Radeon HD 5800 Series Hits Shops

"The much-hyped Radeon 5800 series cards have arrived at various stores today, in many different forms, so let's take a look at what's best."

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The Radeon HD 5800 Series
 
Sapphire Radeon HD 5870 1GBWe've had endless amount of different details of these cards thrust into our inboxes over the past few weeks, we didn't quite know what to believe. Finally, the cards are in store, and most of the details were pretty accurate, but let's just consolidate all of the facts into one place for now.
 
The Radeon HD 5850 is the entry level offering of the 5800 series, and it features a standard 725Mhz core clock, 1024MB of DDR5 memory running at 4000Mhz with a maximum bandwidth of 128GB/s. The 5870 is a more high end offering, with a higher price to suit. This features a faster 850Mhz core speed and the same 1024MB of DDR5, this time at a staggering 4800MHz. This means a maximum bandwidth of 153.6GB/s. Ofcourse, both of these cards include support for DirectX 11, OpenGL 3.2, shader model 5.0 and both draw their power from a set of two 6pin PCI express power connectors. The only major difference between the two is price - around £200 for a standard 5850, or an extra £100 for the 5870 at the moment.
 
MSI Radeon HD 5850 1GBAs usual with any new graphics card, all of the usual manufacturers have their cards available upon release. As usual, atleast for the first few weeks, they are very similar, often just a different sticker on the shroud of the heatsink or slightly different bundle, but mostly the same cards, which explains the similar pricing. However, after the first few weeks, the dust has settled and the partners are let loose, often introducing overclocked models, custom coolers, PCBs and higher quality components for improved overclocking.
 
So, lets take a look at what we can buy today, and see if there is any significant differences between the available cards. At the time of writing, cards from XFX, ASUS, HIS, Gigabyte, Powercolor, Sapphire, MSI and VTX are all available for purchase. Most of these manufacturers are offering a free download of the highly anticipated DirectX11 title, Colin McRae: DiRT 2, when it is released later this year. Apart from that, every single one of the cards available to buy are stock-clocked models with a 2 year warranty, with only ASUS and Sapphire breaking the trend. Sapphire are adding not only DiRT 2, but also adding Edios' Battlestation Pacific game to the bundle of their 5800 series cards.
 
ASUS Radeon HD 5870 1GBMeanwhile, something more exciting, ASUS' two cards come with their own Voltage Tweak Technology. This is controlled by ASUS' smart doctor software, which allows users to increase the voltages of the card for improved overclocking abilities. They say that the 5870 can have it's core voltage increased from 1.15v to 1.35v, allowing a speed boost from 850Mhz to 1035Mhz and a memory speed increase from 4800Mhz to 5200Mhz! The 5850 also gets this treatment too, a voltage increase from 1.088v to 1.4v, meaning a boost from 725Mhz to 1050Mhz, with the memory overclocking from the standard 4000Mhz to 5200Mhz! These are some very impressive figures and ASUS claim they produce a 38% improvement in 3DMark Vantage, effectively making the world's fastest single GPU even faster! Pricing for this model is expected to be the same as the other stock variants, making it a very attractive choice!
 
So, to round it off, all of the cards are very similar, your choice is just down to the retailer and manufacturer you prefer, although it would make sense to grab one with a free game, whilst the offer is still on. As only a few dozen units have been shipped into Europe, it may be some time before you get your grubby little hands on one of these new graphics cards, but they are available to pre order now, with many more units being shipped in the next week or so. Also, don't forget that all of these cards support ATI's Eyefinity technology we reported about a few weeks ago, allowing you to drive up to 3 montiors at once, as long as you have a display port capable monitor.
 
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Most Recent Comments

17-09-2009, 08:17:14

Jim
"Is an updated southbridge and a sprinkle of copper sufficient to see the successful return of the AMD 770 Northbridge? Let's find out..." - by Mul.

[IMG]http://www.overclock3d.net/gfx/articles/2009/09/17090526362s.jpg[/IMG]

[B][B]Gigabyte MA770T UD3P AM3 Motherboard[/B][/B]

17-09-2009, 09:43:32

Rastalovich
For it's price, the mobo is a complete bargain. If ur looking at the mid £60 price mark, ur not looking for an extreme sli/xfire with 50x usb ports and 10 iee etc.

£6x, a good cpu and a gfxcard (tbh spend most of ur cash on the gfxcard imo) - and u got the gaming rig right there.

I always hesitate when seeing the pwm with no cooler on it, this always suggests to me that long term oc'ing is going to be minor %ages to be safe. Might be irrational, but I do look at pwm temps and worry (after frying some mobos also).

I'd like to know more about the onboard sound and the lan version if u can Mul.

Great review. These mobos should be turning heads.

17-09-2009, 09:51:26

VonBlade
The sound quality is amazing*. I've got a Audigy 2 (ok not cutting edge but still) and it blows it into the weeds.

*790X but same Sound chipset.

17-09-2009, 09:55:42

Rastalovich
U know if it's like a Realtek ALC889a or similar ?

17-09-2009, 09:57:59

VonBlade
It's a ALC889a.

17-09-2009, 10:31:56

Rastalovich
[IMG]http://www.genericsuperpals.com/forum/images/memes/excellent.jpg[/IMG]

17-09-2009, 10:35:14

VonBlade
Aye. It was the first onboard sound I heard that made me genuinely consider not bothering to buy a soundcard. Those AWE32 days are hard to get over.

17-09-2009, 11:19:42

Rastalovich
I'm not sure that it's soley the release of ALC889a or drivers for it that actually worked well. Cos subsequently I've put new drivers on an ABit IP35 Pro and the sound works really well. ALC888 I believe.

(I mean the inputs, thru-puts etc)

18-09-2009, 21:12:14

Mul.
Apologies for not mentioning anything about the audio guys. I can confirm that the 770T UD3P uses the Realtek ALC888 and at least from initial inspection it seems to be a very good onboard audio module. From a software point of view, it appeared to be trouble free as well. The same also applied for the Realtek LAN, which functioned without any issue really.

I do agree with what you're saying about the PWM area from a long term overclock perspective but I can only see this being an issue if there's inadequate airflow in the region. Most reasonable heatpipe coolers like the £15 Arctic Freezer 64 Pro offer some airflow to the naked power regs and cases as cheap as the Antec Three Hundred have plenty of movement in that region of space too. Some form of aftermarket cooling should be considered though if a watercooling loop is implemented for the CPU, but then again if you can afford watercooling, I'd question why you'd opt for this particular motherboard!

19-09-2009, 02:37:09

Rastalovich
Thanks for the come-back Mul.

A Realtek platform for onboard stuff is a great choice these days imo.

Atleast I know it's not just me that thinks 2ce when looking at pwm coverage when contemplating a mobo.
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