|XFX Radeon HD5830 DX11 Video Card|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Video Cards|
|Written by Bruce Normann|
|Friday, 26 March 2010|
Page 16 of 17
Radeon HD 5830 Final Thoughts
Why did ATI leave this huge hole in their product line, for so long? The flagship ATI video cards made a huge splash last September, but according to Mercury Research, cards costing over $200 only make up 7% of the market, and the 57xx series landed in the $100-$200 range, which makes up 27% of the market. That leaves a huge opening in the sub-$100 market, and ATI was busy filling in the gaps with all new, DirectX 11 capable cards in this segment. Enthusiasts may laugh at the diminutive HD55xx series and the HD5450, with its 80 shaders, but they provide a much-needed revenue stream for ATI. Don't begrudge them that, it's what pays for all the R&D that produced the 58xx series in the first place.
So, the halo products were doing fine; in fact they were in short supply for several months due to manufacturing yield problems at the chip foundry in Taiwan. Now, the middle ground and the HTPC markets are taken care of. There are enough chips floating out of TSMC to keep the retailer's shelves stocked. Now what...? Oh, yeah, let's go back and finish off the premier product line with a couple of easy wins. One card can fill the gap between the 58xx and 57xx series, and a dedicated Eyefinity HD5870 card for the AV market will sell like hotcakes at Belgian waffle prices. Because in that market, you're always spending someone else's money.
Let's play a game of "What If". What if you were King of ATI, and you knew that there was a gap in your product line, so you told your minions to go and design something to fill that gap. Lo and behold, some weeks later, the engineers came back with three proposals, because they had been arguing for almost the entire time over how to design the product. It turns out that there are three very easy, very plausible ways to build a product that will meet the performance requirements. Each of them is correct from a technical perspective, so the King has to decide. (You all knew that Marketing is the King, right...LOL)
Well, the world is waiting for your answer....Kings are infallible you know, so whatever you say will automatically be correct, for all time. It's just that the wrong decision is going to cost you money, somewhere down the road.
Kings have special privileges, so I'm going to invoke mine and answer "1 & 3". I think a turbocharged 57xx is already in the product roadmap, it's just a question of time. I think #2 is what the market wanted, because they had already seen how well the HD5850 scaled with GPU clock speed, and they wanted to be able to overclock the 5830 and get 5850 performance out of it. Just like they saw everyone doing with the 5850, juicing it up to compete with the 5870, they wanted a repeat performance of The People's Champion.
Alas, the King didn't want to lose all those HD5850 sales, at those nice HD5850 prices. I can't blame him; I would have done the same thing. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go try and get that 5830 chip up to 1.0 GHz, and see what it'll really do.