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Sapphire ATI Radeon HD 5830 review

Sapphire ATI Radeon HD 5830
Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £188
inc VAT

Not quick enough to challenge the HD 5850, and too expensive to trouble the HD 5770, this is a card that falls awkwardly between the two.

The seemingly endless deluge of 5000-series cards from ATI have till now gone completely unopposed. Nvidia has finally got round to launching its much anticipated Fermi cards (see page XXX), but to date there are only high-end models, which still leaves ATI without any competition for its mid-range cards. Bolstering the upper end of this area is the HD 5830.

Not to beat about the bush, every HD 5830 is a failed 5850 or 5870. Chip manufacturing is tricky and ATI need to find a way to make use of those the cards that don’t quite make the grade. With 1,120 stream processors and 56 texture mapping units, it’s placed exactly halfway between the HD 5850 and the HD 5770 (both below). It only has 16 Render Output Units (ROPs), the same as the HD 5770, these combine all the other calculations to produce the final output. Its 256-bit bus matches that of the HD 5850, but surprisingly its 800MHz clock speed is quicker than that card’s 725MHz.

Its performance was largely in line with its specifications, and it won’t disappoint most gamers. At a resolution of 1,680×1,050 and with 4x anti-aliasing enabled, this card tore through our Call of Duty 4 benchmark at 75.5fps. In our far more challenging Crysis test, at the same tough settings, it managed a very respectable 38.0fps.

It’s certainly a quick card then, but than sitting squarely between the HD 5850 and 5770, it’s noticeably closer to the cheaper 5770. We re-tested this card with the latest drivers, and got 34.4fps in our Crysis benchmark – its slower admittedly, but then you’re saving around £60 with a HD 5770. The HD 5830 was well behind the HD 5850, though, with the more expensive card scoring just below 50fps in our Crysis test, a major step up in performance. Our 3D Mark Vantage card is a good test of the theoretical capabilities of the card, and here a strong score of 7,632 showed its architectural similarities to the HD 5850.

In terms of design it’s practically identical to the HD 5850. It’s a big card, measuring 270mm in length and taking up two card slots in your PC. Like its bigger siblings it has two PCI-Express 6-pin power inputs, and its faster clock speed means it can draw up to 175W at maximum load, so you’ll need a fairly hefty power supply to feed it.

There’s every output you’re likely to need on the rear. Two DVI ports are accompanied by HDMI and DisplayPort. You can use ATI’s Eyefinity feature to run three monitors simultaneously using this card – either for gaming purposes or to give you a massive desktop. However, one of those monitors must support DisplayPort, and such models are still rare. We’d definitely invest in a more powerful card if you plan on running games on three monitors, as the native resolution would likely be a massive 5,760×1,080.

You can an HD 5830 with reference settings from numerous manufacturers, it’s tempting to opt for the cheapest one, but this Sapphire model has an impressively effective five heat pipe cooler with a larger than normal fan. Many HD 5830’s come with a coupon for downloading the excellent Modern Warfare 2, but beware as these bundled cards often cost £15-20 more than the vanilla versions, so you’d have to really want the game to make it worthwhile.

All this is a theoretical though, as at present prices we can’t recommend the HD 5830. Its performance simply doesn’t justify its price, and you’re far better off spending a little more on the HD 5850, or cutting back and settling for the far cheaper HD 5770.

Basic Specifications

Price £188
Rating ***
Interface PCI Express x16 2.1
Crossfire/SLI CrossFireX
Slots taken up 2
Brand ATI
Graphics Processor ATI Radeon HD 5830
Memory 1GB GDDR5
GPU clock speed 800MHz
Memory speed 1.00GHz


Architecture 1120 stream processors


DVI outputs 2
VGA outputs 0
S-video output no
S-Video input no
Composite outputs no
Composite inputs no
Component outputs no
HDMI outputs 1
Power leads required 2x 6-pin PCI Express

Benchmark Results

3DMark Vantage 1680 7,632
Call of Duty 4 1680 4xAA 75.5fps
Call of Duty 4 1440 4xAA 86.6fps
Crysis 1680 High 4xAA 38.0fps
Crysis 1440 High 4xAA 46.4fps

Buying Information

Warranty one year RTB
Price £188

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