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ASUS EAH5850 TOP

The Asus EAH5850 TOP is a great higher end card geared for people who like cool and quiet and yet love to over clock and push their hardware to the max if you’re one of those people this card is 100% for you.

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Introduction

With ATI’s great lineup of 5xxx GPUs, companies like Asus have decided to release a 2nd wave of cards featuring improved cooling, voltage options and much more. These added features make the already great line of 5xxx GPUs even better. Today we will be looking at the Asus EAH5850 TOP card. Asus has implemented many upgrades to the reference 5850, including aftermarket cooler, 6pin and 8pin, voltage options, and all of their featured software. With all these added features this looks to be a great card targeted at people building a higher end gaming rig. This card will be for the guy who wants a GPU with options for future performance boosts with overclocking, and for it to run cool and quiet. All in all this card is looking very promising. Lets move on to the benchmarks.

 

Features

ASUS Exclusive Voltage Tweak Technology for up to a 50% performance increase

Up to 20% COOLER during game play and up to 35% QUIETER under idle mode than a generic HD 5830 with DIRECTCU Technology

ASUS Splendid
Watching movies on this PC is as good as on Top-of-the-line consumer television

ASUS Gamer OSD
Real-time overclocking, benchmarking and video capturing in any PC game!

ASUS Smart Doctor
Your intelligent hardware protection and powerful overclocking tool

GPU Guard
Doubles structural reinforcement. Cracks free!

Gigantic 1GB GDDR5 Memory
On-board memory for the best gaming experience & the best resolution

Radeon HD 5850

40nm GPU
Less power consumption & more efficient transistor

Microsoft® DirectX® 11 Support
Bring new levels of visual realism to gaming on the PC and get top-notch performance

PCI Express 2.1 support

Take Your Game Beyond HD
Dual-link DVI able to drive the industry’s largest & highest resolution flat-panel displays up to 2560×1600

 

Microsoft® Windows® 7 Ready
Enable PC users to enjoy an advanced computing experience and to do more with their PC

ATI Eyefinity Technology
Extend the View across 3 Displays to immerse yourself in gameplay and entertainment

Specifications

Feature/Specification HD 5770 MSI R5770
HAWK

HD 5850

 Asus
EAH5850
TOP
# Of Shaders 800 800 1440 1440
Core Clock

850

875 725 765
Texture Units  40 40  72  72
Raster Operators
 16 16 32 32
GFLOPS

 1360

1360  2088 2088
Memory Interface (bit)

128

128 256 256
Memory Size 1 GB 1 GB 1 GB 1 GB
Memory Type GDDR 5 GDDR 5 GDDR5 Gddr5
Memory Clock (effective)
4800 4800  4000  4500

Here in the specifications we can see that the reference 5850 is clocked at 725/4000(effective) and the Asus EAH5850 TOP is clocked at 765/4500(effective). Here we see a difference of 40MHz core and 500MHz (effective) on memory. With these overclocks the Asus card should have a bit of an edge over the stock clocked 5850 resulting in better performance and more FPS.

Pictures & Impressions

The top of the box just gives very basic info on the Asus EAH5850 TOP. Things like the card is overclocked, the direct CU cooler, and that it’s 800 Mhz sorted.

Here with a view of the back of the box we can see it’s filled with information. It shows us the card and the direct CU cooler design and give lots of information on the card.

I’m impressed with the quality of the packaging. Asus has done a great job here, most of the time you open the box and everything is just lying all over and the card is wrapped up. Asus has done very well on quality packaging.

Continuing on with the great packaging we can see that the card is well taken care of under the accessories box. It’s held inside a hard foam cutout and kept very safe. Asus has some of the best packaging around.

Here you can see all the accessories you get with the card. You get 1 crossfire bridge, 1 HDMI to DVI adapter, 1DVI to VGA adapter, 1 dual 4 pin to 6 pin adapter, an install manual and driver and utility CD’s.

Here we have a view of the top of the Asus EAH5850 TOP. The cooler has a really large fan with 2 big heat pipes. It’s called the Direct CU cooler. The cooler is topped off with a plastic shell and a nice ASUS logo.

The back of the card is just plan, there is not much to show off just clean with a black PCB. This card also includes 2 crossfire connectors for up to 4 cards running in crossfire.

Here with a side view of the Asus EAH5850 TOP we can see several things. You can see the cooler has 2 big heatpipes and there is a heatsink on the VRMs. Also one great feature of this card is there is a support bar running the length of the card. Most longer cards tend to bend under the weight of the cooler over time this support bar should prevent that.

Here is a view of the back of the card. There is one big difference from this Asus 5850 and a reference 5850. This 5850 instead of using dual 6 pins actually uses a 6 pin and 8 pin connectors. Supporting more efficient power to the card leading to higher stable clocks.

