Sapphire HD5830 Xtreme & HD5850 Xtreme Review

gotdamojo06 - 2011-04-08 17:50:17 in Video Cards
Category: Video Cards
Reviewed by: gotdamojo06   
Reviewed on: April 11, 2011
Price: HD5850 Xtreme - $149.99 
Price: HD5830 Xtreme - $129.99

Introduction:

Are you looking to refresh the graphics power of your gaming setup? Maybe you have been putting off a graphics card upgrade for quite some time now, waiting for some of the next generation technologies to come down in price. Whatever your reason for looking into a new graphics card for your system; Sapphire has just launched their latest pair of cards, the Sapphire HD5830 and HD5850 Xtreme editions. These cards are going to give you full DirectX 11.0 and ShaderModel 5.0 support while giving you the ability to upgrade at a future time to a CrossFireX setup. Maybe you are looking for the perfect card to grab so you can get your feet wet with an Eyefinity setup as both of these cards are going to give you the ability to hook up three monitors on each card without the addition of a secondary graphics card installed in your system. Without any further delay, it is time to take a look at these two cards and see exactly how well they are going to compare to some of the other cards that are in their weight class, I am excited to see how well they will perform.

Closer Look:

Taking a look at the packaging for both the Sapphire HD5830 Xtreme and the Sapphire HD5850, you are going to notice that they have both close similarities as well as a wide range of differences. Both of the packages feature the same image of a warrior woman on the front; this seems to be the new image that Sapphire is placing on their packages. When I look at this woman, she gives me the impression that the card is going to be able to give you some good looking graphics while still being ready to battle it out with the competitor's cards. Sapphire's HD5830 Xtreme is the first package that I want to look at, this package has the Sapphire Logo printed in the top left hand corner with the 1GB of GDDR5 memory badge printed in the top right hand corner. There is the model name Radeon HD5830 Xtreme located in the center of the front of the package with a quick list of the main features located at the bottom of the front. These main features include ATI Eyefinity Multi-Display, onboard HDMI and DisplayPort, CrossFireX Ready, 40nm process low power badges as well as the Microsoft DirectX 11, PCI Express 2.1, and Superfast memory text printed at the bottom. When you take a look at the back of the package, you are going to get a more detailed list of features with descriptions, such as Microsoft DirectX 11, ATI Eyefinty, ATI CrossFIreX, Advanced Memory, HDMI and Audio support, as well as ATI Stream technology. Sapphire's HD5850 packaging is very similar to the HD5830 package, however it is much smaller in size. You are still going to see the Sapphire logo in the top left hand corner as well as the 1GB of GDDR5 memory badge in the upper right hand corner. The ATI Eyefinity Multi-Display, Onboard HDMI and DisplayPort, CrossFireX Ready, and 2+ TeraFLOPS Processing Power badges located at the bottom of the package. On the reverse of the package you will also still find a larger and more detailed list of more features of the card; such as Microsoft DirectX 11, ATI Eyefinity Multi-Display, ATI CrossFireX, Advanced Memory, HDMI and Audio Support, More than 2 teraFLOPS, and ATI Stream technology.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When you open up the packaging for the Sapphire HD5830 graphics card, you are going to find a large cardboard box that has the HD5830 in an anti-static bag that is protected with bubble wrap keeping the card in place and safe from any sort of damages that may occur during the shipping process. Sapphire decided to go with a more compact package for the HD5850, however you are still going to get a cardboard box with a piece of protective foam keeping the card from moving around inside the package while it is being shipped and the card is once again wrapped up in a protective anti-static bag that also features bubble wrapping protection. Inside each of the packages, you will find identical parts. Both packages have a drivers CD, an installation manual, an invitation to the Sapphire Select Club, two 4 pin molex to 6 pin PCI-E power adapters and a DVI to analog monitor adapter.

 

 

 

Now that we have both of the packages examined, it is time to take a closer look at both the Sapphire HD5830 Xtreme and the Sapphire HD5850 Xtreme and see what each of the cards look like.

