XFX was working hard to bring AMD cards to the market while waiting for Nvidia’s Fermi. They launched a bunch of AMD Direct X 11 cards starting from the smallest and cheapest HD 5450 which will costs you €35 all the way up to the currently priciest HD 5970, for the price of which you can get as many as fifteen HD 5450 cards. But, XFX is mainly known for their overclocking business, and they’re always among the first to jump aboard the overclocking train. XFX took only the creme of the crop Cypress LE chips and created its HD 5850 Black Edition series of cards. Of course, Black Edition naming scheme says that the card comes overclocked.
The HD 5850 Black Edition’s core is up from reference 725MHz to 765MHz, and the memory up from 1000MHz (effective 4000MHz) to 1125MHz (effective 4500MHz). So the card's GPU is some 5.5% faster than reference, whereas the memory is 12.5% faster than reference.
The HD 5850 is based on AMD's Cypress LE GPU running at 725MHz and has 1440 stream processors as opposed to 1600 stream processors on the Cypress XT GPU (HD 5870). Two of Cypress' SIMD engines are disabled, turning off 160 of its stream processors (or thread processors as AMD tends to call it), and eight of its texture units. The HD 5850's GPU sports 72 texture units but just like the HD 5870, it features 32 ROPs. Unlike the 5700 generation cards, which are powered via one 6-pin connector, the HD 5870 and HD 5850 require two 6-pin connectors. The HD 5850 use GDDR5 memory and has a 256-bit memory interface.
HD 5850 is positioned below the HD 5870 but promises to deliver a much better bang per buck as it is priced lower without sacrificing performance too much.
Each card form XFX gets XFX's 5-star support and the HD 5850 Black Edition puts an emphasis on the Assasin's Creed game. We told you here that XFX bundles Alien vs Predator with selected 5770, 5850 and 5870 cards but they will be available only through selected etailers across Europe.