The 5850 beats it outright in several games, and in others it catches up at higher resolutions.
Anyway, non reference cards ie: cards with different heat sinks, generally have voltage control disabled. On the other hand they're supposed to have better cooling. I got reference Sapphire 5850s for $299 cdn locally. Even without voltage control you can still OC the cards quite a bit. Mine are at 875/1200 without any voltage increase (stock is 700/1000) and I can get them up to 985/1200 with 1.225V (stock is 1.088V)
both of you have strayed off course, what id the OP wants a 5850 and nothing else? There was no mention of Nvidia in his post so i didn't answer with an Nvidia answer.
To answer the question, you don't really need voltage tweak to effectively OC a 5850, they are already capable as is.
@ OP, if you want a 5850 with voltage tweak, get the MSI or ASUS version with OC software and OC warranty.
Otherwise, i stick to my story, they are all the same, you're paying for their marketing, get reference card, OC it yourself, your temps will be fine and you can OC higher than their trivial "Factory OC"
Wow that is why I love this fourm, I am leaning towards a 470 now but I do have an xfire board. Not that I have ever used it. My original plan was to get another 4850 and use them in cross fire but that doesn't make sense seeing the options I have now. I was gonna go with the 5850 and get another one down the road. What would you guys do?
Interesting results. Looks like the 470 is a very solid GPU. An extra $30 is probably worth it for a single, but if looking at CF/SLI, IMO not really worth the $60 based purely on the fact that CF 5850s can eat any game for breakfast so basically it's "not necessary". But yeah, nice results on those 470s.
BTW, if anyone here is interested I ran a suite of benchmarks on 5850s - single vs CF results in stand alone benchmarks, and the cards were OCed on stock volts so it's comparable to what one might expect to be able to achieve even with those non reference "locked voltage" cards the OP was looking at: http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/289809-33-single-5850...
Also, the 10.6 drivers gave me on average 3.7% higher FPS in CF but that's in the 10.6 driver thread (Crysis had a nice boost of something like 5% )
Also, i would agree with the 470 now that i know your system setup and you're considering it. As for using SLI with the E8400, i am wondering if the E8400 would handle the GTX 470 SLI or 5850 Crossfire to its fullest potential. Would there be scaling issues with that setup? Perhaps OC-ing the E8400 would be in order?
@ OP, get the GTX 470 or GTX 480 and then i would upgrade to a Phenom II quad or Corei7 or i5 750 platform before SLI-ing with another GTX card. While SLI may work fine with your E8400, it will not be at its fullest potential.