When it comes to pre-overclocked graphics cards, Gigabyte isn’t usually the first manufacturer that jumps to mind but they have been working hard to bring some excitement to enthusiasts. ASUS has their TOP, Matrix and Ultimate series and MSI had their Lightning products but at the time it seemed like Gigabyte was the odd man out of a very lucrative market. They answered back in a big way with the Super Overclock Series.
Unfortunately, past attempts at releasing Super Overclock cards proved to be a bit difficult since the GTX 260 SOC and GTX 275 SOC came out very late in the GT-200 series life cycle. Nonetheless, both of these cards blew us away with their performance and incredible overclocking potential. Gigabyte is now working hard on releasing Super Overclocked versions of the HD 5870 and HD 5850 1GB cards.
The HD 5870 SOC was first shown at CES but was not widely covered by the media. However, we now have some additional details for you about this soon to be highly anticipated card including some interesting component choices and a picture of the finalized design.
The card itself should retain a near-reference PCB size but that is where the similarities between standard, vanilla HD 5870 cards stops. Gigabyte has gone all out here with a massive dual slot cooler which incorporates a large-size aluminum fin / copper heatpipe construction along with a pair of fans to keep heat under control. Unfortunately, this design means most of the heat produced by the core will stay within the general vicinity of the card but with good case airflow, this shouldn’t cause an issue.
According to Gigabyte, all of the GPU cores and GDDR5 memory destined for this card will be strictly sorted in accordance with their “GPU Gauntlet” process. This means only the highest overclocking units will be installed onto the SOC series of cards which should also allow for better power consumption and slightly lower heat at stock speeds.
Much like ASUS’ addition of a SuperML cap to their higher-clocking models, Gigabyte has decided to use NEC’s new Prodilizer capacitors to their design. These digital capacitors will supposedly help this card’s core speed push past the 1Ghz barrier by providing high current capacity and a quick switching frequency. It is also important to remember that the Prodilizer caps will be used to supplement Gigabyte’s Ultra Durable VGA design which incorporates two ounces of copper into the PCB along with other tweaks to improve efficiency and product life.
To additionally help overclockers, there will be voltage read points incorporated directly onto the card’s PCB and Gigabyte will also be launching a revamped software tuning utility. While it may look like a confusing layout the new Ultra Durable VGA software allows for core, shader (on upcoming NVIDIA cards) and memory clocking, GPU and memory voltage tweaking, PWM adjustments and finally fan speed settings as well.
Unfortunately, the final clock speeds of this card are still up in the air but considering the specifications of some other overclocked HD 5870 cards being released in the next month, we expect SOC’s core to run in excess of 1Ghz with the memory running at ~5Gbps. To make matters even more interesting, it seems like this card in particular will be hitting store shelves shortly before the release of NVIDIA’s GTX 480 and GTX 470 cards. This could make for some interesting competition.