We've always known that the mid range market is the most important for companies as it's what most people buy. It's all well and good offering fast $500+ video cards but for most it's just a dream. It's not even just a matter of affording them; there's still a large amount of people who simply can't justify the cost even if they can afford it.
The $200 market is the most important and when we went through NewEgg.com we found two cards that came in at $209.99. The first is the Sapphire HD 5830 1GB. This series hasn't done great for ATI since the HD 5770 is a fair bit cheaper and not all that much slower. For others, wanting to get in on the HD 5800 series is a must and the price tag associated is perfect.
The Sapphire card offers us better cooling and comes in at 800MHz on the core and 4000MHz QDR on its 1GB of GDDR5 memory running on a 256-bit bus. We didn't have the ability to adjust the voltage on the HD 5830 and we ended up with a core clock of 875MHz and memory clock of 4800MHz QDR.
The second card carrying the same $209.99 price tag is the MSI GTX 460 768MB Cyclone. We have already been impressed with this model, and after enjoying the overclocking benefits of other companies 1GB version we expected a lot from the model.
The 768MB version of the GTX 460 doesn't look all that great against the HD 5830; for starters it uses a thinner 192-bit memory bus and it's clocks are 728MHz on the core and 3600MHz QDR on the 768MB of GDDR5. Being an NVIDIA card we've also got a Shader clock that comes in at 1455MHz. Clocks and memory bus only tell half the story, though.
Overclocking on the MSI GTX 460 768MB Cyclone was just as good as we had hoped; bumping the voltage from 1.000v to 1.087v we managed to achieve a core clock of 865MHz which bumped the Shader clock to 1730MHz. As for the memory, that went to a nice rounded 4000MHz QDR.
Normally when we overclock cards we crank the fans up to 100%, as this lets us achieve a higher overclock then normal when the fans are set to AUTO. Due to the nature of the article and the fact we understand that people don't want to run their cards at 100% we chose to leave the fans at AUTO.