Summary: Based on the same Cypress GPU found in the 5870, the Radeon 5830 shares the key features found in ATI's flagship DX11 offering, only with a more affordable sub-$250 price tag. But how does it compare to the 5850, 5770, and Radeon 4890? Not to mention NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 260 and GTX 275? See how it performs in this article!
Now that they’ve got the Radeon 5600 and Radeon 5400 launches behind them, ATI’s filling in the few remaining holes in their DirectX 11 graphics lineup.
ATI’s addressing the most obvious hole they’ve yet to fill first, with today’s arrival of the Radeon 5830 slotting in the very important $200-$250 price bracket of the graphics market. Both ATI and NVIDIA have historically done lots of business in this segment, with previous sales champs like the GeForce 8800 GT and Radeon X1950 Pro doing quite well for both companies in the past, so it’s important that ATI’s finally introducing a new product here.
Judging by public reaction at the Radeon 5770 launch, a lot of enthusiasts have been holding out for an inexpensive DX11 card with a 256-bit memory interface to displace the Radeon 4870/4890 and GeForce GTX 260. With its 128-bit memory interface, the Radeon 5770 just couldn’t do that.
Nevertheless, as a member of the Radeon 5800 series family, the 5830 shares the same RV870 graphics core as the 5850 and 5870, and while it is a crippled derivative of those ASICs, it retains their 256-bit interface and GDDR5 memory.
Sounds perfect right?
If the performance is good, and the price is right, the 5830 would be the perfect solution for gamers on a budget. But as we just mentioned, ATI deactivates parts of the 5830’s Cypress LE graphics core. It features fewer stream processors than the Radeon 5870 and 5850, and runs at different clocks as you’ll see in this handy chart:
As you can see in the chart above, the Radeon 5830 ships with 1120 stream processors; six of RV870’s 20 SIMD units are disabled, leaving 14 active SIMD units. Rumors ahead of today’s launch predicted 1200 stream processors, so the final product is a little more crippled than initially projected.
ATI takes the exact same components from the 5870 reference board and adapts it for the Radeon 5830.
Clearly this is a pretty expensive way for ATI to go: the 5870 features a more robust 4-phase power subsystem for the GPU (versus 3 phases on the 5850), and there’s obviously the 11” PCB and quad-heatpipe cooling on the GPU. In comparison, the 5850’s PCB is just 9.5” long and is cooled with two copper heatpipes.
ATI even puts the aluminum plate on the bottom of the 5830 reference board, just like the 5870.
Because of the 5830’s high clocks, ATI has decided to use the 5870 reference board design for the Radeon 5830. They’re recommending their board partners to do the same for their retail 5830 boards, although they are leaving it up to their partners to come up with their own unique board designs for their 5830 cards.
While we normally frown on reference board designs, this may be one case where getting the reference board wouldn’t be a bad move. By using the Radeon 5870 reference board design on the slower 5830, it’s actually overbuilt for its use on the 5830. As a result, if you happen to get lucky and score a good 5830 chip, this could potentially give you lots of headroom for OC’ing.
To keep their board-level costs down, ATI’s board partners may not want to implement the 5870 reference design on their retail 5830 boards though. In fact, one mockup 5830 board from XFX appears awfully similar to the 5770 board design. (All retail 5830 board photos depicted in this article were supplied directly by ATI PR, so they may not be representative of final shipping products.)
With ATI allowing their board partners to implement their own unique board designs for the 5830, you will see a variety of different boards out there: we’re just hoping someone has the guts to do a properly OC’ed board with excellent cooling and power delivery.
Because the 5830 is priced at $239 though, some manufacturers may be reluctant to integrate too many bells and whistles into their 5830 offerings considering that the Radeon 5850 is lurking out there priced at $300.
Intel Core i7-870
ASUS P7P55D Deluxe
4B (2x2B) OCZ Reaper HPC 1600 @ DDR-1333 Speeds
NVIDIA GeForce 9800 GT 512MB
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 275
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 260-216
ATI Radeon HD 5830
ATI Radeon HD 5770 1GB
ATI Radeon 5850 1GB
ATI Radeon 4890 1GB
2TB Seagate Barracuda XT
Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Max Settings
Fallout 3 DirectX 9
CoD: MW2 – DirectX 9
Crysis – DirectX 10
Far Cry 2 – DirectX 10
Resident Evil – DirectX 10
Batman:AA – DirectX 9
DiRT 2 – DirectX 9/11
ATI has disabled parts of the core -- the 5830 has half the render back-ends and 480 fewer stream processors than the 5870 -- but to keep performance up ATI hasn’t dramatically reduced the clocks. The graphics core is just 50MHz slower than the 5870, and the memory subsystem is identical to the Radeon 5850.
Despite all this though, ATI made sure that the Radeon 5830 wouldn’t encroach on the 5850’s territory when it comes to performance. In our testing the Radeon 5830 ran 20-25% slower than the 5850 in Crysis, DiRT 2 (with DX11) and Far Cry 2, and was generally 16-20% slower in STALKER Call of Pripyat. The 5830 trailed the 5850 by significant margins in Modern Warfare 2, Batman Arkham Asylum, and Resident Evil 5 too.
The 5830 delivered a nice improvement over the Radeon 5770 though. It ran 15-16% faster than the 5770 in Crysis and Batman Arkham Asylum, and was 11% faster than the 5770 in testing with STALKER. The Radeon 5830 ran up to 15% faster than the 5770 in Modern Warfare 2 also.
Surprisingly enough however, the 5770 and 5830 were much closer in our testing with Far Cry 2 and DiRT 2. The cards were separated by just 6-9% in the former, and 7-9% in the latter when both cards were running the game’s DX11 codepath.
It’s possible that the 5770’s pixel-pushing advantage could be paying dividends here, although we’re not convinced that’s what’s happening. Further investigation is warranted.
We know a lot of you were hoping that the 5830 would offer 4890 levels of performance with the addition of DX11, Eyefinity, etc. Based on our benchmarks today, the 5830 accomplishes on this mission, but it isn’t a clean sweep. The two boards are neck-and-neck in Crysis, but the 5830 trailed the 4890 in games like Resident Evil 5 and Far Cry 2 in our testing. Fortunately the two boards are close enough to call it a draw in the other titles, and the 5830 was able to leverage DX11 to gain a significant lead over the Radeon 4890 in STALKER.
If the Radeon 4890 could still be found for under $200 online, life would certainly be tougher for the 5830, but that just isn’t the case anymore.
Priced at $239, the Radeon 5830 isn’t the screaming deal many of you have been eager for (we know many of you were hoping for pricing closer to $200), but ATI’s probably done just enough to keep things interesting. Depending on how well the final retail boards are built, this could end up being a gem for OC’ers, especially if the final boards can scale to 950-980MHz as easily as we’re hoping.
The 5830 is a solid offering from ATI. Sure, it’s priced a little higher than we’d like, and we wish it separated itself from the 4890 a little more in performance, but ATI’s given us the basic ingredients to rectify that last issue somewhat if you’re willing to OC. It will likely sell like hotcakes, as this is the card and price point a lot of you have been waiting on, and let’s face it, it has no natural competitor at the moment.
Now that they’ve got the 5830 launch behind them, ATI’s putting the finishing touches on their Radeon 5870 Eyefinity 6 Edition card. We know it’s going to sport 6 DP connections, ship at the standard 5870 clocks, and be outfitted with 2GB of memory, but how will it perform? Stay tuned!
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