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Sapphire HD 5850 1GB & Sapphire HD 5770 1GB Review

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HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Feb 26, 2007


As we stated in the introduction, there is a good reason we waited until now to post this review: availability. While the HD 5770 has nearly always been available in more than decent quantities, the HD 5850 on the other hand has been extremely hard to find on store shelves and online. To us, there is no point in reviewing a product that isn’t available but luckily things have turned out for the better but the stock issues weren’t resolved before the critical Christmas shopping season.

When push comes to shove, the two cards featured here may seem to be nothing more than distant relatives when it comes to benchmarks. However, it is quite evident they are both perfectly positioned to take full advantage of the market segments they are competing in. ATI really did make a series of rational, well thought-out decisions when releasing the HD 5770 and HD 5850 since while there is enough of a buffer zone between them in terms of price and performance that they will never end up competing with one another. They also both outclass anything from the competition…so much so that it seems NVIDIA has stopped producing their competing GT 200 series and is instead patiently waiting for GF100 to arrive.

In our opinion, the Sapphire HD 5850 is truly a card to be reckoned with since it incorporates near-HD 5870 performance into a package which is smaller, more efficient and quite affordable to boot. No, you won’t have the jaw-dropping performance of ATI’s flagship single chip card but considering the positioning of many of today’s most popular games, the horsepower offered by the HD 5870 won’t be put to good use even in a high-end gaming system. Affordability is the name of the game these days and in this, the HD 5850 wins hands down. To make matters even better, it is dead silent when compared to ATI’s previous generations.

The Sapphire HD 5770 on the other hand is an interesting card in its own right by bringing the features of higher end cards to the $199 price point. No, it won’t wow you with its performance at eye-bleeding resolutions but for those of you on a budget, there is nothing else on the market today that even comes close to its appeal. What we really appreciate is that Sapphire didn’t go down the cost savings road with this card by changing out the cooler or dumbing down the component selection like some of their competitors. There will be some more budget-oriented HD 5770s being released but the reference-based and cooled card should always stay part of Sapphire’s stable of offerings.

Personally, I’m of the opinion that both Sapphire’s HD 5770 and HD 5850 provide excellent value for your money by offering high-end performance coupled with excellent efficiency. Both of these cards have truly set the bar high and may prove tough to overcome by NVIDIA for the foreseeable future. As such, they both get our Dam Good Value Award and the HD 5850 additionally gets our Dam Good Award. However, there is something very important to remember: the extra $100 for the HD 5850 1GB buys you a huge jump in performance over the HD 5770.





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