The rear of the card just shows the output panel and vents. Almost identical to the reference 5850 except the Asus EAH5850 TOP only has 1 DVI instead of 2.

Metholdology

To test this card, we did a fresh load of Windows Vista Ultimate 64 bit and applied all the patches and updates for the OS, then we updated all the Motherboard drivers and made sure that we had the latest 10.3 Catalyst drivers. We didn’t install any video drivers on the test rig at first, we just installed the basics and then cloned the hard drive using Acronis. That way when we switch from the ATI GPU to the Nvidia GPU we can have a fresh load with no old drivers hanging around to bugger up our benchmark numbers.

We ran each test 3 times and averaged the results, the average of those results are reported here. The one exception to the 3 run rule is Stalker, this test is just too long so all of the individual tests were averaged together. Below is a detailed list of the components used during testing.

 

Test Rig
Case Cooler Master Cosmos S
CPU Intel i7 920 @ 3.6GHz
Motherboard Asus Rampage II Extreme
Ram G. Skill Trident 3x2GB @ 1804MHz
CPU Cooler Swiftech 655,Koolance 340,XSPC 120.3,Swiftech micro res
Hard Drives WD 320GB Blue
Optical Samsung DVD-R
GPU’s Tested

Sapphire 5770
MSI R5770 HAWK
Asus EAH5850 TOP

Testing PSU Ultra X4 1050w

 

Synthetic Benchmarks & Games
 

Synthetic Benchmarks & Games
3DMark 06
3DMark Vantage
Crysis Warhead
Resident Evil 5
Far Cry 2
Hawx
Dirt 2
Unigine
World in Conflict

Overclocking

To overclock the card I set the clocks up by 10MHz until the card became unstable then backed it down 10MHz and tested it for stability. Here are the results we got in out limited testing time.

here are the clocks we achieved.

Core Clock Memory Clock
950

1285

 

  This card overclocked great. The stock 5850 core is set at 725MHz, while this card comes pre overclocked to 765MHz core. I was able to clock it up to 950MHz core; that’s a big jump in clock speed. Also the stock 5850 comes with a memory speed of 1000 MHz while this card comes pre clocked to 1125MHz. I was able to clock it up to 1285MHz; again another big increase. Here’s a screen shot of my clocks.

 

Here we have a quick run in 3DMark Vantage with stock and overclocked settings.

As you can see overclocking the 5850 resulted in massive performance boosts. Here we gained a little over 3000 points GPU score just by overclocking the card. This shows the true potential of the Asus EAH5850 TOP.

3DMARK06 V. 1.1.0

3DMark06 developed by Futuremark, is a synthetic benchmark used for universal testing of all graphics solutions. 3DMark06 features HDR rendering, complex HDR post processing, dynamic soft shadows for all objects, water shader with HDR refraction, HDR reflection, depth fog and Gerstner wave functions, realistic sky model with cloud blending, and approximately 5.4 million triangles and 8.8 million vertices; to name just a few. The measurement unit “3DMark” is intended to give a normalized mean for comparing different GPU/VPUs. It has been accepted as both a standard and a mandatory benchmark throughout the gaming world for measuring performance.

In 3Dmark06 the 5850 clearly walks all over the 5770s. I was quite impressed with its overall performance in 3Dmark06. With a score of almost 22k overall, the Asus EAH5850 TOP is really putting out some great numbers even on the first benchmark.

3DMark Vantage

For complete information on 3DMark Vantage Please follow this Link:

www.futuremark.com/benchmarks/3dmarkvantage/features/

The newest video benchmark from the gang at Futuremark. This utility is still a synthetic benchmark, but one that more closely reflects real world gaming performance. While it is not a perfect replacement for actual game benchmarks, it has its uses. We tested our cards at the ‘Performance’ setting.

Currently, there is a lot of controversy surrounding NVIDIA’s use of a PhysX driver for its 9800 GTX and GTX 200 series cards, thereby putting the ATI brand at a disadvantage. Whereby installing the PyhsX driver, 3DMark Vantage uses the GPU to perform PhysX calculations during a CPU test, and this is where things get a bit gray. If you look at the Driver Approval Policy for 3DMark Vantage it states; “Based on the specification and design of the CPU tests, GPU make, type or driver version may not have a significant effect on the results of either of the CPU tests as indicated in Section 7.3 of the 3DMark Vantage specification and white paper.” Did NVIDIA cheat by having the GPU handle the PhysX calculations or are they perfectly within their right since they own Ageia and all their IP? I think this point will quickly become moot once Futuremark releases an update to the test.

Again here we see a giant lead by the Asus EAH5850 over the 5770s. This card has really shined, here it almost doubles the GPU score of the standard 5770.