Closer Look:

Once you get the Sapphire HD5830 Xtreme out of its packaging, you are going to notice that there is a large full-coverage cooler on it. Directly in the center of the cooler is a large fan that is going to suck in fresh air from inside of your chassis and blow it directly down on the heat sink underneath. There is a greenish colored sticker at the back end of the card's cooler that proudly displays not only the AMD Radeon Graphics badge but the Radeon HD5830 model name. There are chrome accents all along the edges of the cooler to make it a little bit nicer to look at. When you flip the card over, you are going to see the bright blue PCB that the card is built on. There are four compression screws that are holding the cooler down tight to the card to give the best contact to the GPU as possible.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Looking at the rear I/O shield of the Sapphire HD5830 Xtreme, you are going to see that the card has a total of three different display adapters built in. You have a single DVI, a single HDMI, and a single DisplayPort adapter. Sitting right above the display adapters you are going to find a large slit in the shield that is going to allow the hot air from inside of the cooler to escape your chassis to help cool down the ambient air temperature inside. Hopefully, resulting in lower operating temperatures. On the oposite end of the card, you are going to see that there is an additional exhaust area to further help cool down the card, however this area exhausts into your chassis. At the top of the card towards the front of the card is where you are going to find a single CrossFireX bridge connector so you can connect a second HD5830 Xtreme card for increased performance. Still on the top of the card, you are going to find two 6 pin PCI-E power adapters to add additional power to the graphics card.

 

 

 

Once you get the cooling solution taken off of the Sapphire HD5830 Xtreme, you are going to see a very pretty naked graphics card. There are a total eight 128MB ram chips installed around the GPU core. There is a slim RAM sink installed on top of the voltage regulators towards the front of the graphics card to help keep them cool during operation, allowing for a more stable vCore. The cooler itself has a total of three copper heatpipes that travel from the copper base of the heat sink into the large fin array to help dissipate the heat generated by the graphics card. Two of the heat pipes travel towards the rear of the card while one goes towards the front.

 

 

Sapphire has the ATI Cypress GPU installed on the HD5830 Xtreme graphics card and is clocked in at 800MHz. There are also a total of 2154 Million transistors inside of the GPU core, a total of 16 ROPs, all on a 334mm2 die built on the 40nm technology. Sapphire decided to install a total of 1024MB of GDDR5 memory on the HD5830 Xtreme, these memory modules are manufactured by Elpida with the model number of W1032BABG. When you do a simple search on Elpida's website, you are able to find out that they are rated to run at 1.5V, give you a refresh cycle of 8K/32ms, and come lead and halogen free.

 

Now that we know the layout of the Sapphire HD5830 Xtreme graphics card, we should take a close look at Sapphire's HD5850 Xtreme card.

Closer Look:

The Sapphire HD5850 Xtreme edition graphics card is completely different from the Sapphire HD5830 Xtreme card, not only by the name, specifications and features but also simply by looks. The cooling solution Sapphire put on the HD5850 is still a full coverage air cooler, but that is where the similarities end. The cooler on the HD5850 Xtreme has the fan positioned further back towards the end of the card, there is still a little bit of chrome accents on the cooler to make it a little more pleasing on the eyes, however the stickers are not the same greenish color, they are a grayish purple color. The Radeon HD5850 name is printed on a sticker towards the front of the card while the AMD Radeon Graphics badge is proudly printed at the end of the card. Sapphire has the same colored PCB on the HD5850. Sapphire also has the same four compression screw mounting system installed on the HD5850 as they put on the HD5830 Xtreme.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Looking at the front I/O shield, you are going to be getting three display adapters installed on the card. These three adapters are the DVI, HDMI, and DisplaPort adapters. Having all three of these connectors on your card by default is going to make it more versatile, allowing you to keep the same monitor that you currently have. Above the display adapters on the shield, there is a ventilation cutout where the hot air from inside the cooler is going to be able to escape. Hot air is also going to be able to escape through the back end of the graphics card and go directly into your chassis. At the top front corner of the HD5850 Xtreme, Sapphire has placed a single CrossFireX connector allowing you to connect your card with a second of its kind to increase your graphics performance. There are two 6 pin PCI-E power adapters on the HD5850, like the HD5830, however these ones are placed on the back end, not on the top of the card.

