The graphs on the previous two pages tell the tale of the HD 5850 and 5870 very clearly indeed. If you replace your HD 4890 - already a fine graphics card - with an HD 5850, you’ll save 35-50W of power draw and will gain 25 per cent gaming performance. Opt for HD 5870 and the increase in performance is a staggering 50 per cent and you still get the benefit of the reduced power draw.
DirectX 11 patches are already beginning to appear
If you fancy a couple of extra frames per second you can overclock the card using the Overdrive section of the Catalyst drivers. We found the HD 5850 would go from 725MHz/4000MHz to 765MHz/4300MHz, while the HD 5870 rises from 850MHz/4800MHz to 890MHz/5000MHz. On the downside, the extra clock speed increased the loaded power draw by 20W.
Noise levels are far lower than any other high-performance AMD graphics card and they are directly comparable with Nvidia's GTX 285.
The introduction of HD 5000 has led to a reduction in HD 4000 prices and there are bargains to be had. The HD 4890 now sells for £140, the HD 4850 has fallen from £110 to £80, and the HD 4830 has vanished from the shelves altogether.
That makes the £299 HD 5870 look rather expensive but, at £199, the HD 5850 is a snip.
The new HD 5000 chips deliver stacks of DirectX 11 performance yet they are both cool and quiet, and the price isn’t too painful. Bring on Windows 7 and DirectX 11 games – we’re ready! ®
More Graphics Card Reviews...
Sapphire HD 4890
HIS Digital 5850
Sapphire Radeon HD 5870
maybe I missed it but the numbers are lower for the new cards somewhere around 27W idle then again I may have misread. Also as a PC gamer the power draw from the GPU and the system in general is a fact of life. thats why the netbook does the day to day stuff and desktop only gets cranked over for game time. Its like the guy who has the v12 Jag in the garage and drives the civic to work. Both can do the same job within reason, one does it faster while the other does it more economically.
"Next time please report on how much heat these new cards put out"
The power draw is entirely converted to heat. Take the power consumption of the video adapter, say 188W, and use a calculator like the one below to convert it to the units of heat you want.
Of course, some of the heat is vented outside the case, and some inside. Information about that might be useful.
Or you could...
...buy an Xbox 360/PS 3. No need to upgrade every year... (HDD excluded).