The HIS HD 5850 is an AMD reference design card, which means it uses the same PCB, components, specifications and cooler as the AMD reference card. The cooler looks very similar that of the HD 5870 Series, except that it is not as long and is made from a slightly different kind of plastic. Unlike the HD 5870 there is no backplate, which helps reduce cost.
From left to right: Radeon HD 5870, HIS HD 5850, HD 4870, HD 4870 X2. As you can see, the space requirements of the HD 5850 are modest, the card is essentially as big as a HD 4870.
While the Radeon HD 4850 came as a single-slot design, the HD 5850 uses a dual slot cooler. This helps with cooling performance but is not required in my opinion. I am confident we will see single slot HD 5850 cards in the near future.
The card has two DVI ports, one HDMI port and one DisplayPort. This is just one of many output configurations that are possible on the new cards, thanks to the overhauled display output logic. Basically the card can drive six TMDS signals that can be combined in any way (a dual-link DVI consumes two TMDS lines).
For HDMI Audio, NVIDIA requires you to feed an external audio source, for example from your motherboard's on-board audio, to the card via SPDIF cable. AMD on the other hand has integrated a sound device inside their GPUs which is the easier solution for most users. Also AMD's integrated sound device has been upgraded to support HDMI 1.3a which includes Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD, AC-3, DTS and up to 7.1 channel audio with 192 kHz / 24-bit.
Crossfire dual, triple and quad configurations are supported to improve performance even further.
Here are the front and the back of the card, high-res versions are also available (front, back). If you choose to use these images for voltmods etc, please include a link back to this site or let us post your article.