XFX Radeon HD 5850 Black Edition Review :: Introduction

12-03-2009 · Category: Hardware - Hard Drives

By Doc Overclock

The recent release of Microsoft’s Windows 7 operating system has met with widespread admiration and success, revitalizing a computer industry that has stagnated due to the recession. Companies like HP, NVIDIA, ATI and others have seen increased sales and profits due at least in no small part to the release of a new operating system. One new feature to Windows 7 is DirectX 11. Game development before the advent of DirectX was centered on DOS games which had access to the video cards, sound, and other input devices but was not standardized. DirectX brought a standardized game development platform to Windows 95. It has evolved over time so that now with the release of DirectX 11, game developers are using DirectX as the standard programming interface.

With the release of a new version of DirectX graphics cards need to be developed to take advantage of the new features of the API otherwise, there isn’t a compelling reason to adopt the new DirectX. Two companies, ATI and NVIDIA have basically shared duties on which card supported which DirectX first. NVIDIA started the modern trend with the GeForce video card back in 1999. They were also the first to support DirectX 8 with the GeForce 3 and DirectX 10 with the GeForce 8800GTX. ATI was the first to support DirectX 8.1 with the Radeon 8500, DirectX 9.0 with the 9700, and DirectX 10.1 with the HD 3870 and finally DirectX 11 with the Radeon HD 5 series of cards.

The launch of the HD 5 series of cards was on September 23 of this year a full month before the launch of Windows 7. ATI launched two products at that time including the HD 5870 and HD 5850 which are the high-end single chip and the performance single chip. Later releases have included the HD 5770 and the HD 5750 for the $100-200 price range. Most of the cards released so far have been copies of the reference design and availability of the cards has been very limited. XFX released a reference version of the HD 5850 at launch day, but manufacturers have begun releasing non-reference clocked cards. Today’s review is on the Radeon HD 5850 Black Edition card which features higher clocks for the graphics core and memory than the reference design.