 

 

 

Just like the Sapphire HD5830 Xtreme, the HD5850 Xtreme has a very similar cooler installed on it as well as just about the exact same layout on the PCB. Around the GPU you are going to find eight memory modules that are 128MB a piece coming in for a total of 1024MB of GDDR5 memory. Sapphire's choice for a cooler on the HD5850 Xtreme is a little bit odd. While it does still have a copper base and copper heat pipes, there are only two heat pipes while the HD5830's cooler has a total of three. You can see that the heat pipes leave the base of the cooler and travel into the fin array to dissipate the heat. One going towards the front while the other goes towards the rear of the card.

 

 

Once you get the card naked, you are going to see that there is a Cypress GPU installed on the Sapphire HD5850 Xtreme graphics card. This is going to be coming in at stock clocks of 725MHz while being built on 40nm technology with a total of 2154 Million transistors all on a 334mm2 die with a total of 32 ROPs. The GDDR5 memory installed on the HD5850 Xtreme is the Elpida W1032BABG memory chips and these chips are rated to operate at 1.5V, have 8K/32ms refresh cycles and be lead and halogen free.

 

Since we have taken a good hard look at both of Sapphire's new cards, we should compare the specifications and features of the cards.

Specifications:

Card Name
HD5830 Xtreme
HD5850 Xtreme
GPU Core
Cypress
Cypress
GPU Clock
800MHz
725MHz
Memory Clock
1000MHz
1000MHz
Technology
40nm
40nm
Die Size
334mm2
334mm2
Transistor Count
2154 Million
2154 Million
ROPs
16
32
DirectX Support
11.0
11.0
Shader Model Support
5.0
5.0
Shaders
1120 Unified
1440 Unified
Pixel Fillrate
12.8 GPixel/s
23.2 GPixel/s
Texture Fillrate
44.8 GTexel/s
52.2 GTexel/s
Memory Type
GDDR5
GDDR5
Bus Width
256 Bit
256 Bit
Memory Size
1024 MB
1024 MB
Bandwidth
128.0 GB/s
128.0 GB/s

 

Features:

HD5830 Xtreme

 

HD5850 Xtreme

System Requirements:

HD5830 Xtreme

 

HD5850 Xtreme

Testing:

Testing of the Sapphire HD5830 Xtreme and Sapphire HD5850 Xtreme will consist of running it and comparison cards through the OverclockersClub.com suite of games and synthetic benchmarks. This will test the performance against many popular competitors. Comparisons will be made to cards of equal and greater capabilities to show where they fall on the performance ladder. The games used are some of today's newest and most popular titles to give you an idea of how the cards perform relative to each other.

The system specifications will remain the same throughout the testing. No adjustment will be made to the respective control panels during the testing other than applying the AA and AF settings manually in the control panel. I will test the cards at stock speeds, then overclocked in order to see the effects of any increases in clock speed. The cards are placed in order from highest to lowest performing in the graphs to show where the cards fall by comparison. In addition to the stock testing, I will include performance testing in both Surround (NVIDIA) and Eyefinity (AMD) with the appropriate cards. For this review, a few new games have replaced some of the aging titles.

 

 

Comparison Video Cards:

 

Overclocking:

Overclocking any graphics card that is installed in your system is pretty straight forward. Especially when you are locked out from being able to adjust any of the voltages that go to the card. The overclocking software that I used was the Sapphire TRIXX, which is a very simple overclocking utility that also gives you the ability to view simple data about your graphics card such as temperatures, driver version and clock speeds. The HD5830 Xtreme maxed out at 964MHz on the core, which is an increase of 21% while the memory was only able to go up to 1198MHz or about 20% over stock clock speeds. The Sapphire HD5850 Xtreme was able to make it all the way up to 1GHz on the core or 19% over stock and the memory was able to get all the way up to 1230MHz which is about 17% higher than the standard clock speeds.

 

 

Maximum Clock Speeds:

Testing for the maximum clock speed consists of looping Crysis Warhead and Unigine 2.5 for 30 minutes each to see where the clock speeds will fail when pushed. If the clock speed adjustment fails, then the clock speeds and tests are rerun until they pass the full one hour of testing.

