Diamond Multimedia Radeon HD 7850 2GB Video Card Review
Sean Gibson / Feb 4th, 2013 1 Comment
The Diamond Multimedia Radeon HD 7850 2GB video card is a PCI Express 3.0 device designed to bring mid to high level performance but at a price point that most gamers can easily afford. Found online at various online retailers for $200-$230, the Diamond Multimedia Radeon HD 7850 (model 7850PE52GV2) features 2GB of DDR5 memory and fits within a PCI Express 3.0 x16 slot in motherboards. The video card leverages a 28nm GPU with the GCN architecture, meaning it’s designed for AMD’s unified graphics processing for improved performance over previous generations of cards, plus take advantages of power efficiency technologies.
The Diamond Multimedia Radeon HD 7850 runs standard at 860 MHz with a memory clock of 1200 MHz. It offers one (1) Dual-Link DVI port, one (1) HDMI port and two (2) Mini Display ports. The card is compliant for DirectX 11.1 technology and is primed for both Windows 7 and Windows 8 drivers courtesy of AMD.
What’s in the Box
If you haven’t seen it already, be sure to check out the Diamond Multimedia Radeon HD 7850 unboxing video and post we published a few weeks back. Here’s what’s in the box:
- DIAMOND AMD Radeon™ HD 7850 PCIE 2G GDDR5 Video Graphics Card
- Installation CD
- Quick Start Guide
- DVI-TO-VGA ADAPTER
- Mini Display Port to Single Link DVI Passive dongle
- CROSSFIRE Bridge Interconnect
Pretty standard fare for video cards and the inclusion of the CrossFire cable is a nice addition because most motherboards do not normally ship with those components. There’s no bundle of games included which means this isn’t an amazing list of goodies, but the video card and the adapters in there are standard.
Video cards are extremely easy to install, so for those out there that have yet to replace a video card, don’t worry. Simply uninstall your old video card drivers, turn off your computer, and swap the cards out. Download the latest driver set from the AMD website and fire them up as soon as your computer reboots back to Windows. Total installation time, including drivers, was no more than ten minutes.
Our test system is a Core i7 3770K processor running at 4.28GHz, with 16GB of RAM on a P77 motherboard.
3dMark11 is a standard benchmark for video card reviews used industry wide. The utility can be purchased via Steam and comes in handy for testing both standard and overclocked video card settings to make sure systems don’t freeze up and also to justify performance gains. This test is a decent measure of DirectX 11 capabilities and is a widely used by gamers worldwide.
As you can see the Diamond Multimedia Radeon HD 7850 2GB card was a nice upgrade across the board on all four 3dMark11 tests. At the “lowest” level of testing, which was at 1920×1200 on “Performance Level” the difference between the new card and the old card (a Radeon HD 5870) was 2988 to 2377 respectively. At the “highest” level of testing, we see that the scores between the two were 994 for the Radeon 7850 2GB and 908 for the Radeon 5870, a difference of more than 10% gains in performance.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is an amazing game that offers intense story, hardcore action and an overall amazing gaming experience. Considering there’s a ton of great mods out there to extend and improve the experience, it’s one of the best looking PC games ever released. While most agree that it’s very CPU intensive, the benchmark becomes more GPU accurate with the High Resolution DLC pack installed. In our test, we ran through Whiterun in the rain four times at each setting and averaging the FPS rating.
The Skyrim benchmark offered some very interesting results. At the “lower” level tests, the older card offered almost identical (actually higher) performance numbers for framerate performance. However, once we bumped up the performance for the resolution, AA (Anti Aliasing) and other details, the newer Diamond Multimedia 7850 2GB card crushed the competition. Specifically, at 1920×1080 with AA and AF set to “8” the cards were within 5% of each other for FPS performance. However, when we bumped up the action to 2560×1440 at the AA and AF set to “8” and keeping details the same, the Diamond card saw an average of 74.17 FPS, while the Radeon HD 5870 card only got an average of 61.45 FPS. Once we kicked it up all the way, playing the game on “Ultra” – meaning 2560×1440, AA=8, AF=16 and everything set to High/Ultra, there was a clear cut winner in the Diamond Multimedia Radeon HD 7850. It scored a ridiculously impressive 62.9 FPS, compared to the older card which performed at about half that level, averaging only 31.68 Frames Per Second.
One of the real standards of video card benchmarking, Crysis is an oldie but a goodie. The upper reaches of the game still tax modern day hardware and this benchmark makes for a great “apples to apples” test against older video card reviews. We did a consistent test run, four times each for each setting, which can be seen here on YouTube.
We’re seeing very consistent comparisons with the Crysis benchmark. Across the board, we see the newer Radeon HD 7850 from Diamond Multimedia beat out the older card by about 10-12 percent. However, once we maxed out the settings at 2560×1440 with everything set to High and Anti-Aliasing set to “8” we saw a much more dramatic difference to the tune of an average FPS of 38.11 (Diamond Multimedia Radeon HD 7850) to 24.68 FPS for the Radeon HD 5870.
Sleeping Dogs Benchmark
Using the built-in benchmarking tool plus the high-res texture DLC added, the Sleeping Dogs benchmark gives a nice perspective for gamers that like to play in an open-world third-person perspective action-adventure game.
With the newest of all the games used, we didn’t see much difference between the two.
Depending on the level of resolution a gamer is going to play at and the type of game being used, upgrading from an older generation of card to the newer Diamond Multimedia Radeon HD 7850 2GB card will be worth it for solid but not overwhelming performance gains. The card is much more power efficient, quieter and across the board, more powerful than the older counterpart. There’s some polarized results that were found in our testing. For a game like The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.
It seems for gamers wanting to play with graphics maxed out, especially at 2560×1440 resolution common to 27-inch monitors, then upgrading to the newer card for about $200 is worth the investment. There was significant performance gains across the board at this resolution level to justify upgrading to the newer generation card. Considering the typical current generation of video cards acceptable to gamers start at this price point, gamers are getting a very solid bang-for-your-buck value out of the Diamond Multimedia Radeon HD 7850 video card.
For those gamers armed with 27-inch and 30-inch monitors and simply aren’t seeing the performance that’s demanded by PC gamers, consider upgrading your video card to the Diamond Multimedia Radeon HD 7850 2GB video card. For $200 it’s priced well below what other gamers will be spending ($400-$600) so it’s perfect for those on a tight budget but want to see decent performance gains, but in some cases, impressive performance gains such as we saw with Skyrim. For those gamers looking to get a great dollar value for their money while seeing impressive performance, this card comes highly recommended.
tags: amd , diamond , diamond multimedia , hardware , review , video card