Sapphire Radeon HD 5830 1GB Review

by Michael "SKYMTL" Hoenig     |     February 24, 2010

The HD 5830ís Specifications & Market Placement

As we mentioned in the introduction, the HD 5830 is tailor made to slot into the substantial price gap between the HD 5850 and the HD 5770. It is also destined to replace the outgoing HD 4890 1GB. Unlike the HD 5770 which used a smaller, 1.04 billion transistor version of the HD 5850ís and HD 5870ís 2.15 billion transistor cores, this new card uses that same enthusiast-grade Cypress core and redubs it the ďCypress LEĒ. However, as you can see from the specifications above the HD 5830 uses a highly cut down version of ATIís high end architecture. This is basically done by taking cores that failed to pass the binning process necessary for HD 5850 and HD 5870 cards, shaving off some SPs, ROPs and texture units in order to make a product that will fit into a more mainstream price segment.

The result of these die cuts is a video card that does bridge the gap between high end and mainstream products but at a cost of significant amounts of rendering horsepower. Many people were hoping that this card would have something along the lines of 1280 Stream processors enabled but ATI seems to have gone a bit wild here and ended up cutting 320 for a total of 1120 SPs. The ROPs and texture units also went under the knife with the ROPs in particular being castrated down to half of their original count in the HD 5850. This can and will have a significant impact on overall rendering performance regardless of the fact the HD 5830 has its core clocked 75Mhz higher than its bigger brother. Memory speeds stay the same however.

When compared to the outgoing HD 4890 on the other hand, this new card looks to hold an edge even though it has been theorized that the HD 5000-seriesí SPs donít work as well as those on the HD 4000 series. With more texture units and the same number of ROPs yet slightly lower core clock speeds, it seems like the HD 5830 1GB should hold a slight edge in some situations. Or at least we hopeÖ

All of this cutting results in a card that is priced right at the midpoint between the HD 5850 and HD 5770 while targeting the now-discontinued GTX 260 216 and GTX 275 cards in terms of overall performance. Will this approach appeal to this cardís target audience? Only time will tell.

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