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Radeon HD 5850 for $300? What gives?

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May 18, 2012 7:57:16 PM

So I built a desktop back in summer 2010. Got some good use out of it at the time, then went and played soldier for a while, now I'm back and want to see if a few cheapish components can keep it relevant.

I thought one of the easiest things to do would be get a second video card and set up crossfire. The original video card is a Sapphire HD 5850 with 1 gig of GDDR5. I'm thinking "hey that's years old now, should be super cheap to find a second one and double up." A quick google search reveals that they cost HUNDREDS of dollars. I think I paid $300 for mine new back in 2010. Shouldn't they be like $50 now? Am I going crazy and just missing something? Thanks for any help.

More about : radeon 5850 300

May 18, 2012 7:58:59 PM

The cards aren't manufactured anymore, so they're super expensive. If you really want to buy one, you'll have to find a used one on ebay. Sorry :( 

They're around on ebay for ~$100 ish, which is an OK price if you want to double up and can find a seller you trust.

It's only advantageous to buy a second card while that card is still being made. After that, prices either flatten out or increase. I'm a bit surprised you can even find a new one in stock.
May 18, 2012 8:10:22 PM

Well that's a sad story, but thanks for the reply. I figured they weren't manufactured any more, but I honestly didn't think that would make any that were collecting dust on shelves so expensive.

Actually I just looked up some gernal info and it looks like the 6xxx series wasn't a true "generation" of video cards, but actually very similar to the 5xxx series power wise. I saw a reference that they were actually released to replace the ATI branding with AMD and the cards were mostly the same. True/false? If true, could a 5850 and 6850 xfire, since 6850s are actually cheaper?
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May 18, 2012 8:13:51 PM

No. 5850s and 6850s are entirely different cards. Other than the 6750/5750 and 6770/5770, all cards of the Radeon 6000 series are new cards with different hardware.
May 18, 2012 8:22:10 PM

Thanks for that info. I guess I'll keep an eye on ebay for a 5850 at the $100 price point. Do I need to get one exactly the same (like sapphire if that's what I got originally), or is it enough if everything matches numerically?

If I don't find one, maybe I'll just put this thing on craigstlist and start a new computer building project. I never really know what I'm doing with such things, but I know its a lot of fun!
May 18, 2012 8:23:42 PM

You don't need to have a 5850 of the same brand, but it is recommended.
May 18, 2012 8:24:27 PM

I think 5850s have significantly gone up in price because people are using them for bitcoin mining (google it). Classic Supply and Demand.
May 18, 2012 8:27:48 PM

Zephids said:
I think 5850s have significantly gone up in price because people are using them for bitcoin mining (google it). Classic Supply and Demand.


http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Their prices are up in some places because some sites don't lower the prices after first listing them. For example, you can go to Ebay.com and you'll the GTX 285x2 still going for about $1000 despite it being four or five years old and having not been close to being worth that much in years (by now, it's only worth about $200, at the most). Bit-coin mining has little to do with the prices of cards. A lot of sites just don't care to drop prices when other places do, especially on cards that aren't being made anymore.
May 18, 2012 8:31:00 PM

Same thing happened with I kicked around getting a second 8800GTX back a couple of years ago. Crazy expensive. Same thing happens to some higher end Intel CPUs - they just never really go down in price.
May 18, 2012 8:31:39 PM

Gabrion said:
So I built a desktop back in summer 2010. Got some good use out of it at the time, then went and played soldier for a while, now I'm back and want to see if a few cheapish components can keep it relevant.

I thought one of the easiest things to do would be get a second video card and set up crossfire. The original video card is a Sapphire HD 5850 with 1 gig of GDDR5. I'm thinking "hey that's years old now, should be super cheap to find a second one and double up." A quick google search reveals that they cost HUNDREDS of dollars. I think I paid $300 for mine new back in 2010. Shouldn't they be like $50 now? Am I going crazy and just missing something? Thanks for any help.


Unfortunately, you have rediscovered one of the pitfalls for planning on cf/sli.

Assuming your psu can handle a second card, look for one on e-bay. If you find one at a reasonable price buy it for your upgrade.

If, you find that they are still selling at a high price on e-bay, just sell yours at that high price, and replace it with something much stronger.
May 18, 2012 8:32:18 PM

J_E_D_70 said:
Same thing happened with I kicked around getting a second 8800GTX back a couple of years ago. Crazy expensive. Same thing happens to some higher end Intel CPUs - they just never really go down in price.


Yep. We could just take a look at the i7-990X and despite the $600 i7-3930K being significantly faster than the older i7-990X, the i7-990X is still $400 more expensive at $1000.
May 18, 2012 8:34:53 PM

Zephids said:
I think 5850s have significantly gone up in price because people are using them for bitcoin mining (google it). Classic Supply and Demand.


