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Worth upgrading from an old 5850?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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May 21, 2014 8:28:31 AM

I'm not a "heavy" gamer, but the occasional drops below 20fps I'm starting to see, suddenly have me thinking about upgrading.

I have an old Radeon HD5850. Great card. Still competitive (performance wise) to much newer cards in in the $125 range, and buying a second 5850 for Crossfire would cost me almost as much as simply upgrading, with even better performance than what I could get in my price range (sub $175.)

Drawbacks of going the Crossfire route are: 1) loosing an extra slot, 2) MUCH higher power consumption, 3) more noise, 4) more heat, 5) still running an old 2009-era card. (And wouldn't Crossfire take both cards down to pcie x8?)

Unigine Heaven, fullscreen (1920x1200), Normal Tesselation with 4x AA, I still get 21fps (higher if I cut demands and unload more background tasks). The R9 270X I'm scouting, for $165 says it scores around 35fps in the same test. I didn't do the math to calc the improved cost-per-frame.

I guess my big question is whether its worth spending $165 for an extra 15fps (roughly a 25% performance increase)?

More about : worth upgrading 5850

May 21, 2014 8:35:43 AM

It's only worth it if you feel like it is. If you have the money and want the extra performance, then sure, otherwise you could wait if the fps drops don't bother you too much, save a little more and get a better card down the road.
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May 21, 2014 8:37:00 AM

its a 70 odd % increase actually. However. Your old card is still worth $60 or more. Factor that in to your budget
and now you are talking! Sell the old one first. Run on i.g.p. if you have to. Or set up the sale with a pal and Then go buy what you want.
I just bought a 5850 saphire with a big fan in the middle (not a hair dryer type) for £50 from a pal and he put it towards a 7970 so we are both happy.
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May 21, 2014 8:43:42 AM

If you are patient, you can get r7 265 (HD 7850) 2GB for $100 after rebate. The R9 270/x (HD 7870) can also be found at sub $150 if you shop patiently and would be a little bit faster.

The interesting part is that despite the HD 5850 having many more stream processors, the r7 265 is twice as fast due to the GCN architechture.

Here is my Unigine Heaven Extreme HD preset score with my HD 7850 2GB (same as r7 265):





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May 21, 2014 8:51:18 AM

Mugsy said:
I'm not a "heavy" gamer, but the occasional drops below 20fps I'm starting to see, suddenly have me thinking about upgrading.

I have an old Radeon HD5850. Great card. Still competitive (performance wise) to much newer cards in in the $125 range, and buying a second 5850 for Crossfire would cost me almost as much as simply upgrading, with even better performance than what I could get in my price range (sub $175.)

Drawbacks of going the Crossfire route are: 1) loosing an extra slot, 2) MUCH higher power consumption, 3) more noise, 4) more heat, 5) still running an old 2009-era card. (And wouldn't Crossfire take both cards down to pcie x8?)

Unigine Heaven, fullscreen (1920x1200), Normal Tesselation with 4x AA, I still get 21fps (higher if I cut demands and unload more background tasks). The R9 270X I'm scouting, for $165 says it scores around 35fps in the same test. I didn't do the math to calc the improved cost-per-frame.

I guess my big question is whether its worth spending $165 for an extra 15fps (roughly a 25% performance increase)?


The 5850 was such a good card, and as it has full DX11 support it's probably one of the most long lived ones, yet no one ever recognises it as one of the 'greats' (yet everyone raves about the 8800 from Nvidia :S).

