ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5850

ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5850

The ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5850 is a high-end DirectX 11-capable graphics card for notebooks by AMD based on the desktop HD 5770 (RV840) chipset. Essentially, the HD5850 is a Mobility Radeon HD 5870 that has been underclocked by about 11 percent. In contrast to the HD 5870, the 5850 is sometimes equipped with slow DDR3 graphics memory.

The memory interface of the Mobility 5850 is composed of two 64 bit wide controllers leading to a 128 bit memory bus that can access up to 1024 MB of either DDR3 or GDDR5 memory (or even up to just 512 MB of G=DDR3 in lower-end models). If (G)DDR3 is used by the laptop vendor, then the performance of the 5850 will suffer by a noticeable margin.

The 5850 offers 800 MADD cores (called Stream Processors) that are grouped in 160 5-dimensional groups. The cores support DirectX 11 functions in hardware (e.g., Tessellation, OIT, Post-Processing, Shadows, HDR Texture Compression). Furthermore, 16 ROPs, 40TMUs, and 40 TAUs can be found on the chip. All in all, the 1040 Million transistors offer a theoretical computation power of up to 1.12 TFLOPS. 

According to AMD, the HD 5000 series has improved general computing algorithms that the HD 4000 series lacks. Therefore, the performance of applications such as ATI stream, OpenCL, and DirectCompute 11 should be significantly better.

The 3D performance of the Mobility HD 5850 depends heavily on the used graphics RAM, or VRAM. As long as fast GDDR5 is used, the performance should be between a GeForce GTX 260M - 280M in the high end segment. Therefore, all current games as of 2009 should be playable in high details with high resolutions. With DDR3 memory, however, the performance should drop noticeably because of the relatively narrow 128 Bit memory bus. In fact, the GDDR5 version (on par with a GTX 285M) is about 40% faster in the 3DMark Vantage benchmark than the DDR3 equipped version (on par with a GTX 260M). 

Exactly which games can or cannot run fluently on the 5850 can be found on the lower section of this page.

The Mobility Radeon HD 5000 series includes an improved video processor (UVD2) to decode HD videos with the graphics card. The new version is able to decode two HD streams simultaneously (e.g., for Blu-Ray picture in picture), given that the graphics card offers enough memory bandwidth. As a result, it is entirely possible that only AMD GPUs paired with GDDR5 VRAM can decode multiple HD streams in parallel. Beginning with Flash 10.1 Beta, the 5000 series has also been able accelerate Flash HD videos such as on YouTube.

A special feature of the HD 5000 series is its ability to transmit HD audio formats (like Dolby True HD or DTS HD Master Audio) with up to 8 channels and 192 KHz / 24 Bit over HDMI 1.3a.

As with the desktop HD 5000 series, the Mobility HD 5850 also supports Eyefinity to connect up to 6 monitors to the graphics chip. Of course, this depends on how many native monitor outputs the laptop vendor adds to the laptop (and how they are wired). Still, according to our sources, the laptop would specifically need DisplayPort outputs for Eyefinity to work, which, as of this writing, is only available on the HP Envy 17.

Furthermore, the 5850 chip should support PowerXpress (with AMD chipset) and Switchable Graphics (Intel) to switch between the dedicated and chipset / CPU graphics card.

Due to the high power consumption of the Mobility Radeon HD 5850 (40-60 Watt of the 5800 series), the GPU is only suited for large laptops with high-performance (and possibly loud) cooling solutions. According to AMD, the performance-per-watt ratio and the idle power consumption have both been improved thanks to Memory Clock Scaling and Clock Gating.

Compared to desktop graphics cards, the Mobility Radeon HD 5850 should perform slightly slower than a Radeon HD 5750 due to the slower clock rate found on the mobile AMD GPU.

