Sapphire Radeon HD 5830 Video Card in CrossFire

Our first retail HD 5830 arrives and we take the time to Crossfire the model with our reference one. Not all is rosy, though!

Manufacturer: SapphireTech
12 minutes & 10 seconds read time


Sapphire Radeon HD 5830 Video Card in CrossFire 02

Having already looked at the HD 5830 in reference form, it was time to see what our retail card could do when combined with the reference model we've already looked at. Over the past few months and clearly the past few releases, we've had a look at all the models in Crossfire and have been extremely happy with the performance boost that the setups gave us.

The HD 5830 clearly covers a price range that wasn't present and if you agree or disagree with how the model performs to the price, hopefully today when we add two of the bad boys together everything will change.

Out of the box the Sapphire doesn't look like our reference card. How it really changes, however, is something we'll get into more detail on later. For now let's check out the package and see if Sapphire can wow us with the latest model from ATI.

The Package

Sapphire Radeon HD 5830 Video Card in CrossFire 03

Sapphire Radeon HD 5830 Video Card in CrossFire 04

Sapphire Radeon HD 5830 Video Card in CrossFire 05

Sapphire Radeon HD 5830 Video Card in CrossFire 06

Looking through the bundle, we don't see anything too out of the ordinary until we see a little voucher that lets us download a full version copy of Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2. This is one of the best game bundles we've seen in a long time from any company. Sure, it would've been nice to have the game CD itself included, but this is really the next best thing.

Video Card

Pulling the card out of the box, you can see straight away that Sapphire have opted for a new cooler design instead of the reference one which is what we've seen most companies use at launch. With the card following the HD 5850 PCB, though, it was probably quite easy for Sapphire to use a new cooler on the card straight away.

Sapphire Radeon HD 5830 Video Card in CrossFire 07

We can see that Sapphire have opted for the large fan that sits directly over the GPU and have placed a couple of stickers around that. On the left hand side we've got the brand and model while on the right hand side we've got a picture of COD MW2.

Sapphire Radeon HD 5830 Video Card in CrossFire 08

Sapphire Radeon HD 5830 Video Card in CrossFire 09

Looking at the power connectors, Sapphire have moved the two 6-Pin PCI-E connectors to the back of the card. Of course, the Crossfire connectors are in the same position at the top of the card.

Sapphire Radeon HD 5830 Video Card in CrossFire 10

The I/O department carries no changes with two Dual-Link DVI connectors along with a single HDMI and DisplayPort connector to round off everything.


Having a look at the GPU-Z screenshot, you can see that the card carries with it the standard clocks which is 800MHz on the core and 4000MHz QDR on the 1GB of GDDR5 memory.

Sapphire Radeon HD 5830 Video Card in CrossFire 01

If you have a look at the bottom you can see that we have a two-GPU Crossfire setup enabled.

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 300GB Velicorapter (Supplied by Western Digital)
Operating System: Windows 7
Drivers: ATI Catalyst 10.1

Today we'll be looking at the HD 5830 Crossfire setup against a number of other HD 5800 single cards including the HD 5850, HD 5870, HD 5830 and the HD 5830 when overclocked to 4600MHz QDR on the memory.

In saying that, we did run into some problems with this particular Crossfire setup. We had a constant freeze in our 3DMark Vantage Performance test and Far Cry 2 would also freeze before it would get a single run off. Sometimes it was in the loading screen, while other times half way through the benchmark.

Just to make sure it wasn't an issue with one of our cards, we ran them both individually and they both made it past the tests without a single problem. It seems that the HD 5830 might've been a little more rushed than some of the other cards. Hopefully the issue will repair itself in the next driver release.

Let's get started!

3DMark Vantage

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.0.1
Developer Homepage:
Product Homepage:
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.

Sapphire Radeon HD 5830 Video Card in CrossFire 20

While P wasn't a go for us, the X run was and boy is the performance impressive. You can see at X the setup manages to outperform all the other setups that we're seeing here.

Unigine Heaven Benchmark (DX10 & DX11)

Unigine Heaven Benchmark

Version and / or Patch Used: 1
Developer Homepage:
Product Homepage:

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 DirectX10 results.

Sapphire Radeon HD 5830 Video Card in CrossFire 21

Sapphire Radeon HD 5830 Video Card in CrossFire 22

Looking at the Unigine performance, you can see the Crossfire HD 5830 setup is again extremely strong.

Benchmarks - CINEBENCH R10


Version and / or Patch Used: Release 10
Developer Homepage:
Product Homepage:

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).

Sapphire Radeon HD 5830 Video Card in CrossFire 23

CINEBENCH across the board performs just as you would expect with all the setups giving us similar numbers.

Benchmarks - Resident Evil 5

Resident Evil 5

Version and / or Patch Used: Demo Benchmark
Developer Homepage:
Product Homepage:

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.

Sapphire Radeon HD 5830 Video Card in CrossFire 24

Getting into our game benchmarks, we can see at the lower resolution the HD 5830 CF setup performs very strong against all the other setups. At 2560 x 1600 we can see the HD 5830 setup does pull out the win, but the singular HD 5870 is right on it at the higher resolution.

Benchmarks - World in Conflict

World in Conflict

Version and / or Patch Used:
Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in Test
Developer Homepage:
Product Homepage:

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 is sure to put plenty of stress on even the latest graphics cards and we use the built-in benchmarking for our testing.

