the 5850 and then strapped it to the HDD cage).

The stock Antec Earthwatts 500W PSU seems to handle it and my Q6600 at 3.3Ghz no worries.

I presume our electricity bill will appreciate the extra efficiency on idle (every little counts with costs going only one way, and it probably amounts to a couple of extra CFLs!) :)

It's very quite on auto fan profile in idling and gaming, seems to idle at 21% and highest I have seen it ramp in MSI Kombustor was 37% (looked like it was trying (and succeeding) to hold 85'C core temperature, which I have never seen gaming (usually around 70'C). At those settings I never hear it above my 2x120mm case fans, PSU and stock Q6600 HSF. Turn it up to 100% and it practically blows my desk accross the room while sounding very loud (and cooling amazingly, but that's rather beside the point I suppose ;))

Afterburner has voltage control showing up, although I haven't had a chance to try to overclock it beyond the CCC limits yet (card came at 765/4500 stock, running at the max of the sliders which is 775/4500 now). Voltage at those settings look like 1.0875 at full load, so hopefully it will have oodles of headroom when I give it a shot. Is there an easy way to bypass the CCC limits?

Anyway, one very happy customer here :) I think this will last me a long time now, and if it's getting too slow I can always add another I guess ;)

Why did I choose it?

I wanted a high-end gaming, DX-11 supporting card that will last at least a couple of years like my 4850 did (so the 5770 was out, too close to my oc'd 4850, and the GTX 285 was out, no DX11). The 5870 wouldn't fit in my case I don't think (in fact I am pretty sure!), and given the 5850's overclocking reputation it didn't seem a sensible premium for me to pay, as I am happy to overclock. Unlike last time round with the 4850/4870, the 5850 doesn't seem nearly as cut-down/gimped in relation to the 5870 as the 4850 was to the 4870 (damn you crappy RAM!), and overclocking seems to easily make up the difference.

I had seriously considered giving a GTX 470 a try (I have fond memories of my 6800GS AGP that clocked way way past the old 6800Ultra), but the cost here is just daft at this stage (more than a 5870), and given the 5850s have massive reputations as overclockers the 5850 just seemed to be the way to go in this round at this point in time. I also wasn't at all confident my PSU would be up to powering the GTX 470, especially overclocking...and I like to buy at a relatively mature stage in the product cycle, when the dust has settled and the verdict is in on performance/longevity is assured/there's a good representation of general overclocking ability out in the hands of enthusiasts/manufacturing issues have been ironed out ;)

Will have plenty of further questions for you, at this stage I am just rather overawed by it all (plus it's kinda neat and intriguing to have all this VDDC temp and current information to find out more about) :)
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