Mobility Radeon HD 5800 Series
Mobility Radeon HD 5870 Crossfire (compare) 1600 @ 700 MHz128 Bit @ 1000 MHz
Mobility Radeon HD 5870 (compare) 800 @ 700 MHz128 Bit @ 1000 MHz
Mobility Radeon HD 5850 800 @ 625 MHz128 Bit @ 2000 MHz
Mobility Radeon HD 5830 (compare) 800 @ 500 MHz128 Bit @ 800 MHz
ArchitectureTerascale 2
Pipelines800 - unified
Core Speed625 MHz
Memory Speed2000 MHz
Memory Bus Width128 Bit
Memory TypeDDR3, GDDR3, GDDR5
Max. Amount of Memory1024 MB
Shared Memoryno
DirectXDirectX 11, Shader 5.0
Transistor Count1040 Million
technology40 nm
FeaturesEyefinity (up to 6 displays), HD Audio (Dolby True HD, DTS HD), HDMI 1.3a, Avivo HD (UVD2.2)
Notebook Sizelarge
Date of Announcement07.01.2010
Information1.0 TFLOPS
Link to Manufacturer Page


3DMark Vantage
P Result 1280x1024 +
P GPU no PhysX 1280x1024 +
3DMark 03 - Standard 1024x768
min: 24488     avg: 28295.8     median: 26228 (14%)     max: 35948 Points
3DMark 05 - Standard 1024x768
min: 12837     avg: 15364.8     median: 15452 (29%)     max: 17072 Points
3DMark 06 +
Unigine Heaven 2.1 - high, Tesselation (normal), DirectX11 1280x1024
min: 14     avg: 17.1     median: 17 (7%)     max: 19 fps
SPECviewperf 11
Siemens NX 1920x1080 +
Tcvis 1920x1080 +
SolidWorks 1920x1080 +
Pro/ENGINEER 1920x1080 +
Maya 1920x1080 +
Lightwave 1920x1080 +
Ensight 1920x1080 +
Catia 1920x1080 +
Windows 7 Experience Index - Gaming graphics
min: 6     avg: 6.9     median: 6 (86%)     max: 7 points
Windows 7 Experience Index - Graphics
min: 6     avg: 6.9     median: 6 (86%)     max: 7 points
Cinebench R10 Shading 32Bit +
Cinebench R11.5 OpenGL 64Bit +
- Range of benchmark values for this graphics card
- Average benchmark values for this graphics card
* Smaller numbers mean a higher performance

Game Benchmarks

The following benchmarks stem from our benchmarks of review laptops. The performance depends on the used graphics memory, clock rate, processor, system settings, drivers, and operating systems. So the results don't have to be representative for all laptops with this GPU. For detailed information on the benchmark results, click on the fps number.

low 800x600
57 57 57 ~ 57 fps    + Compare
med. 1024x768
52 52 52 ~ 52 fps    + Compare
high 1360x768
49 49 49 ~ 49 fps    + Compare
ultra 1920x1080
37 37 37 ~ 37 fps    + Compare
» With all tested laptops playable in detail settings ultra.
Fifa 11

Fifa 11

med. 1024x768
150.8 fps  fps    + Compare
high 1360x768
90.8 fps  fps    + Compare
ultra 1920x1080
54.9 fps  fps    + Compare
» With all tested laptops playable in detail settings ultra.
Mafia 2

Mafia 2

med. 1024x768
53.8 56.3 ~ 55 fps    + Compare
high 1360x768
46.4 50.1 ~ 48 fps    + Compare
ultra 1920x1080
29.3 31.1 ~ 30 fps    + Compare
» With all tested laptops playable in detail settings high.
low 1024x768
160  fps    + Compare
med. 1360x768
49.3 fps 51.8 fps 54 ~ 52 fps    + Compare
high 1360x768
30.4 fps 33.2 fps 52 ~ 39 fps    + Compare
ultra 1920x1080
19.3 fps 20.2 fps 30 ~ 23 fps    + Compare
» With most tested laptops playable in detail settings high.
low 800x600
66.6 fps  fps    + Compare
med. 1360x768
32 fps 33.5 fps ~ 33 fps    + Compare
high 1600x900
17.7 fps 19 fps 19.3 ~ 19 fps    + Compare
ultra 1920x1080
5.5 fps  fps    + Compare
» With all tested laptops playable in detail settings low.
med. 1366x768
50.9 fps 55.5 fps