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Gigabyte HD 5870 1GB Super Overclock Review

Author: Michael "SKYMTL" Hoenig
Date: May 2, 2010
Product Name: Gigabyte HD 5870 1GB Super Overclock
 
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With competition in the graphics card market as fierce as it currently is, both ATI’s and NVIDIA’s board partners are constantly looking for ways to distinguish their products from those of the competition. Even though the HD 5870 has been out for quite a while, it is still one of the most popular cards on the market and as such, we have seen numerous custom designs based off of it. Products like the PowerColor PCS+, ASUS Matrix, Sapphire Toxic, MSI’s Lightning series and HIS’ Turbo X have all shown that extra performance can easily be squeezed out of the HD 5870’s frame if you are willing to pay for it. There have even been 2GB versions released like the aforementioned Sapphire Toxic Edition. However, all of these players know that another major vendor is about to enter their cozy little corner of the market and want to make sure all their cards are on the table before any announcement is made.

Gigabyte is joining the ranks of these board partners with their own eagerly anticipated HD 5870: the Super Overclock Edition. We have already looked at two previous Super Overclock cards in the form of the GTX 275 SoC and the GTX 260 216 Soc and both times we came away extremely impressed. Not only were those cards capable of equalling the performance of significantly high-end products but they were also priced quite well. Availability of highly overclocked cards usually leaves much to be desired and Gigabyte is committed to offering sufficient stock this time around. Interestingly enough, the HD 5870 SoC can already be found at several retailers throughout North America and Europe.

When we previewed Gigabyte’s flagship card, quite a few interesting technologies were put on the table and discussed. Not much has changed since then other than the clock speeds which were predicted. Unfortunately, Gigabyte wasn’t quite able to hit their target 1Ghz core speed even with their stringent GPU Gauntlet sorting process. In our conversations with them it was stated again and again that the yields of cores capable of running 1Ghz with the stability needed for a retail product were too small. As such, the speed had to be dialled back to a more pedestrian 950Mhz.

Naturally, pricing for any non-reference card is going to run the usual gamut: it will either be priced surprisingly well or it will command a significant premium over the cookie-cutter version. The Super Overclock lands firmly on the “they want how much!?” side of the fence at around $500 USD. With many HD 5870 1GB cards costing between $400 and $420, this will probably be a bitter pill to swallow for prospective owners. However, if the Super Overclock’s performance can live up to expectations, it may well be worth the investment.

 
 
 

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