|XFX Radeon HD5830 DX11 Video Card|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Video Cards|
|Written by Bruce Normann|
|Friday, 26 March 2010|
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ATI Radeon HD5830 Specifications
If we just want to talk about the HD 5830 GPU, and the architecture that supports it, then this section is the second most important part of this review. There has been endless conjecture throughout the industry and among enthusiasts about how ATI was going to tweak the basic ingredients in order to hit the sweet spot that exists in the fairly wide performance gap between the HD 5770 and HD 5850. By way of introduction, I'll just say that when a group of journalists recently saw this chart, they had more questions after they saw it than they did before. Fortunately, ATI was very open with us and gave us some insights into the development process, which I'll share with you when we take a Closer Look, in the next section.
Specs are very important for this product, because they tell a vital part of the story. However, I believe testing is more important, where we see how the HD 5830 actually performs, relative to other options that are available now and some older products that users may want to upgrade from. Although you might think that pricing belongs in the top two, the PC Graphics market has a life of its own, and it's very difficult to accurately predict where and when the price will eventually settle. The video card market has always been very dynamic, and with the upcoming (we all hope...) introduction of FERMI-based products from NVIDIA, there are going to be some major wrinkles in the market pricing structure that will have to be ironed out pretty quickly. For now, take a look at where the various versions of the HD5000 series end up relative to one another on this price v. performance chart, and remember this is all based on launch pricing...
The HD 5830 is likely built with chips that didn't meet the top clock spec, and/or had a defect that killed one or more of the stream processor units. As anyone who has followed the AMD product line knows, modern processors are designed with the capability of disabling portions of the die. Sometimes, it's done because there are defects on the chip (usually a small particle of dust that ruins a transistor) and all the internal sections don't pass testing. Sometimes it's done with perfectly good chips because the manufacturer needs to meet production requirements for lower cost market segments. Given the well publicized issues with 40nm manufacturing yields at TSMC, I seriously doubt that ATI is crippling perfectly good chips, just to sell more lower-spec cards. With the release of this minor variant, ATI finally has all the major bases covered for cards based on the Cypress class GPUs.
Every AIB partner had to go it alone on product development for this card, so let's take a closer look at the XFX Radeon HD 5830, and see how their interpretation of the 5830 design specs has been implemented.