I have decided on which card to get (Radeon HD5850) but what I want to know is what each distributor of these cards has to offer. I am looking between XFX, ASUS, Diamond, Gigabyte, Powercolor. What does each have to offer? They are all set at the same price.
EDIT: They all look the same aside the graphics on the card, and they all come with a voucher for Dirt2 as of right now.
XFX = Double Life Time which means as the original owner you can sell your card to someone else and the warranty transfers to the next buyer. The warranty only transfers once. If that person you sold to sells to someone, then no warranty for that 3rd person. Also know for generally good customer support.
Asus = Good reputation, comes with software to tweak voltages for overclocking. Generally good customer support as well, but I think XFX's is perceived to be better.
Diamond = Perceived to have poor customer support.
Gigabyte = Generally good reputation. Probably average support.
I just received Sapphire HD 5850, did not install yet. Average support, average warranty. Purchased Sapphire in the past, never had any issues.
I picked up a Sapphire 5850, it was the most in-expensive. They all look exactly the same right now and have exactly the same specs, so I didnt see a point paying more for a card than I had to. In general lifetime warranties dont factor in for me, I usually upgrade my card every 1-2 years as is. So a 1 year warranty is fine with me. I have had the card for over a week now and am enjoying it ( I generally always got nvidia up until this card, cant beat the performance for the price on nvidias side until they crank down the 285gtx price.)
Generally speaking when a video card is first introduced the cards adhere to ATI's technical specifications. After a while the card manufacturers might introduce cards with a few differences such as increased memory or the ability to tweak the cards. Sometimes there may be a special edition that comes with a game for free.
For example, when the ATI Radeon HD 4770 was introduced earlier this year all the manufacturers offered cards which were identical. Later, XFX introduced a 4770 with a different fan shroud that expelled hot air out rear panel of the pc. I've had good luck with XFX so I bought it just to see how well the fan shroud expels hot air out the back. So far it has worked very well.
I bought this car from XFX, got DIRT2, all the goodies that are in every other unboxing all over youtube. Anyway its a fantastic game. Runs GTA IV with great settings. Runs crysis ALL MAXED OUT with 8XAA. Thought I am gaming on a 19' monitor which supports a max resolution of 1280x1024 which imo is good enough for me. Dragons Age I just purchased maxed it out. RUNS GREAT! Card is awesome right now, no flickering or artifacts yet as other people have mentioned.