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.
- Acceptable performance at moderate IQ settings
- Great cooling
- Low noise profile
- Included game
- Poor AA performance
- Overall inconsistent performance
- Possibly insufficient horsepower for DX11 games
- Slightly too expensive when compared to HD 5770