Is this really catching on?
May 18, 2012 8:49:14 PM

geofelt said:
Unfortunately, you have rediscovered one of the pitfalls for planning on cf/sli.

Assuming your psu can handle a second card, look for one on e-bay. If you find one at a reasonable price buy it for your upgrade.

If, you find that they are still selling at a high price on e-bay, just sell yours at that high price, and replace it with something much stronger.


It looks like I have indeed. At least I didn't buy a 4xxx back then planning to xfire "soon." I think I've learned from the experience that I'm the sort of person who is either going to xfire/SLI at purchase, or not at all. So when I build I need to make sure I'm happy with what I get.

For now I may keep looking for a bit and see if I find a 5850 for cheap. If not, that make work in my favor as well, as you point out that I could always just sell mine. If I go that route I'll probably end up skeletonizing a fair bit of the system as it's build on a 1156 socket mobo with an i5-750 CPU, so a few other updates wouldn't hurt. :)  Ebay will be my friend in this case and I'm sure I could at least get back a couple hundred dollars to go toward the updates.

On the upside, things like the PSU, case, SSD, optical drive, etc can all stick around, so I'll save some money compared to building from scratch if I go that route. Then again, maybe I will just craigslist the whole thing and start from scratch. Either way, thanks for the answers here.
May 18, 2012 9:41:56 PM

i5-750 is still a decent chip for gaming.

If you upgrade your graphics to a single strong card, it can be carried forward to a cpu/mobo upgrade later.

As a rule, you dont get full value out of selling a complete ps vs. parting it out on e-bay.
Don't for get the value of the OS too.
May 18, 2012 9:53:28 PM

The i5-750 can't handle too much more than a 5850 without starting to be a bottle-neck, that is unless it gets overclocked. Also, OS is free. He's just re-use the old copy of Windows 7 from his current computer.
May 18, 2012 10:09:45 PM

blazorthon said:
The i5-750 can't handle too much more than a 5850 without starting to be a bottle-neck, that is unless it gets overclocked. Also, OS is free. He's just re-use the old copy of Windows 7 from his current computer.


:pfff: 

You could run 2x 5850's with that cpu and not have a bottleneck...
May 18, 2012 10:18:24 PM

Zephids said:
I think 5850s have significantly gone up in price because people are using them for bitcoin mining (google it). Classic Supply and Demand.

Lol what does Bitcoin Mining have to do with anything concerning the price of a graphic card. Please!!!!
May 18, 2012 10:20:48 PM

geekapproved said:
:pfff: 

You could run 2x 5850's with that cpu and not have a bottleneck...


http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-cpu-review-o...

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-fx-pentium-a...


Tom's benchmarks disagree with you. They disagree with you by a lot. The i5-750 is said to be in the same performance tier as the Sandy Bridge i3s, the top Phenom IIs, the FX-4170, the top Core 2 Quads, and the Nehalem i7-950 and other i7s below it. The second link shows that even with a 7970 (which is easier on the CPU than two 5850s in CF), these CPUs can be bottle-necks. If it is overclocked, then it will do better. However, the i5-750 is a bottle-neck for two 5850s when it is at stock clocks.
May 18, 2012 10:31:24 PM

Regarding the i5-750 being a bottleneck: One reason I got it back in the day was people said it OCs easily. Like lots of people were running it at 4.2 or something like that. I got a Cooler Master 212 Hyper or something like that with it in case I wanted to OC, but I never did.

So I guess my point is that if I do find another 5850 and decided to stick with my basic framework for now, maybing OCing that CPU will help keep it from bottlenecking so much?

Edit: Also while on the topic of how much my current components will limit me, my mobo does have 2x PCI-e slots, but they run at x8/x8 with SLI/xfire rather than x16. I remember this mattering when I put the system together, but I can't remember if it was good or bad. Should it play a role in my decision to xfire or not?
May 18, 2012 10:32:32 PM

Yes, overclocking it should keep it from being a bottle-neck.
May 18, 2012 10:50:12 PM

Gabrion said:
Regarding the i5-750 being a bottleneck: One reason I got it back in the day was people said it OCs easily. Like lots of people were running it at 4.2 or something like that. I got a Cooler Master 212 Hyper or something like that with it in case I wanted to OC, but I never did.

So I guess my point is that if I do find another 5850 and decided to stick with my basic framework for now, maybing OCing that CPU will help keep it from bottlenecking so much?

Edit: Also while on the topic of how much my current components will limit me, my mobo does have 2x PCI-e slots, but they run at x8/x8 with SLI/xfire rather than x16. I remember this mattering when I put the system together, but I can't remember if it was good or bad. Should it play a role in my decision to xfire or not?


There should not be any problem at all with running CF in two PCIe 2.0 x8 slots.
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