 CRYSIS WARHEAD

Crysis Warhead is the much anticipated sequel of Crysis, featuring an updated CryENGINE™ 2 with better optimization. It was one of the most anticipated titles of 2008.

The Settings we use for benchmarking Warhead

In the first test we can already see that the 5850 has a really big lead over the 5770s. If we take a closer look the minimum FPS for the Asus 5850 is the same as the average FPS of the 5770. We can also see the average is just under double the 5770.

Again here we can see even at 1600×1200 that the 5850s minimum FPS matches the 5770s average FPS. Still the 5850 has a massive lead in FPS again just under double the 5770s.

Here is the last bench for this game and even here it blows the rest away. Even bumping the resolution up to 1920×1200 the 5850s minimum FPS still matches the average of the 5770. Here in Crysis warhead we have seen that the Asus EAH5850 has kept a very steady space between it and the 5770s with just under double the FPS in every resolution tested.

Resident evil 5

 

Resident Evil 5 is the latest addition to the popular Resident Evil franchise. Set in Africa, you play as Chris Redfeild who is part of the Bio-terrorism Security Assessment Alliance (BSAA). You are sent to capture Ricardo Irving who is trying to bring a bio-organic weapon to the black market. However you quickly unravel something bigger…

 

The settings we used in Resident Evil 5

Starting off here with some great results. The Asus EAH5850 TOP has just about doubled the 5770 FPS following the trend set in crysis warhead.

A step up in the resolution shows a slight drop from 1280×1024 but it’s still just under doubling the 5770.

At 1920×1200 our last resolution tested, the card continues to perform great. Even at the max resolution that we tested, the Asus EAH5850 TOP has really shown its performance always just a bit under doubling the 5770 FPS. This is a great start both games tested and the 5850 has stayed way ahead and has been very consistent.

Far Cry 2

Far Cry 2, released in October 2008 by Ubisoft, was one of the most anticipated titles of the year. It’s an engaging state-of-the-art First Person Shooter set in an un-named African country. Caught between two rival factions, you’re sent to take out “The Jackal”. Far Cry2 ships with a full featured benchmark utility and it is one of the most well designed, well thought out game benchmarks we’ve ever seen. One big difference between this benchmark and others is that it leaves the game’s AI (Artificial Intelligence) running while the benchmark is being performed.

 

The Settings we use for benchmarking FarCry 2

 

Again, off to a great start here. The Asus EAH5850’s minimum FPS is 20 FPS; a lead over the 5770s average FPS. Even in the average FPS the card follows past set trends almost double the 5770’s average FPS.

Now at 1600×1200 the gap closes a bit. The 5850’s minimum FPS is still well over the 5770s average showing a great lead, but now the both the 5770 and 5850’s average FPS are closer than they have been before but the 5850 still keeps a extremely nice lead.

The last resolution for Far Cry 2 is 1920×1200. Even in the highest resolution tested the Asus EAH5850 TOP’s minimum FPS is a 20 FPS lead over the 5770’s average FPS. This shows us that the card has a very steady lead and is consistent through all resolutions.

HawX

The story begins in the year 2012. As the era of the nation–state draws quickly to a close, the rules of warfare evolve even more rapidly. More and more nations become increasingly dependent on private military companies (PMCs), elite mercenaries with a lax view of the law. The Reykjavik Accords further legitimize their existence by authorizing their right to serve in every aspect of military operations. While the benefits of such PMCs are apparent, growing concerns surrounding giving them too much power begin to mount.

Tom Clancy‘s HAWX is the first air combat game set in the world–renowned Tom Clancy‘s video game universe. Cutting–edge technology, devastating firepower, and intense dogfights bestow this new title a deserving place in the prestigious Tom Clancy franchise. Soon, flying at Mach 3 becomes a right, not a privilege.

The Settings we use for benchmarking HawX

 

In Hawx we can see both cards get an extremely high FPS. The Asus EAH5850 still takes the lead with a 39 FPS lead over the reference 5770 and 24 FPS lead over the MSI HAWK 5770.

Here again we see the 5850 taking a big lead separating itself buy about 30 FPS even with the resolution increased to 1600×1200.

At the final resolution we tested, it managed to still pull a very big lead even at 1920×1200. So far this card has had amazing performance. The card has been steady and consistent which allows us to know we should get all around great performance and always know what to expect from it.

Dirt 2

 

Colin McRae Dirt 2 is the squeal to the popular racing game Colin McRae Dirt. The game is a racing game, but with an off road twist. Instead of racing Bugattis and Porsches your going to be racing trophy trucks and rally cars. The newest addition adds DirectX 11 effects, and modified physics from the original game.

The settings we used in Dirt 2

Ok, now here is one of the biggest performance differences we have seen yet. The Asus EAH5850 TOP is clearly a tiny bit under double the FPS of the 5770. This test really shows the power of the card.

