Overclocking the Sapphire HD 5670 1GB Video Card

We've heard whispers that the HD 5670 has a bit of overclocking headroom. Today we take the time to find out for ourselves.

Manufacturer: Sapphire
10 minutes & 32 seconds read time


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There's been word floating around that the HD 5670 is quite the overclocker with it running into no problems achieving the maximum GPU clock of 850MHz that is offered via the Overdrive functionality inside the Catalyst driver suite.

With our Sapphire HD 5670 sitting around and not doing a whole lot, we thought it was time to throw it back into the testbed and see if we could not only max out the overclock of the card via the Overdrive feature, but also see what kind of performance increase we can achieve from doing so.

Since we've already had a good look at the Sapphire HD 5670, we won't be going into any major detail on the model. The one feature that's worth noting is that the card carries with it GDDR5 memory as opposed to some other variations which will carry with them GDDR3.

In saying that, let's jump forward to page two and see just how we went with the overclocking side of things before getting stuck into the performance.


ATI has really done a good job with the Catalyst drivers and the implementation of the Overdrive function. While it's been around for a while, we're finding only now that people are using it more and more due to confidence levels increasing and the added function of Auto tuning when it comes to finding the maximum overclock.

Out of the box our Sapphire HD 5670 carries with it a default core clock of 775MHz and a memory clock of 1000MHz which translates to 4000MHz QDR thanks to the decision to use GDDR5 memory.

With Overdrive fired up and the Auto tune feature doing its thing, we came up with a clock rate of 840MHz on the core and 4160MHz QDR on the memory. Just shy 10MHz in both the core and memory department.

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We thought that wasn't really good enough; surely an extra 10MHz could be had, and it was. This meant that we ended up with a core clock of 850MHz, a nice 75MHz up on the stock clock and a 4200MHz QDR clock on the memory which is 200MHz QDR up compared to its stock speed.

Test System Setup and 3DMark Vantage

Test System Setup

Processor(s): Intel Core i7 920 @ 3.8GHz (190MHz x 20)
Cooling: Noctua NH-U12P (Supplied by Noctua)
Motherboard(s): GIGABYTE EX58-UD5 (Supplied by GIGABYTE)
Memory: 3 X 2GB Kingston Hyper X PC3-16000 2000MHz DDR CL9 (Supplied by Kingston)
Hard Disk(s): Western Digital 640GB SATA 2.0 HDD (Supplied by Western Digital)
Operating System: Windows 7
Drivers: ATI Catalyst Redwood Beta, Catalyst 9.12

As for the comparison, the main piece of information we'll be looking at is what kind of performance increase we get with the HD 5670 overclocked when compared to its stock clocked counterpart. We've also thrown in the HD 5750 for good measure which is the model up from the HD 5670.

Let's get started!

3DMark Vantage

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.0.1
Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com
Product Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com/products/3dmarkvantage/
Buy It Here

3DMark Vantage is the new industry standard PC gaming performance benchmark from Futuremark, newly designed for Windows Vista and DirectX10. It includes two new graphics tests, two new CPU tests, several new feature tests, and support for the latest hardware.

3DMark Vantage is based on a completely new rendering engine, developed specifically to take full advantage of DirectX10, the new graphics API from Microsoft.

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While we can see a bump in performance from the card when overclocked, it does still sit a fair bit behind the HD 5750.

Unigine Heaven Benchmark (DX10 & DX11)

Unigine Heaven Benchmark

Version and / or Patch Used: 1
Developer Homepage: http://www.unigine.com
Product Homepage: http://unigine.com/products/unigine

New benchmark grants the power to unleash the DirectX 11 potential in the gift wrapping of impressively towering graphics capabilities. It reveals the enchanting magic of floating islands with a tiny village hidden in the cloudy skies. With the interactive mode emerging experience of exploring the intricate world is ensured within reach. Through its advanced renderer, Unigine is one of the first to set precedence in showcasing the art assets with tessellation, bringing compelling visual finesse, utilizing the technology to the full extend and exhibiting the possibilities of enriching 3D gaming.

Note: If a card doesn't support DirectX 11 the benchmark will be left out. If it does it will be included along with the DirectX 10 results.

Direct X 10

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Direct X 11

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Again the extra MHz on offer from the HD 5670 when overclocked yields us a performance boost, but we again see that we're a good chunk behind the HD 5750.

Benchmarks - CINEBENCH R10


Version and / or Patch Used: Release 10
Developer Homepage: http://www.maxon.net/
Product Homepage: http://www.maxon.net

CINEBENCH is a real-world test suite that assesses your computer's performace capabilities. MAXON CINEBENCH is based on MAXON's award-winning animation software, CINEMA 4D, which is used extensively by studios and production houses worldwide for 3D content creation. MAXON software has been used in blockbuster movies such as Spider-Man, Star Wars, The Chronicles of Narnia and many more.

