Last week ATI launched the world's first DirectX 11 cards, the Radeon HD 5870. While almost everyone agrees that it's the best single GPU card on the market, some punters complained about its price. In case you thought it was a bit pricey, an HD 5850 should do the trick.
Clocked at 725MHz for the core and 1000MHz for the memory, the .50 cal sounds like a very good deal. It features 1440 stream processors and 72 texture units, so it's not quite as good as the HD 5870, but the price difference is truly staggering. Listed at as low as €202, the 5850 is nothing short of a bargain, as it's more than €100 cheaper than the HD 5870.
Unfortunately, ATI didn't ship that many of them, and they are just starting to appear in retail. Only a few shops in Europe are actually shipping them, but you should expect the situation to improve over the next week or two. You can check availability here.
A few sites have posted reviews of the HD 5850, showering the newcomer with awards, and it's beginning to look like ATI hit the sweet spot with the price. According to benchmarks, the 5850 is just marginally slower than the 5870, and it's still fast enough to outperform significantly pricier Geforce GTX 285 cards in most tests.
Today is HD 5850 day