Here at 1920×1200 we see it still performs great. The Asus 5850 minimum is about the same as the 5770 average putting this card clearly way ahead.

unigine

Unigine Heaven is a benchmark program based on Unigine Corp’s latest engine, Unigine. The engine features DirectX 11, Hardware tessellation, DirectCompute, and Shader Model 5.0. All of these new technologies combined with the ability to run each card through the same exact test means this benchmark should be in our arsenal for a long time.

The settings we used in Unigine Heaven

The Unigine demo is one of the DX11 benchmarks we ran. As you can see we got great results. The Asus 5850 far outperformed the 5770s with a nice 19 FPS lead.



Stepping up the resolution to 1600×1200 we can see that the 5850 still keeps a good lead ahead of the 5770, keeping it in a nice forward spot. This card has consistently been way ahead of the 5770s even in some of the hardest tests it’s always pushed way ahead.


Here at the highest resolution we tested it still continues the trend a big lead over the 5770s, almost 15 FPS even in a tough benchmark at a high resolution.

 

 World in Conflict Demo

World in Conflict is a real-time tactical video game developed by the Swedish video game company Massive Entertainment, and published by Sierra Entertainment for Windows PC. The game was released in September of 2007. The game is set in 1989 during the social, political, and economic collapse of the Soviet Union. However, the title postulates an alternate history scenario where the Soviet Union pursued a course of war to remain in power. World in Conflict has superb graphics, is extremely GPU intensive, and has built-in benchmarks. Sounds like benchmark material to us!

The Settings we use for benchmarking WiC

 

Here is the start of our last game test. Starting out we can see that again the minimum FPS of the Asus EAH5850 TOP matches that of the average on the 5770. Again as far as 5770 vs. 5850 the card performs a lot higher.


Next step up in resolution to 1600×1200, yet again still keeping its massive lead. Asus EAH5850 TOP’s minimum FPS matches the 5770’s average. With the 5850 vs. the 5770, the 5850 has almost double the performance shown again in the test.

This is the final benchmark for the Asus EAH5850 TOP. To finish off testing it shows us again and again a massive lead in performance and FPS and some great FPS even in high resolutions all around even in some of todays most demanding games.

Temperatures

To test the temperatures I booted up Furmark 1.7. I let Furmark run for 30 minutes then recorded the highest temperature. I then let the card idle doing nothing for another 30 minutes and recorded the temperature after the wait. Below are the results.

 

  Idle (°C) Load (°C)
Stock  39

 69

Overclocked  40  73

I was impressed with the cooler on this card. This is an aftermarket cooler but having only 2 heat pipes vs some cards I’ve seen with 4+ I was worried. But when I began testing I was amazed stock this card being faster than a 5770 ran the same temps as my MSI R5770 HAWK even though its performance well exceeds it. Even overclocked this card runs well within safe temps and idles super cool. Also I should mention I can’t hear this card at all over my case fans and I have a very quiet pc since it’s all liquid cooled. Even at 100% fan speed I can just hear it. This card is super quiet and stay super quiet and super cool. I was extremely impressed with this card.

Conclusion

In conclusion this card performed well above our expectations. Asus has implemented lots of really great and extremely useful features into this card. Starting with the aftermarket cooler, this card runs extremely cool for a high end GPU but also at the same time it is super quiet. With the addition of the great cooler, it allows the user to pull the most performance possible out of his card with such low temps; maximum overclocking is possible without heat worries. One of the other really great features is the use of 6pin and 8 pin instead of dual 6 pins. Adding 2 more grounds allowed for a more steady and reliable power source leading to higher headroom in overclocking. The asus EAH5850 also has another great feature for those looking for a great benching card. This card has voltage options to really crank up the core clock to the max which is a great feature to have. The card was built with quality in mind. It has great looks and great performance, an all around great card. Now after listing all of Asus’ features that’s on top of all the features that the 5850 already has packed into it makes this a killer card Also keep in mind Asus loads you up with a killer set of utilities. The overall quality is great. This card would be great for any gamer looking for a card to max out all his games and have future potential with overclocking a card that will last.

 

OUR VERDICT:  Asus EAH5850 TOP

Performance  10
Value  10
Quality  10
Features  9
Innovation  9
We are using an addition to our scoring system to provide additional feedback beyond a flat score. Please note that the final score isn’t an aggregate average of the rating system.
Total  9.5
Pro Cons

-Aftermarket cooler
-Voltage options
-6pin and 8pin

-Only 1 DVI port

 

 

Summary:The Asus EAH5850 TOP is a great higher end card that is geared for people who like cool and quiet and yet love to overclock and push their hardware to the max. If you’re one of those people, this card is 100% for you.

 

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