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Sapphire Radeon HD 5850 Toxic
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by Rob Williams on February 19, 2010 in AMD-Based GPU

AMD’s Radeon HD 5850 may not be the company’s highest-end card, but it still packs a wicked punch. Plus, when overclocked, and overclocked well, it can come close to the peformance of the top-end HD 5870. With the design of Sapphire’s Toxic graphics card, hitting heights like this seem to be made all too simple.

Grand Theft Auto: IV

If you look up the definition for “controversy”, Grand Theft Auto should be listed. If it’s not, then that should be a crime, because throughout GTA’s many titles, there’s been more of that than you can shake your fist at. At the series’ beginning, the games were rather simple, and didn’t stir up too much passion in certain opposers. But once GTA III and its successors came along, its developers enjoyed all the controversy that came their way, and why not? It helped spur incredible sales numbers.

Grand Theft Auto IV is yet another continuation in the series, though it follows no storyline from the previous titles. Liberty City, loosely based off of New York City, is absolutely huge, with much to explore. This is so much so the case, that you could literally spend hours just wandering around, ignoring the game’s missions, if you wanted to. It also happens to be incredibly stressful on today’s computer hardware, similar to Crysis.

Manual Run-through: After the first minor mission in the game, you reach an apartment. Our benchmarking run starts from within this room. From here, we run out the door, down the stairs and into an awaiting car. We then follow a specific path through the city, driving for about three minutes total.

Up until this point, the Toxic version of the card came well above the reference version, but that ends here. I think I have a reason, though. Back in November, a patch for the game was released, and as a result, I believe something caused the performance to decrease just a wee bit on these cards. Therefore, the Toxic, despite being faster, places below the reference card here.

Graphics Card
Best Playable
Min FPS
Avg. FPS
NVIDIA GTX 295 1792MB (Reference)
2560×1600 – H/H/VH/H/VH Detail
27
52.590
ATI HD 5770 1GB CrossFireX
2560×1600 – H/H/VH/H/VH Detail
30
51.813
ATI HD 5870 1GB (Reference)
2560×1600 – H/H/VH/H/VH Detail
29
45.767
NVIDIA GTX 285 1GB (EVGA)
2560×1600 – High Detail
32
45.573
NVIDIA GTX 275 896MB (Reference)
2560×1600 – High Detail
30
44.703
NVIDIA GTX 260 896MB (XFX)
2560×1600 – High Detail
24
38.492
ATI HD 5850 1GB (ASUS)
1920×1080 – High Detail
39
58.886
ATI HD 5850 1GB (Sapphire Toxic)
1920×1080 – High Detail
31
56.992
ATI HD 5770 1GB (Reference)
1920×1080 – High Detail
33
47.719
NVIDIA GTX 250 1GB (EVGA)
1920×1080 – High Detail
21
34.257
ATI HD 5750 1GB (Sapphire)
1920×1080 – High Detail
27
39.904

In our original HD 5850 review, we mentioned that we had a stuttery experience with that card in particular with GTA IV at 2560×1600, and that’s something that hasn’t changed. It’s truly bizarre to me, because this is the only model HD 5000 that happens to do this at that resolution. So because of that, our best playable is forced to be 1080p. Fortunately, GTA IV isn’t exactly a “must have” title for the PC.


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