ATI Radeon HD 5830 review
Average performance, a high price and even higher power draw make this a GPU to avoid
ATI’s Cypress core may have been used to power the HD 5870 – the most powerful single-chip card we’ve seen – but the chip’s true versatility is now coming to the fore. We’ve already seen a cut-down version powering the HD 5850, and now it forms the basis of the new HD 5830 – ATI's cheapest top-end card.
The specification, naturally, is very close to those other two cards. The HD 5830's GPU is built using the same 40nm manufacturing process, and it boasts the same 2,154 million transistors. It supports ATI's EyeFinity technology too, essentially allowing your PC to treat a multi-monitor setup as a single, large screen.
Physically, it's the same as its brothers too. It's weighty and, at 293mm in length, we’d be wary about fitting it into even medium-sized cases. But there is one subtle difference: while the HD 5830 still requires two six-pin plugs, they’re on the top edge of the card rather than at the rear, in one of the two Batmobile-style vents.
Oddly, given the lower version number, it boasts a higher core clock speed than the HD 5850, running 50MHz faster at 800MHz. But the number of stream processors makes more sense, with 1,120 here compared with the HD 5850's 1,440.
The level of performance is as expected too. In our low and medium-quality Crysis tests, run at resolutions of 1,024 x 768 and 1,200 x 1,024, it returned results of 132fps and 85fps respectively, with the latter result three frames behind the HD 5850.
The gap widened in our more demanding benchmarks. In the High quality, 1,600 x 1,200 test, the HD 5830 scored 48fps – eight frames behind the HD 5850. This gulf was evident in the Very High benchmarks too: when we ran this test at 1,600 x 1,200, the HD 5830 was five frames behind, and four frames behind when we upped the resolution to 1,920 x 1,200.
The HD 5830 drew an unusual amount of power too. In our test rig (an MSI X58 Platinum motherboard, Intel Core i7-920 processor and 6GB of RAM) the idle HD 5830 contributed to a power draw of 155W and a peak draw of 284W. The HD 5850, in contrast, used 122W when idle and just 231W at peak; even the HD 5870 used only 252W at full load.
This would all be fine if the card was a lot cheaper than the HD 5850, but it isn't. In fact, without a significant price cut, the £22 price differential just isn't big enough to justify choosing the HD 5830.
|Price ex VAT||£170|
|Price inc VAT||£200|
|Features & Design||4|
|Value for Money||2|
|Graphics card interface||PCI Express|
|Graphics chipset||ATI Radeon HD 5830|
|Core GPU frequency||800MHz|
Standards and compatibility
|DirectX version support||11.0|
|Shader model support||5.0|
|VGA (D-SUB) outputs||0|
|7-pin TV outputs||0|
|Graphics card power connectors||2 x 6-pin|
|3D performance (crysis) low settings||132fps|
|3D performance (crysis), medium settings||85fps|
|3D performance (crysis) high settings||48fps|