Sapphire Radeon HD 5850 1GB Toxic Edition Review

by Michael "SKYMTL" Hoenig     |     February 21, 2010

Sapphire Radeon HD 5850 1GB Toxic Review

Product Number: 100282TXSR
Price @ NCIX.com
Price @ Newegg.ca
Price @ Newegg.com
Warranty: 2-years

With Hardware Canucks cluttered with reviews of ATI cards, it is obvious that competition isnít something the graphics card market is seeing a lot of lately. A situation such as this wasnít expected by anyone about a year ago but we have to live with it for the time being. In the meanwhile, ATI hasnít been pulling their punches or resting on their laurels and neither has their board partners. While competition against NVIDIA cards is virtually nonexistent at this point, there are some healthy battles going on between the heavyweights within ATIís stable of partners. These manufacturers are striving to differentiate themselves from their rivals by releasing cards sporting increased clock speeds and some downright interesting cooling solutions and this review will be focusing on one such card. While any sort of competing product from NVIDIA would be welcome by the market, weíre more than happy to make do with Sapphire, ASUS, Gigabyte, PowerColor, and others releasing ATI-based cards of ever-increasing potential.

Sapphire usually leads the pack when it comes to custom versions of ATI cards and even before the official release of the HD 5000-series, they were already leaking information about what would become the first custom HD 5870 available on the market: the HD 5870 Vapor-X. They have followed up that impressive card with a successive number of non-reference DX11 products but have so far stuck to the mostly reference-clocked Vapor-X products. Missing in action were the Toxic and Atomic editions which made a serious name for themselves when they were released as HD 4890 cards not that long ago but it was only a matter of time before comparable HD 5000-series cards saw the light of day. Well, the wait is over because Sapphire has now introduced their HD 5850 1GB Toxic into the market.

The HD 5850 Toxic represents a significant step forward for Sapphire and HD 5850 cards in general since it throws out the reference design, adds a custom cooler and pushes clock speeds above and beyond what we are used to seeing. In order to keep the heat from an overclocked core under control, Sapphire has decided to use their Vapor-X cooling technology as well as a truly impressive heatsink design. There are other features as well such as specially designed chokes but we will get into those a bit more later on in this review. To make matters even better, all of these additions donít come at an exorbitant price increase as we have seen this card retailing for under $340 which represents a mere $30 premium over a reference HD 5850.

In our opinion, there is a lot about the Sapphire HD 5850 Toxic to get excited about and by the end of this review; we hope you will feel the same way.


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