MAXON CINEBENCH runs several tests on your computer to measure the performance of the main processor and the graphics card under real world circumstances. The benchmark application makes use of up to 16 CPUs or CPU cores and is available for Windows (32-bit and 64-Bit) and Macintosh (PPC and Intel-based).

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CINEBENCH makes no use of the overclock on offer which means we see that all three setups perform very close to each other, as we would expect.

Benchmarks - Resident Evil 5

Resident Evil 5

Version and / or Patch Used: Demo Benchmark
Developer Homepage: http://www.capcom.com
Product Homepage: http://www.residentevil.com

Resident Evil 5 is a survival horror video game developed and published by Capcom. The game is the seventh installment in the Resident Evil survival horror series, and was released on September 18. Resident Evil 5 revolves around Chris Redfield and Sheva Alomar as they investigate a terrorist threat in Kijuju, a fictional town in Africa.

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RE5 gets a bump and here we see that we're able to move from that under 60 FPS average to just over it which is good news. Since we're not dealing with a minimum we want to see an average of 60 FPS or greater; with the bump in clock speeds we're able to see that.

Benchmarks - Far Cry 2

Far Cry 2

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.03
Timedemo or Level Used: Ranch Long
Developer Homepage: http://www.ubi.com
Product Homepage: http://www.farcry2.com
Buy It Here

The Dunia Engine was built specifically for Far Cry 2 by the award-winning Ubisoft Montreal development team. It delivers the most realistic destructible environments, amazing special effects such as dynamic fire propagation and storm effects, real-time night-and-day cycle, dynamic music system, non-scripted enemy A.I. and so much more.

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While we again see a bump in performance, we're still below that 30 FPS minimum we want to see. At least we're moving in the right direction, but for the most part the extra MHz on offer isn't going to be a game changer here.

Benchmarks - World in Conflict

World in Conflict

Version and / or Patch Used:
Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in Test
Developer Homepage: http://www.massive.se
Product Homepage: http://www.worldinconflict.com

World in Conflict is a real-time strategy video game by Massive Entertainment and to be published by Sierra Entertainment for Windows (DX9 and DX10).

The game is set in 1989 where economic troubles cripple the Soviet Union and threaten to dissolve it. However, the title pursues a "what if" scenario where, in this case, the Soviet Union does not collapse and instead pursues a course of war to remain in power. It is an intensive new game that is sure to put plenty of stress on even the latest graphics cards. We use the built-in benchmarking for our testing.

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The HD 5750 doesn't manage to break a 30 FPS minimum here, so it comes as no surprise that the HD 5670 when overclocked wasn't able to do it either. We do see a nice little bump with a 2 FPS minimum increase, translating into just under 10%.

Benchmarks - Batman Arkham Asylum

Batman Arkham Asylum

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.1
Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in Test
Developer Homepage: http://www.rocksteadyltd.com
Product Homepage: http://www.batmanarkhamasylum.com

Batman: Arkham Asylum exposes players to a unique, dark and atmospheric adventure that takes them to the depths of Arkham Asylum - Gotham's psychiatric hospital for the criminally insane. Gamers will move in the shadows, instigate fear amongst their enemies and confront The Joker and Gotham City's most notorious villains who have taken over the asylum.

Using a wide range of Batman's gadgets and abilities, players will become the invisible predator and attempt to foil The Joker's demented scheme.
Batman: Arkham Asylum features an original story penned exclusively for the game by famous Batman author and five-time Emmy award winner Paul Dini, whose credits include Lost season one and Batman: The Animated Series.

Note: With support for PhysX NVIDIA based cards will be tested with the technology on and off, while ATI cards will be tested with the technology off due to it not being supported on their cards.

Without PhysX

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At the lower resolution Batman doesn't make any use of the extra MHz on offer; the minimum actually slightly dips. At the higher one, though, we do see a bump and considering we're over 30 FPS in the minimum department, it is helpful.

Benchmarks - Darkest of Days

Darkest of Days

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.4
Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in Test
Developer Homepage: http://www.phantomefx.com
Product Homepage: http://www.darkestofdays.com

Darkest of Days takes the player through time into historic battles in an effort to save key individuals from certain death. The battles range from Custer's Last Stand at the Battle of the Little Bighorn in 1876 to fighting in Pompeii as ash and fire rain down from an erupting Mt. Vesuvius in 79 AD. Other locations include the battles of Antietam and Tannenberg, and a German World War II P.O.W. camp. There are different missions in every time period and the game takes about 4 hours to complete.

