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Sapphire Radeon HD 5830 1GB Review

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SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
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Comparative AA Performance (Dragon Age & Dirt 2)

Comparative AA Performance (Dirt 2 & Dragon Age)


In this section we dumb things down a bit to show you the average framerates a few of these cards achieve with and without AA enabled. This is done to give you an easy and straightforward way to determine how a certain card performs in a game with just a glance.


Dirt 2

HD5830-83.jpg


HD5830-84.jpg

In Dirt 2 we see performance of the HD 5830 sticks closer to the HD 5770 than it does to the HD 5850. It seems like the cut down core doesn't like highly demanding situations.


Dragon Age: Origins

HD5830-85.jpg

Dragon Age shows performance that is a bit better than we saw in Dirt 2 but the HD 5830 still takes a significant when AA is enabled at any resolution. These dips once again bring its performance close to the HD 5770.
 

SKYMTL

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Comparative AA Performance (Far Cry 2 & Left 4 Dead 2)

Comparative AA Performance (Far Cry 2 & Left 4 Dead 2)


In this section we dumb things down a bit to show you the average framerates a few of these cards achieve with and without AA enabled. This is done to give you an easy and straightforward way to determine how a certain card performs in a game with just a glance.


Far Cry 2

HD5830-86.jpg


HD5830-87.jpg

The Far Cry 2 performance looks like a carbon copy of the Dirt 2 graph as the HD 5830 just can't seem to muster the necessary horsepower to lift it far above the HD 5770.


Left 4 Dead 2

HD5830-88.jpg

Much like Dragon Age 2, the HD 5830 performs extremely well in this game when AA is disabled but when we push thins a bit with the 4xAA setting, things begin to unravel a bit.
 

SKYMTL

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Heat & Acoustics / Power Consumption

Heat & Acoustics


For all temperature testing, the cards were placed on an open test bench with a single 120mm 1200RPM fan placed ~8” away from the heatsink. The ambient temperature was kept at a constant 22°C (+/- 0.5°C). If the ambient temperatures rose above 23°C at any time throughout the test, all benchmarking was stopped. For this test we use the 3DMark Batch Size test at it highest triangle count with 4xAA and 16xAF enabled and looped it for one hour to determine the peak load temperature as measured by GPU-Z.

For Idle tests, we let the system idle at the Vista desktop for 15 minutes and recorded the peak temperature.


HD5830-81.jpg

To begin with, the temperatures seen here are simply amazing due to Sapphire’s use of an extremely high end cooler on their HD 5830. This cooling performance is backed up by the fact that the 90mm fan sitting at the center of the heatsink keeps noise to a minimum as well. Indeed, this is a very, very quiet card.


Power Consumption


For this test we hooked up our power supply to a UPM power meter that will log the power consumption of the whole system twice every second. In order to stress the GPU as much as possible we once again use the Batch Render test in 3DMark06 and let it run for 30 minutes to determine the peak power consumption while letting the card sit at a stable Windows desktop for 30 minutes to determine the peak idle power consumption. We have also included several other tests as well.

Please note that after extensive testing, we have found that simply plugging in a power meter to a wall outlet or UPS will NOT give you accurate power consumption numbers due to slight changes in the input voltage. Thus we use a Tripp-Lite 1800W line conditioner between the 120V outlet and the power meter.

HD5830-80.jpg

Power consumption is a bit odd to say the least with the HD 5830 showing power consumption under load which is quite a bit higher than the HD 5770 and almost catches up to the numbers posted by the HD 5850. Idle results seem to be influenced by component choices on this card as it requires almost power as a HD 5870. However, we have to remember that every one of these ATI cards is extremely efficient especially when you compare the HD 5830 to the outgoing HD 4890 1GB.
 

SKYMTL

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Overclocking Results

Overclocking Results


It has come to our attention that ATI sent cards directly to certain reviewers which sport HD 5870 PCBs and corresponding 4.8Ghz-rated GDDR5 memory. Overclocking of these particular samples will far exceed what most retail boards will achieve and is not representative of what consumers will likely experience. These cards will probably never be available at the retail level through ATI’s board partners due to the associated cost of the higher-end PCB and specific memory ICs needed.

With that said, we feel that our HD 5830 overclocked quite well which is probably due to its amazing heatsink. These results were stable through everything from FurMark to gaming benchmarks.

HD5830-20.jpg
 

SKYMTL

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Conclusion

Conclusion


With the HD 5830 1GB rounding up their lineup, ATI is now finally able to say they have products which hit literally every price point under the sun. This is a praise-worthy achievement made even more impressive by the fact that none of their current DX11 cards overlaps another when it comes to price or performance. Granted, some like the HD 5850 and HD 5870 are in a league of their own in terms of raw gaming abilities but some of their lower-end cards are just as appealing for consumers on a budget.

Unfortunately, it is the strength of this lineup that makes the HD 5830’s job a bit harder than it could have been. Trying to bridge the gap between the praiseworthy HD 5850 and segment leading HD 5770 without stepping on either’s toes isn’t an easy thing to do so ATI had to be careful. The resulting card provides as many highs as it does lows and doesn’t really provide a convincing argument for itself over the cards one step up or one step down on the ATI ladder. If you are looking for performance without breaking the piggy bank, chances are the HD 5850 will still be your primary candidate. Meanwhile, if you are on a budget the $70 premium the HD 5830 commands over many HD 5770 cards will be a daunting proposition considering the minimal performance difference when IQ settings are turned up.

Speaking of image quality settings, it seems like the HD 5830 really has a hard time with things if you want to enable anti-aliasing or increase the resolution past a certain point. We saw its performance drop like a meteor from the sky whenever 4xAA was enabled to near-HD 5770 levels and then jump back up near the HD 5850 when AA was turned off in certain games. It seems the limited number of ROPs and TMUs really hurts the HD 5830 in situations where people will want to pretty things up by upping the image quality. Unfortunately, a relatively low amount of rendering horsepower also leads to some disturbingly low performance in DiRT 2 DX11 and while we can’t predict how things will go in other DX11 games, this does set a precedent. The same can be said for other demanding games like Far Cry 2 as well.

With all that being said, there is a silver lining here. The HD 5830 is a perfect replacement for the HD 4890 in terms of framerates and brings DX11, Eyefinity with low power consumption to the $250 price point. Performance against the GTX 275 and GTX 260 is also very good but then again, it’s hard to compare a brand new card to products that have been discontinued for a few months now. We also like the fact that Sapphire has included a simple amazing heatsink with their HD 5830 which along with the inclusion of Modern Warfare 2 adds a good deal of value to this particular card.

In the end, it all comes down to performance and even though the HD 5830 shows flashes of brilliance which totally justify its price there are many other situations where disappointment reigns. The simple fact of the matter is that the framerates jump around too erratically from game to game to justify this card's price. Let’s be straightforward here: the price of the HD 5830 is right in the middle of the HD 5770 and HD 5850 but its performance is more often than not much closer to the lower-end card. This is unfortunate but once pricing stabilizes a few weeks after launch, we may be looking at a whole new ballgame.


Pros:

- Acceptable performance at moderate IQ settings
- Great cooling
- Low noise profile
- Included game


Cons

- Poor AA performance
- Overall inconsistent performance
- Possibly insufficient horsepower for DX11 games
- Slightly too expensive when compared to HD 5770



 
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