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ASUS EAH5850 TOP Print E-mail
Written by Michael Schuette   
Apr 15, 2010 at 12:37 AM


About 10 years ago somebody asked me whether I would be interested in investing into ATI stock. At the time, the share price was down, it was down so low that it wouldn’t have taken much more than a few 100k US$ to acquire a commanding majority of shares. That was in the days of the ATI Rage2 and whoever remembers this graphics card will realize how far we have come since. Suffice it to say that I did not have the financial resources to buy out ATI at the time… If I had been in that position, I would probably still have invested in nVidia or possibly the Kyro line of graphics or, most likely in 3dfx who were dominating at the time. History teaches a valuable lesson here, essentially, I am glad now that I did not invest into any of the “hot” companies, even though maybe nVidia would have been good, but then, who knows what would have happened.

Musings of the past aside, AMD is on a roll at this point. The Toronto team has established such a commanding presence in the market place with their RADEON series that everything else looks pale in comparison. To make things a bit more interesting, the formerly rather rigid structure of AMD partners, with everybody more or less following the reference design has loosened up quite a bit, allowing all kinds of variations around the common scheme of evergreen GPUs.

In other words, at this point, essentially all AMD channel partners have their own secret sauce cooking. Non-reference designs geared towards shaving off production cost or else enhancing performance are out there by the dozen. Out of the box overclocking is the buzzword, repeating essentially the business model prevalent in the memory sector for over a decade now.

Among all AMD partners, ASUS is always standing out. Having the reputation of the highest quality motherboard manufacturer has helped to establish ASUS as the number 1 manufacturer of computer components right now. Needless to say that ASUS also has a long standing history as a graphics card manufacturer, with year-long relationship exclusivity with nVidia that was penetrated only a few years ago by ATI/AMD. ASUS' standing out from the rest of the pack is based on differentiation. Better, faster, more reliable, seem to be the buzzwords anybody associates with the ASUS brand and the new models deviating from the reference design are the living proof of the validity of this perception.

Before we go into the details of the ASUS designs we are going to quickly repeat the differences between the major GPU designs of the "evergreen" series, that is Cypress vs. Juniper in either "Pro" or "XT" format, for the main purpose of establishing a baseline.

Radeon 5800 (Cypress) vs. 5700 (Juniper) Series Comparison

Enter the "EAH5850 TOP", featuring its own custom cooling solution, and running the core out of the box at 765 MHz with the memory frequency upped from 4 gbps to 4.5 Gbps data rate. Otherwise, yes it is a custom PCB, too but the raw technical specs are the same as in the case of the standard RADEON 5850, with a slightly increased power draw based on the higher operating frequency of both GPU and memory. We updated this table to show where exactly the ASUS EAH5850TOP stands within the field of competition. With respect to the raw physical specs it is the same card as the reference design 5850, however, the ~ 10% increase across the book with respect to core and memory frequency will result in a higher peak power consumption. Idle power should not be affected since the cards throttle whenever there is no load applied.

Model
ATI Radeon 5750
ATI Radeon 5770
ATI Radeon 5850
ASUS
Radeon 5850 TOP
ATI Radeon 5870
Manufacturing Process
40-nm
Transistor Count
1.04 billion
2.15 billion
Die Size
166mm2
334mm2
SIMD Units
9
10
18
20
Stream Processors
720
800
1440
1600
Texture Units
36
40
72
80
ROPs
32
Memory Type
GDDR5
Memory Interface
128-bit
256-bit
Max Board Power
86W
108W
151W
~165W
188W
Idle Board Power
16W
18W
27W

So what makes a "5850" a "5850 TOP"?



Last Updated ( May 04, 2010 at 01:31 AM )
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