The game features over twenty weapons, both from the original time period as well as those brought back from the future. In addition, there are artillery weapons from different time periods to assist in battle.

Note: With the PhysX set to Medium or High, Darkest of Days takes advantage of the NVIDIA PhysX abilities. For that reason we will test ATI cards at the Low preset, while NVIDIA based cards will be tested at Low and High.

PhysX set to Low

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Like RE5, without a minimum present we want to see an average of around 60 FPS. At 1680 x 1050 you can see we're still a little shy of it, but we're moving in the right direction.

Benchmarks - BattleForge


Version and / or Patch Used: Auto Patched at Load
Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in Test
Developer Homepage: http://www.ea.com
Product Homepage: http://www.battleforge.com

The Gods have disappeared and the old sun has died, letting a vile twilight engulf the world of Nyn. In exchange for all treasures the mortals possessed, the evil giants agreed to forge a new sun and hurl it into the sky.

But the deal was betrayed, the treasure stolen and now the mortals flee the wrath of the giants. Under the light of a new sun the mortals stumble into a world changed and twisted by an age of twilight. The long journey home has become a conquest of survival.

Note: Supporting DirectX 11, we have separated the graphs for NVIDIA and ATI cards. While the numbers between the two brands can be compared, you have to make note that ATI based HD 5000 series cards are running DirectX 11.

DirectX 11 (ATI HD 5000 Series Only)

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BattleForge numbers aren't that great for any card and here's no different. Mind you, we do see that bump in performance thanks to the extra MHz on offer from the core and memory.

Temperature and Sound Tests

Temperature Tests

With the TES 1326 Infrared Thermometer literally in hand we found ourselves getting real-world temperatures from the products we test at load (3D clock speeds).

There are two places we pull temperature from - the back of the card directly behind the core and if the card is dual slot and has an exhaust point we also pull a temperate from there, as seen in the picture.

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While we might be pushing extra MHz out of the core, the overall temperature of it hasn't changed much at all.

Sound Tests

Pulling out the TES 1350A Sound Level Meter we find ourselves quickly yelling into the top of it to see how loud we can be.

After five minutes of that we get a bit more serious and place the device two CM away from the fan on the card to find the maximum noise level of the card when idle (2D mode) and in load (3D mode).

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Looking at the sound tests, there's also no change which is good news.

Power Consumption Tests

Using our new PROVA Power Analyzer WM-01 or "Power Thingy" as it has become quickly known as to our readers, we are now able to find out what kind of power is being used by our test system and the associated graphics cards installed. Keep in mind; it tests the complete system (minus LCD monitor, which is plugged directly into AC wall socket).

There are a few important notes to remember though; while our maximum power is taken in 3DMark06 at the same exact point, we have seen in particular tests the power being drawn as much as 10% more. We test at the exact same stage every time; therefore tests should be very consistent and accurate.

The other thing to remember is that our test system is bare minimum - only a 7,200RPM SATA-II single hard drive is used without CD ROM or many cooling fans.

So while the system might draw 400 watts in our test system, placing it into your own PC with a number of other items, the draw is going to be higher.

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While the idle hasn't moved, we can see a small bump in the load power usage, but it's nothing that's going to require a new power supply, just something worth noting none the less.

Final Thoughts

You're not going to get a game changing experience with the extra clocks on offer and when you look through the graphs you see that the performance increase is only a couple of FPS here and there, which doesn't sound all that impressive.

When you start to break down the numbers and figure out the performance increase in a % form, you realize that the numbers aren't too bad at all with increases being around 10%. You're hardly going to complain about an extra 10% performance at the cost of nothing.

While I heard someone say that the overclock they achieved through Overdrive bought performance up to the higher end HD 5750, you can clearly see today that it just isn't true. The drop in stream processors impact overall performance quite heavily and you're just not going to be able to achieve enough MHz in the core and memory department to combat that and bring performance up.

While you might think that an extra 10% performance isn't a whole lot, when it comes to these mid-range cards it can be the difference between moving from medium to high or turning up another detail and making the game continue to run smooth.

The HD 5670 already represents good value, although you can see today that the value is slightly better again. If the HD 5670 is in your budget, it's worth knowing that you're not going to be limited to old games, but more so just some lower detail.

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Shawn takes care of all of our video card reviews. From 2009, Shawn is also taking care of our memory reviews, and from May 2011, Shawn also takes care of our CPU, chipset and motherboard reviews. As of December 2011, Shawn is based out of Taipei, Taiwan.

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