   

 

  1. Aliens vs. Predator
  2. Metro 2033
  3. Crysis Warhead
  4. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
  5. Just Cause 2
  6. Unigine Heaven Benchmark 2.1
  7. Batman: Arkham Asylum
  8. Battlefield: Bad Company 2
  9. 3DMark 11 Professional
  10. 3DMark Vantage
  1. Temperature

Aliens vs. Predator, developed by Rebellion Developments, is a science fiction first-person shooter and is a remake of its 1999 game. The game is based off the two popular sci fi franchises. In this game, you have the option of playing through the single player campaigns as one of three species, the Alien, the Predator, and the Human Colonial Marine. The Game uses Rebellion's Asura game engine that supports Dynamic Lighting, Shader Model 3.0, Soft Particle systems, and Physics. To test this game I will be using the Aliens vs. Predator benchmark tool with the settings listed below. All DirectX 11 features are enabled.

 

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

   

   

Higher = Better

 

The Sapphire HD5850 Xtreme was sitting again in the middle of the pack giving you average performance whil the Sapphire HD5830 Xtreme was just barely below it, by only 2 FPS in the 2560x1600 Stock testing.

Testing:

Part first-person shooter, part survival horror, Metro 2033 is based on the novel of the same name, written by Russian author Dmitry Glukhovsky. You play as Artyom in a post-apocalyptic Moscow, where you'll spend most of your time traversing the metro system, with occasional trips to the surface. Despite the dark atmosphere and bleak future for mankind, the visuals are anything but bleak. Powered by the 4A Engine, with support for DirectX 11, NVIDIA PhysX and NVIDIA 3D Vision, the tunnels are extremely varied — in your travels, you'll come across human outposts, bandit settlements, and even half-eaten corpses. Ensuring you feel all the tension, there is no map and no health meter. Get lost without enough gas mask filters and adrenaline shots and you may soon wind up as one of those half-eaten corpses — chewed up by some horrifying manner of irradiated beast that hides in the shadows just waiting for some hapless soul to wander by.

 

Settings:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

   

   

Higher = Better

 

Both the Sapphire HD5850 Xtreme and the HD5830 Xtreme were towards the end of the pack of the testing in the Metro 2033 benchmark, however they were very close to the HD6850.

Testing:

Crysis Warhead is a standalone expansion pack situated in time with the story line of the original Crysis. As Sergeant "Psycho" Sykes, you have a secret mission to accomplish on the far side of the island. Along the way there are EMP blasts and aliens to contend with, as you hunt down the KPA chief. This game uses an enhanced version of the CryEngine 2.

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

   

   

Higher = Better

Sapphire's HD5850 Xtreme was able to jump up towards the middle of the pack in just about all of the resolutions and being only 1 FPS away from the number one spot in the 2560 x1600 stock testing. The HD5830 Xtreme, on the other hand, was towards the end of the pack in all of the resolutions only beating out the HD6790.

Testing:

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 is an iteration of the venerable first person shooter series, Call of Duty. Despite its long, successful pedigree, the game is not without substantial criticism and controversy, especially on the PC. Aside from the extremely short campaign and lack of innovation, the PC version's reception was also marred by its lack of support for user-run dedicated servers, which means no user-created maps, no mods, and no customized game modes. You're also limited to 18-player matches instead of the 64-player matches that were possible in Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. Despite all this, the game has been well received and the in-house IW 4.0 engine renders the maps in gorgeous detail, making it a perfect candidate for OCC benchmarking. You start off the single player missions playing as Private Allen and jump right into a serious firefight. This is the point where testing will begin. Testing will be done using actual game play with FPS measured by Fraps.

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

   

   

Higher = Better

 

At stock speeds, the HD5850 Xtreme was towards the end of the pack, however once it was overclocked, it was able to jump up towards the front of the pack, being only 5 FPS behind the leader in the 2560 x 1600 test.

