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Powercolor Radeon HD5850 PCS+ Video Card review

Rating: 8.0.

ATI have been enjoying huge success in 2010. The 5xxx series of graphics cards has been fondly received by both the public and critics … the combination of low power requirements with top tier performance has proven hard to beat. nVidia have managed to level the playing field lately with the latest Fermi cards, but most people would agree that ATI are still in a very strong position. When heat and power drain are important, the 5xxx is still king.

Without a doubt, my favourite card in the ATI range is the 5850 series. They are very efficient and overclock like crazy, putting them right beside 5870 performance levels for a fraction of the cost. When Powercolor asked if I would like a look at their own overclocked heatpipe version of the HD5850 I couldn’t resist. Contrary to popular belief, we don’t get to keep these cards, but I certainly do love playing with them and making sure we give solid, unbiased buying information to our readers.

The Powercolor Radeon HD5850 PCS+ Video card is supplied pre-overclocked, but its a relatively modest increase, not quite as big as the recent Sapphire Toxic edition card we looked at. It isn’t as expensive either and we are interested in potential headroom, so stick with us today and you will get the full breakdown.

I was told I never put enough information into tables, so here is a quick overview for reference.

Card and specifications HD5850 Reference Powercolor HD5850 PCS+ Sapphire HD5850 Toxic Edition HD5870 Reference
GPU Cypress Cypress Cypress Cypress
Shader Units 1440 1440 1440 1600
ROPs 32 32 32 32
Transistors 2154m 2154m 2154m 2154m
Memory Size 1024MB 1024MB 1024MB 1024MB
Memory Bus Width 256 bit 256 bit 256 bit 256 bit
Core Clock 725mhz 760mhz 765mhz 850mhz
Memory Clock 1000mhz 1050mhz 1125mhz 1200mhz
UK pricing £225 £250 £270 £340

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