Personally dips to 20fps are the point where games start going from fun to annoying so it sounds like it's probably time to upgrade. The R9 270 is probably one of the best options value for money wise, its exactly the same config as the 270X just clocked a little lower (no reduced shader count or other cut backs) so with a little tweaking it can match the X version for free. I personally think you'd be wise to look at getting onto the GCN architecture as well- as AMD have made it quite clear that GCN (in some form or other) is going to be the basis of all their cards going forward so you'll get all the nice driver enhancements and so on. The 5850 is based on the much older VILW 5 architecture which has all but been retired (only the 'new' R5 230 still uses that now).
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May 21, 2014 9:05:13 AM

tea urchin said:
its a 70 odd % increase actually. However. Your old card is still worth $60 or more. Factor that in to your budget
and now you are talking! Sell the old one first. Run on i.g.p. if you have to. Or set up the sale with a pal and Then go buy what you want.
I just bought a 5850 saphire with a big fan in the middle (not a hair dryer type) for £50 from a pal and he put it towards a 7970 so we are both happy.


Probably not a bad idea (selling the old card to offset my costs, though selling will take time and the price I scouted includes a rebate that is likely to expire by then.)
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May 21, 2014 9:08:26 AM

cdrkf said:
Mugsy said:
I'm not a "heavy" gamer, but the occasional drops below 20fps I'm starting to see, suddenly have me thinking about upgrading.

I have an old Radeon HD5850. Great card. Still competitive (performance wise) to much newer cards in in the $125 range, and buying a second 5850 for Crossfire would cost me almost as much as simply upgrading, with even better performance than what I could get in my price range (sub $175.)

Drawbacks of going the Crossfire route are: 1) loosing an extra slot, 2) MUCH higher power consumption, 3) more noise, 4) more heat, 5) still running an old 2009-era card. (And wouldn't Crossfire take both cards down to pcie x8?)

Unigine Heaven, fullscreen (1920x1200), Normal Tesselation with 4x AA, I still get 21fps (higher if I cut demands and unload more background tasks). The R9 270X I'm scouting, for $165 says it scores around 35fps in the same test. I didn't do the math to calc the improved cost-per-frame.

I guess my big question is whether its worth spending $165 for an extra 15fps (roughly a 25% performance increase)?


The 5850 was such a good card, and as it has full DX11 support it's probably one of the most long lived ones, yet no one ever recognises it as one of the 'greats' (yet everyone raves about the 8800 from Nvidia :S).

Personally dips to 20fps are the point where games start going from fun to annoying so it sounds like it's probably time to upgrade. The R9 270 is probably one of the best options value for money wise, its exactly the same config as the 270X just clocked a little lower (no reduced shader count or other cut backs) so with a little tweaking it can match the X version for free. I personally think you'd be wise to look at getting onto the GCN architecture as well- as AMD have made it quite clear that GCN (in some form or other) is going to be the basis of all their cards going forward so you'll get all the nice driver enhancements and so on. The 5850 is based on the much older VILW 5 architecture which has all but been retired (only the 'new' R5 230 still uses that now).


Lots of good advice. I agree that I probably don't want my card falling too far behind the times. Not a big fan of over overclocking low-end devices just to reach the base performance of another though. Too much heat & stress can cut a card's life in half. :( 
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May 21, 2014 9:11:40 AM

tea urchin said:
its a 70 odd % increase actually. However. Your old card is still worth $60 or more. Factor that in to your budget
and now you are talking! Sell the old one first. Run on i.g.p. if you have to. Or set up the sale with a pal and Then go buy what you want.
I just bought a 5850 saphire with a big fan in the middle (not a hair dryer type) for £50 from a pal and he put it towards a 7970 so we are both happy.


Lots of great advice, quickly, from lots of folks. Thx.

I'm still seeing my old card sell for as much as $126 used on Amazon. Pretty impressive.
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May 21, 2014 9:13:04 AM

The newer cards come with free games too which is nice :) 
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May 21, 2014 9:20:53 AM

They might be advertised for that on amazon, but it doesnt mean they are selling. Check ebay final auction prices for your area....
You are correct about o/c'ing gpu's. They are being set up with less headroom than they used to,and a lower life expectancy. Get the best cooler you can. Buy an asus cuII and leave it at stock for many years mirth.
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