Testing:

Just Cause 2 is a third-person shooter that takes place on the fictional island of Panau in Southeast Asia. In this sequel to 2006's Just Cause, you return as Agent Rico Rodriguez to overthrow an evil dictator and confront your former boss. When you don't feel like following the main story line, you're free to roam the island, pulling off crazy stunts and causing massive destruction in your wake, all beautifully rendered by the Avalanche Engine 2.0. In the end, that's what the game basically boils down to — crazy stunts and blowing things up. In fact, blowing things up and wreaking havoc is actually necessary to unlock new missions and items.

 

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Higher = Better

 

While at stock speeds, the HD5850 Xtreme was able to either take over the first place spot or tie for it, the HD5830 Xtreme was towards the end of the pack, but at the 1680 x 1050 stock test, it was right in the middle.

Testing:

Unigine Heaven Benchmark 2.1 is a DirectX 11 GPU benchmark based on the Unigine engine. What sets the Heaven Benchmark apart is the addition of hardware tessellation, available in three modes — Moderate, Normal and Extreme. Although tessellation requires a video card with DirectX 11 support and Windows Vista/7, the Heaven Benchmark also supports DirectX 9, DirectX 10 and OpenGL. Visually, it features beautiful floating islands that contain a tiny village and extremely detailed architecture.

 

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

   

   

Higher = Better

 

The HD5850 Xtreme was able to make it dead in the center of the competition while the HD5830 Xtreme was unable to beat out a single card in the Unigine 2.1 benchmark.

Testing:

Battlefield: Bad Company 2 is a first-person shooter developed by EA Digital Illusions CE (DICE) and published by Electronic Arts for Windows, PS3 and XBox. This game is part of the Battlefield franchise and uses the Frostbite 1.5 Engine, allowing for destructible environments. You can play the single player campaign or multiplayer with five different game modes. Released in March 2010, it has so far sold in excess of six million copies.

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Higher = Better

 

During the stock round of testing, the HD5850 Xtreme was around the middle of the heap with the HD5830 Xtreme at the end. While the cards were overclocked, the HD5850 Xtreme was in second place with the exception of the 2560 x 1600 test.
 

Testing:

3DMark 11 is the next installment for Futuremark in the 3DMark series with Vantage as its predecessor. The name implies that this benchmark is for Microsoft DirectX 11 and with an unintended coincidence, the name matches the upcoming date in number (which was the naming scheme to some prior versions of 3DMark nonetheless). 3DMark 11 is designed solely for DirectX 11 so Windows Vista or 7 are required along with a DirectX 11 graphics card in order to run this test. The Basic Edition has unlimited free tests on performance mode whereas Vantage only allowed for a single test run. The advanced edition costs $19.95 and unlocks nearly all of the features of the benchmark and the professional edition runs $995.00 and is mainly suited for corporate use. The new benchmark contains six tests, four of which are aimed only at graphical testing, one to test for physics handling and one to combine graphics and physics testing together. The open source Bullet Physics library is used for physics simulations and although not as mainstream as Havok or PhysX, it still seems to be a popular choice.

With the new benchmark comes two new demos that can be watched, both based on the tests but unlike the tests, these contain basic audio. The first demo is titled "Deep Sea" and have a few vessels exploring what looks to be a sunken U-Boat. The second demo is titled "High Temple" and is similar to South American tribal ruins with statues and the occasional vehicle around. The demos are simple in that they have no story, they are really just a demonstration of what the testing will be like. The vehicles have the logos of the sponsors MSI and Antec on their sides with the sponsorships helping to make the basic edition free. The four graphics tests are slight variants of the demos. I will use the three benchmark test preset levels to test the performance of each card. The presets are used as they are comparable to what can be run with the free version so that results can be compared across more than just a custom set of test parameters.

 

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

   

   

Higher = Better

 

During the 3DMark 11 testing at both stock and overclocked speeds, the HD5850 Xtreme was right in the middle of the pack while the HD5830 Xtreme was towards the end.

Testing:

Featuring all-new game tests, this benchmark is for use with Vista-based systems. "There are two all-new CPU tests that have been designed around a new 'Physics and Artificial Intelligence-related computation.' CPU test two offers support for physics related hardware." There are four preset levels that correspond to specific resolutions. "Entry" is 1024 x 768 progressing to "Extreme" at 1920 x 1200. Of course, each preset can be modified to arrange any number of user designed testing. For our testing, I will use the four presets at all default settings.

