Date: Thursday , February 25, 2010
Ever since the Radeon HD 5850 and Radeon HD 5770 were launched, a very large price and performance gap has existed between these two video cards. The Radeon HD 5770 launched at $159, while the Radeon HD 5850 launched at $259. Up until now, there has been nothing from AMD to fill this very large space. Gamers have been demanding a video card to exist between these two price points for several months now. We even called AMD out on this in our latest evaluation, citing a need for a video card in this space. Well, it seems that AMD has answered this call, and is launching the Radeon HD 5830 which wiggles its way right in-between the Radeon HD 5770 and Radeon HD 5850 in price and performance.
First, the price, as the Radeon HD 5830 is a partner board; prices will be set by the add-in-board partners for AMD GPU based video cards. AMD is giving a suggested price of $239, and there are estimates that boards could be found between $200-$250 for the Radeon HD 5830. Until we see partner boards released, we won’t know exact pricing from each vendor. Board partners will set price depending on their bundle, memory specifications and output connections.
The Radeon HD 5830 has more in common with the Radeon HD 5850 than it does the Radeon HD 5770. Its form and size matches that of the Radeon HD 5850. The Radeon HD 5830 also shares the same number of transistors as the Radeon HD 5850 at 2.15 Billion transistors.
What makes it tick are the 1120 stream processors, compared to 1440 on the Radeon HD 5850 and 800 on the Radeon HD 5770; placing it squarely in the middle between the 5770 and 5850. The core clock speed will run at 800MHz, compared to 725MHz on the Radeon HD 5850 and 850MHz on the Radeon HD 5770. The clock speed of 800MHz on the Radeon HD 5830 is an interesting choice; it is faster than the Radeon HD 5850, but of course uses 320 less streaming processors.
What does separate it quite a bit from the Radeon HD 5850 though, is the fact that the Radeon HD 5830 has 56 texture units and 16 ROPs, versus 72 texture units and 32 ROPs on the Radeon HD 5850. The Radeon HD 5770 also has 16 ROPs, but the 5770 has less texture units at 40. Similar to all video cards is the use of the 40nm manufacturing process.
All three video cards also share the use of GDDR5 memory modules. The Radeon HD 5830 is more similar to the Radeon HD 5850 though in terms of memory bandwidth. The Radeon HD 5830 uses a 256-bit memory bus, like the Radeon HD 5850, while the Radeon HD 5770 uses a 128-bit memory bus. The memory frequency will depend on each add-in-board partner model, but our sample is running at 1GHz, matching the same memory bandwidth as the Radeon HD 5850. This puts the memory bandwidth at 128GB/sec vs. 76.8GB/sec on the Radeon HD 5770.
Power utilization is also very efficient, as per the theme for this generation of AMD GPUs. Maximum board power is rated at 175W, while idle power is rated at 25W. Maximum board power is higher than the Radeon HD 5850, but keep in mind that the core clock is running much higher, with the same number of transistors.
Interestingly, the ASIC supports up to 6 displays at 2560x1600 each display. However, this won’t be possible unless add-in-board partners put the appropriate output connections on the video card. From what we hear, AMD is pushing for 3x2560x1600 on this video card, and saving 6 displays for the ATI Radeon HD 5870 Eyfinity6 Edition.
The Radeon HD 5830 reference card we received from AMD is the same size as a Radeon HD 5870 in length at 10.75 inches. Since this is a vendor video card, add-in-board partners can use different printed circuit boards, so this doesn’t mean that all Radeon HD 5830’s will be that long. AMD is using their standard heatsink and fan design on this video card, and again add-in-board partners will use their own custom cooling solutions. You will find that this video card requires two 6-pin PCIe auxiliary power connectors, same as the Radeon HD 5850.
Our sample includes two DVI ports, one HDMI and one DisplayPort. This is the typical configuration you will find on the Radeon HD 5830.
Here are some pictures of several add-in-board video cards based on the Radeon HD 5830 so you can see what some will look like.