Friday, May 27, 2011

Asus EAH5850 DirectCU TOP Video Card Review

It all started with a game called Pong. Ever since then, we've been hooked on video games. And to make the games better, they need to have better and better graphics, and play faster and faster. All of this has pushed computers to be faster and faster. When it comes to graphics, the best improvement can cove from a fast video card. Enter the Asus EAD5850 DirectCU TOP.

The Asus EAD5850 Direct CU Top is a top performing card. Starting with the packaging you could tell it was a quality card. The packaging had great eye appeal, and had a photo of the cord and showed key features. Opening the box showed well thought out packaging as well. There was a thin box on top that held the manuals and driver and manual CD's. Another small box on the side held cables and the main compartment had a foam cut out to firmly hold the video card in place.

The quality of the video card is also very good. The heat sink is massive, with heat pipes and a built in fan. The materials used are very good, and the build quaity is also excellent. It is built for overclocking. and there is no surprise that it is factory overclocked at 110%.

It's features and specs include:

Graphics Engine AMD Radeon HD 5850
Bus Standard PCI Express 2.1
Video Memory GDDR5 1GB
Engine Clock 765 MHz
Memory Clock 4500 MHz ( 1125 MHz GDDR5 )
Memory Interface 256-bit
Resolution D-Sub Max Resolution : 2048x1536
DVI Max Resolution : 2560x1600
Interface D-Sub Output : Yes x 1 (via DVI to D-Sub adaptor x 1)
DVI Output : Yes x 1 (via HDMI to DVI adaptor x 1)
HDMI Output : Yes x 1
Display Port : Yes x 1 (Regular DP)
HDCP Support : Yes
Accessories 1 x DVI to D-Sub adaptor
1 x Power cable
1 x HDMI to DVI adaptor
Software ASUS Utilities & Driver

ASUS Features Video & Color Engine ASUS Splendid HD
DirectCU Series
Dimensions 9.5 " x 5 " Inch

And the specs of the HD5850 processor include:

■2.15 billion 40nm transistors
■TeraScale 2 Unified Processing Architecture
◦1440 Stream Processing Units
◦72 Texture Units
◦128 Z/Stencil ROP Units
◦32 Color ROP Units
■GDDR5 interface with 128.0 GB/sec of memory bandwidth
■PCI Express 2.1 x16 bus interface
■DirectX® 11 support
◦Shader Model 5.0
◦DirectCompute 11
◦Programmable hardware tessellation unitAccelerated multi-threading
◦HDR texture compression
◦Order-independent transparency
■OpenGL 3.2 support15
■Image quality enhancement technology
◦Up to 24x multi-sample and super-sample anti-aliasing modes
◦Adaptive anti-aliasing
◦16x angle independent anisotropic texture filtering
◦128-bit floating point HDR rendering
■ATI Eyefinity multi-display technology2,4
◦Three independent display controllers
•Drive three displays simultaneously with independent resolutions, refresh rates, color controls, and video overlays
◦Display grouping
•Combine multiple displays to behave like a single large display
■ATI Stream acceleration technology
◦OpenCL support14
◦DirectCompute 11
◦Double precision floating point processing support
◦Accelerated video encoding, transcoding, and upscaling3,5
■ATI CrossFireX™ multi-GPU technology6
◦Dual, triple, and quad GPU scaling
◦Dual-channel bridge interconnect
■ATI Avivo™ HD Video & Display technology7
◦UVD 2 dedicated video playback accelerator
◦Advanced post-processing and scaling8
◦Dynamic contrast enhancement and color correction
◦Brighter whites processing (Blue Stretch)
◦Independent video gamma control
◦Dynamic video range control
◦Support for H.264, VC-1, and MPEG-2
◦Dual-stream 1080p playback support9,10
◦DXVA 1.0 & 2.0 support
◦Integrated dual-link DVI output with HDCP11
•Max resolution: 2560x160012
◦Integrated DisplayPort output
•Max resolution: 2560x160012
◦Integrated HDMI 1.3 output with Deep Color, xvYCC wide gamut support and high bit-rate audio
•Max resolution: 1920x120012
◦Integrated VGA output
•Max resolution: 2048x153612
◦3D stereoscopic display/glasses support13
◦Integrated HD audio controller
•Output protected high bit rate 7.1 channel surround sound over HDMI with no additional cables required
•Supports AC-3, AAC, Dolby TrueHD and DTS Master Audio formats
■ATI PowerPlay™ power management technology7
◦Dynamic power management with low power idle state
◦Ultra-low power state support for multi-GPU configurations
■Certified drivers for Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP
Speeds & Feeds
■Engine clock speed: 725 MHz
■Processing power (single precision): 2.09 TeraFLOPS
■Processing power (double precision): 418 GigaFLOPS
■Polygon throughput: 725M polygons/sec
■Data fetch rate (32-bit): 209 billion fetches/sec
■Texel fill rate (bilinear filtered): 52.2 Gigatexels/sec
■Pixel fill rate: 23.2 Gigapixels/sec
■Anti-aliased pixel fill rate: 92.8 Gigasamples/sec
■Memory clock speed: 1 GHz
■Memory data rate: 4.0 Gbps
■Memory bandwidth: 128 GB/sec
■Maximum board power: 151 Watts
System Requirements
■PCI Express® based PC is required with one X16 lane graphics slot available on the motherboard.
■500 Watt or greater power supply with two 75W 6-pin PCI Express® power connectors recommended (600 Watt and four 6-pin connectors for ATI CrossFireX™ technology in dual mode).
■Certified power supplies are recommended. Refer to for a list of Certified products.
■Minimum 1GB of system memory.
■Installation software requires CD-ROM drive.
■DVD playback requires DVD drive.
■Blu-ray™ playback requires Blu-ray drive.
■For an ATI CrossFireX™ system, a second ATI Radeon™ HD 5850 graphics card, an ATI CrossFireX Ready motherboard and one ATI CrossFireX Bridge Interconnect cable per graphics card (included) are required.
1.HD capable monitor required.
2.Driver version 8.66 (Catalyst 9.10) or above is required to support ATI Eyefinity technology and to enable a third display you require one panel with a DisplayPort connector.
3.Requires application support for ATI Stream technology.
4.ATI Eyefinity technology works with games that support non-standard aspect ratios which is required for panning across three displays.
5.Digital rights management restrictions may apply.
6.ATI CrossFireX™ technology requires an ATI CrossFireX Ready motherboard, an ATI CrossFireX™ Bridge Interconnect (for each additional graphics card) and may require a specialized power supply.
7.ATI PowerPlay™, ATI Avivo™ and ATI Stream are technology platforms that include a broad set of capabilities offered by certain ATI Radeon™ HD GPUs. Not all products have all features and full enablement of some capabilities and may require complementary products.
8.Upscaling subject to available monitor resolution.
9.Blu-ray or HD DVD drive and HD monitor required.
10.Requires Blu-ray movie disc supporting dual 1080p streams.
11.Playing HDCP content requires additional HDCP ready components, including but not limited to an HDCP ready monitor, Blu-ray or HD DVD disc drive, multimedia application and computer operating system.
12.Some custom resolutions require user configuration.
13.Requires 3D stereo drivers, glasses, and display.
14.OpenCL compliant driver and SDK release scheduled for later in 2010.
15.Driver support scheduled for release in 2010.
ATI Radeon™ HD graphics chips have numerous features integrated into the processor itself (e.g., HDCP, HDMI, etc.). Third parties manufacturing products based on, or incorporating ATI Radeon HD graphics chips, may choose to enable some or all of these features. If a particular feature is important to you, please inquire of the manufacturer if a particular product supports this feature. In addition, some features or technologies may require you to purchase additional components in order to make full use of them (e.g. a Blu-Ray or HD-DVD drive, HDCP-ready monitor, etc.).

Some of it's key features include:
Asus Splendid HD, Asus Gamer OSD, Asus SmartDoctor, GPU Guard, Asus Voltage Tweak

Asus Splendid HD:
When watching movies on a PC, some of the functions are still performed by the CPU such as the Pixel Shader, which is typically a GPU function. But with Asus Splendid HD, the HD images can be fine-tuned with the graphics card. The Splendid HP Video Enhancement Technology performs the same functions found in a TV's image-processing unit, so the videos look as good as they would have on your HDTV. Splendid HD also works with colors and dark scenes.

Asus Gamer OSD:
This is a real gamers treat. It provides overclocking, benchmarking, and video capturing, in all PC games, all in real time. Overclocking can be done during gameplay, and frames per second are even displayed, so you can monitor your OC performance. You can capture videos of your gaming, and watch it as video files. You can capture as screenshots as well. There is also a display setting screen where you can mintor your overclocking, benchmarking, and display settings. And again, all of this can be done in real time.

Asus SmartDoctor:
The Asus SmartDoctor is a great utility to monitor the health of your video card. It's hardware monitoring helps the card perform as you need, and also extend the life of your video card. It can monitor the AGP bus power level, GPU and memory temperature for speed, and shader clock overclocking. SmartCooling keeps the fan speed slow and quiet when high cooling is not needed.

Asus HyperDrive:
Provides 3 modes of overclocking
A) 3D Game Mode- HyperDrive will increase GPU core clock if 3D applications are detected.
B) CPU Usage mode- increases GPU speed if it detects a high CPU load.
C) Temperature Mode- The GPU speed is adjusted based on temperature.

GPU Guard:
Doubles the structural reinforcement to protect the board from cracks.

Asus Voltage Tweak:
Here, you can adjust the voltage of your card. This can further boost the speed of your card, and give up to a 50% boost in performance.

The quality, features and design really came together really well. The end results was a product that gave some excellent performance. Asus was confident enough in the EAH5850 DirectCU Top that they overclocked it 10%. I was able to overclock the processor and memory to HD5870 speeds. You can see how well it performed in the benchmarks below. The performance was quite impressive. And it did not matter what I thru at it. Movies, streaming, and gaming, all came out looking good and ran very smoothly.

In conclusion, the Asus EAH5850 is a solid performer. It is a massive board that gives massive performance. And being full Direct X compatible, it is ready for all the current games with an MSRP of $229, it is not quite a performance board. But while it is more of an upper mainstreem video card, the overclocking ability puts its ability more in the range of performance level card. Based on it's quality features, and performance, it has earned our Editor's Choice Award. Congrats! For more info and specs, check out their website at: Reference Componenets included: Asus P8P67 Pro Motherboard, Intel is 2500K processor, King 48+4GB Kingston Hyper X DDR3-2100 RAM, Western Digital 74 GB Raptor hard drive.