 

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Higher = Better

 

You are once again able to see the Sapphire HD5850 Xtreme right in the middle of the pack during the 3DMark Vantage testing at both stock and overclocked speeds. The Sapphire HD5830 Xtreme card was in third from last in every single resolution at both stock and overclocked speeds.

Testing:

Temperature testing will be accomplished by loading the video card to 100% using Crysis Warhead with MSI's Afterburner overclocking utility for temperature monitoring. I will be using a resolution of 1920x1200 using 8xAA. I will use a 10-run sequence to run the test, ensuring that the maximum thermal threshold is reached. The fan speed will be left in the control of the driver package and video card's BIOS for the stock load test, with the fan moved to 100% to see the best possible cooling scenario for the overclocked load test. The idle test will be a 20-minute cool down with the fan speeds left on automatic in the stock speed testing and bumped up to 100% when running the overclocked idle and load testing..

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

  

Lower = Better

 

At stock settings, both the HD5830 Xtreme and HD5850 Xtreme were two of the coolest cards. Once you cranked up the clock speeds, the stock cooling solution was not intended for the extra heat that is generated.

Testing:

Power consumption of the system will be measured in both idle states and loaded states and will take into account the peak voltage of the system with each video card installed. I will use MSI Kombuster to load the GPU for a 15 minute test and use the peak load of the system as my result for the maximum load. The idle results will be measured after 15 minutes of inactivity on the system. For load testing the GTX 500 series, I will once again use Crysis Warhead run at 2560 x 1600 using the Gamer setting with 8xAA looping the Avalanche benchmark scenario.

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

   

Lower = Better

 

When it comes down to power consumption, there was only one card that used less power in all of the tests than either one of the Sapphire cards, it was the HD6790.

Conclusion:

There is quite a bit to say about the two new Sapphire cards coming out, the Sapphire HD5830 Xtreme and the Sapphire HD5850 Xtreme. The first aspect of the HD5800 Xtreme series that I wanted to point out is the fact that at the stock speeds, the temperatures that the cards were able to get were the lowest when compared to all of the other graphics cards that they were compared to. This does give you a great starting point for your next system build if you are trying to keep your system as cool as possible. However, the cooling solution that Sapphire put on the card was not able to keep these temperatures at that point once I began overclocking. While the coolers were able to keep the temperatures in a safe region during the overclocking, they were a bit higher than I was expecting to see with the stock temperature results that I saw. The power consumption that both of the graphics cards were able to get were one of the lowest three cards tested, which is always something nice to see when you are getting ready to plan your next build, and keeping in mind that the less power you pull from the wall, the lower your power bills should be.

Sapphire did get a wide variety of different display adapters installed on either card. You have DVI, HDMI, as well as DisplayPort, which is going to allow you to install just about any monitor that you may have laying around. Even an older analog display using the included dongle to convert from a digital to analog signal. This brings up my next point. With all of these different display adapters available, you are able to get an easy way into an Eyefinity setup. Which, with the way gaming is going now-a-days, some sort of multi-display setup may just be the next best thing to have. Overclocking of the cards was pretty decent. Both of the cards were able to increase both the GPU Core and Memory clocks by about 20% over the stock speeds, which is no small feat. The pricing on both of the cards is quite competitive. However, with the price only being $20 apart from each other, I would suggest the Sapphire HD5850 Xtreme over the Sapphire HD5830 Xtreme. You are going to see better results. About a 20% higher score in 3DMark 11 at the 2560 x 1600 resolution at stock speeds.

Going back to the first question that I asked at the beginning of the review. Are you looking for a new graphics card for your system? If the answer to this question is yes, and if you are looking to keep within a certain budget, lets say under $150. Then for the price/performance ratio that I was able to see with the Sapphire HD5850 Xtreme, I would suggest you take a closer look at this card and it may just become a reasonable candidate for your next system build.

 

 

Pros:

 

Cons: