The purpose of this review
We know what the HD5830 is all about, its considered a lame duck with partial credit for this. The purpose in me busting out my review skills is to settle whether this card is as bad as all the reviews say, or if the HD5830 deserves more credit than it has been given. In this review I will address as many aspects as possible, while perhaps most importantly, using Catalyst 10.3 drivers to see if ATi have made any driver specific optimisations for the HD5830.
I don't think I need to go into too much detail here. We know what the HD5830 is supposed to do, which is to say, bridge the ATi lineup gap between the value champion Radeon HD5770, and the bang for buck champion Radeon HD5850.
On paper the HD5830 seems like it could be a nice bit of kit - but is it?
Looking at the specification what must be the first thing that pokes you in the eyes about the HD5830 is how its Fillrate and Z-Stencil buffer are actually inferior to the HD5770. Shocking, but understandable given the lower GPU clock. Nothing too crippling there then. The next thing that stands out is the ROP count. With only 16 ROPs the HD5830 has certainly been on a muscle diet. We will see how this impacts the card later with Catalyst 10.3 drivers. Finally, power consumption. At 175w maximum board power, the HD5830 certainly likes to be a bit of a power guzzler. In comparison to nVidias latest crop of cards though, its not too bad albiet a little disappointing of ATi.
Packaging & Accessories
Theres really not much to say here. Standard packaging and accessories bundle. It was a little disappointing to not find a HDMI cable in with the accessories, though.
The card - Closeup
Now this is more like it, something interesting to look at. On first glance the PCB looked like it was non reference, but perhaps it is after all. The memory fitted to this card is Samsung K4G10325FE-HC04. This stuff is rated for a jaw-dropping 5000MHz! Overclocking should be fun with this card
So it begins.. man vs. machine, epeen vs. who gives a crap, and so on and so on..
Overclocking with the HD5830 proved to be very rewarding. In exchange for a little of my time I managed to increase GPU and memory clocks very respectably. Contrary to the GPU-Z \ Overdrive shots I was able to get all the way up to 975 / 5600. However at these clocks the card would randomly lock up, no artifacts, just lock up. Once RBE fully supports the HD5830 I hope I can play around with voltages a little and get the uppermost limits stable. In the meantime, 950 / 5200 is certainly nothing to turn your nose up at.
Eagle eyes may notice GPU-Z reporting the SAPPHIRE card as a ASUS card. This is not a bug, but rather a result of some vBIOS "tinkering" I did. Allow me to explain. On first installing this card the CCC Overdrive limits offered by the Sapphire vBIOS were very crummy. 875 for the GPU and 1200 for the memory, rubbish. So I done a little sniffing around and ended up yanking out the signature from a Asus vBIOS, which allowed upper GPU and vRAM limits of 1200 / 1400 respectively. Whilst I was at it I tweaked 2D GPU speeds to 250MHz and set my own thermal paramaters. The results are as you see in the above screenshot.
Asus Maximus 2 Formula w\ smBIOS 2302
C2Q 8400 @ 3.6GHz 480FSB
OCZ Platinum PC9200 (black PCB) @ 1156MHz 5-5-5-15
Asus Xonar DX 7.1
WD Black 640GB SATA2, 32MB Cache
Chipset drivers: 126.96.36.1995
Audio drivers: 188.8.131.520
PhysX (3D Vantage): 9.10.0129
DirectX: June 2010 release
For todays benchmarks I'll be using the following;
Stalker COP benchmark
Crysis Warhead benchmark
3D Mark Vantage
Final Fantasy XIV
For comparison I have run these benchmarks on a HD4830 512MB clocked @ 710/2100. This is quite deliberate on my part. You see, everybody loved the HD4830 with good reason, can the HD5830 be compared in a similar light? Well, thats up to you to look at the numbers and decide for yourselves.
These results are a bit puzzling. Why the HD5830 has such a poor minimum FPS is a complete unknow, but it must be driver related. Unigine will be restested when Catalyst 10.7 are available.
Well, with the review all said and done what are we left with? Is the HD5830 a dog? Who should buy one and why? These are all questions I've asked myself over and over. The performance of the HD5830 neither blew me away nor did it particularly disappoint. ATi wanted to create a filler card between the HD5770 and the HD5850, and that they did with the HD5830. One way to look at the HD5830 is that it is two HD4830s glued together. Consistently the HD5830 was twice as fast as the HD4830. Quality settings with the HD5830 were also good. Not once did I witness the cards performance with AA enabled start to come crashing down like a meteor. However, this does come with a footnote. Tessellation performance in Heaven 2.1 could be considered somewhat poor. If ATi focus on driver level tessellation performance improvements then this will not be a issue.
Ultimately, if your willing to overclock the HD5830 you will find it to be quite a rewarding card especially at £140. Typically Cypress cores clock to around 925MHz and memory around 1250MHz (5000Mhz) on average. If you don't want to overclock, then look elsewhere as the stock performance of the HD5830 is very unimspiring.
- Overclocks well
- Runs cool
- Not too loud (below 55% fanspeed)
- Poor stock performance
- Questionable tessellation performance
- Very long card
- Needs 2x 6 pin PCI-E connectors
- No HDMI cable included
Final Verdict: 7/10. Good but no cigar.
Ati Radeon HD5830 1GB £140