Sapphire Radeon HD 5830 Video Card in CrossFire 27

Sapphire Radeon HD 5830 Video Card in CrossFire 28

WIC can be a bit funny when it comes to Crossfire and overclocking. You can see we've got a bit of a whacked 1680 x 1050 score here. When we climb up the resolution table we can see that the HD 5830 CF setup performs strong with it being the only setup getting over a 30 FPS average at 2560 x 1600.

Benchmarks - Batman Arkham Asylum

Batman Arkham Asylum

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.1
Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in Test
Developer Homepage:
Product Homepage:

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, ATI cards will be tested with the technology off due to it not being supported on their cards.

Without PhysX

Sapphire Radeon HD 5830 Video Card in CrossFire 29

Sapphire Radeon HD 5830 Video Card in CrossFire 30

We again see the CF setup perform very well with it pulling out a win at all resolutions.

Benchmarks - Darkest of Days

Darkest of Days

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.4
Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in Test
Developer Homepage:
Product Homepage:

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 take advantage of the NVIDIA PhysX abilities. For that reason we will test ATI cards at the Low preset, NVIDIA based cards though will be tested at Low and High.

PhysX set to Low

Sapphire Radeon HD 5830 Video Card in CrossFire 31

Darkest of Days doesn't really make use of Crossfire so it doesn't come as much of a surprise that the CF HD 5830 setup performs only slightly better than the single HD 5830.

Benchmarks - BattleForge


Version and / or Patch Used: Auto Patched at Load
Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in Test
Developer Homepage:
Product Homepage:

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 seperated 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)

Sapphire Radeon HD 5830 Video Card in CrossFire 32

Performance is very strong with the HD 5830 CF setup and you can see some excellent performance gains when compared to the single card setup. You really do get some great FPS out of this CF setup here.

Benchmarks - High Quality AA and AF

High Quality AA and AF

Our high quality tests let us separate the men from the boys and the ladies from the girls. If the cards weren't struggling before they will start to now.

Resident Evil 5

Sapphire Radeon HD 5830 Video Card in CrossFire 33

Cranking up the detail and putting the hurt on our video cards, you can see the HD 5830 CF setup does fall behind the HD 5870 for what really is the first time. Compared to the single card, though, we again see a very good jump in performance.

World In Conflict

Sapphire Radeon HD 5830 Video Card in CrossFire 36

Sapphire Radeon HD 5830 Video Card in CrossFire 37

We see that the minimum on the HD 5830 CF setup and HD 5870 is the same. In the average department we can see the HD 5830 CF setup does have more power.

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.

Sapphire Radeon HD 5830 Video Card in CrossFire 38

The Sapphire puts out some good numbers when compared to the standard HD 5830 with it coming in a good couple of degrees cooler.

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).

Sapphire Radeon HD 5830 Video Card in CrossFire 39

Looking at the noise levels, we can see the HD 5830 Sapphire is the quietest out of the batch and in particular, much quieter than the reference HD 5830.

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.

Sapphire Radeon HD 5830 Video Card in CrossFire 40

Power draw as you would expect is pretty high with the Crossfire setup.

Final Thoughts

Let's quickly talk about the Sapphire version of the HD 5830. From a performance point of view we know exactly how it's going to perform even though we didn't test it in single card form. Since the model carries with it the same default clocks it's going to perform the same as the reference card and in that regard the HD 5830 performs well for the price.

Looking more into the Sapphire version of the card itself, we can discuss the cooling which is clearly different from the reference version and does a good job. Not only does the card run cooler, but it's also quieter which is exactly what you want from a card with an upgraded cooler.

In all those regards the Sapphire version of the card is a good improvement over the standard model. On the Crossfire side of things the clear elephant in the room is the issues we had with some of our benchmarks and the freezing. With both cards performing perfectly individually, it seemed clear that the problem was driver related.

Having said that, it ran well most the time and more importantly the setup puts out some fantastic numbers when compared to the HD 5870. Looking at the price, the HD 5830 from Sapphire comes in at $239.99 without Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 or $269.99 with it over at Newegg right now. Both cards carry the same cooler and specifications so really, there's no difference when it comes to performance; it's simply up to you if you want the game or not for the extra $25 which is half the price of the retail version of the coupon at Newegg.

Two HD 5830s are going to set you back $479.98. Compared to the HD 5870 this setup is slightly more expensive as the HD 5870 retails for around $399.99 to $439.99. So, the question we need to answer is; whether or not it's worth spending an extra $40 - $55 buying a HD 5830 CF setup over a single HD 5870? - In a word, yes. For slightly more money you're getting slightly more performance at the highest resolution. At around 1920 x 1200 the CF setup puts out some very good numbers compared to the HD 5870. If you have a compatible motherboard, good quality power supply and want to have some fun with Crossfire then we would recommend the setup. Hopefully with some overclocking we would be able to get even more performance out of the model.

An overclocked CF setup is something that we would test when we know our standard CF setup is running as it should be. It seems at the moment we do have a few little issues with the setup which would probably really prevent it being the best option. No doubt we'll have a closer look at the setup when we've got two retail versions in hand.

The HD 5830 Sapphire is a great version of the HD 5830 thanks to the new cooler and the option to get a copy of COD MW2 with the card.

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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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