GIGABYTE Radeon HD 5870 1GB Super Overclock Video Card

Another card makes it to the SOC series from GIGABYTE. This time it's the much loved HD 5870. Let's check it out!
@ShawnBakerTW
Published Wed, May 12 2010 9:06 AM CDT   |   Updated Fri, Sep 18 2020 10:50 PM CDT
Rating: 93%Manufacturer: GIGABYTE

Introduction




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Honestly, if you asked me a few years ago "What brand Video Card should I look at if I want something different from the norm?", the answer would've been so different to what it is today.

GIGABYTE while always being a strong company in the video card market, hadn't offered us anything that really stood out from the pack when it came to performance. Sure, they offered a good price and good warranty, but as a card that stood out from the pack there were clearly other options.

These days, though, GIGABYTE has become one of those companies who are a leader when it comes to standing out from the pack. The Super Overclock series has become a fan favorite among users, but also among us at TweakTown thanks to an awesome out of the box overclock.

The latest card to get the Super Overclock treatment is the HD 5870 which has become a real fan favorite thanks to not only great performance, but also fantastic value. Combining a series that we love with a model that we love should be the perfect formula. Before we find out if it is, though, let's have a closer look at the package GIGABYTE has put together along with a closer look at the card itself.

The Package




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Inside the package we don't see anything out of the ordinary. The biggest stand out point would be the new OC Guru software that GIGABYTE has included in the bundle which is on the Driver CD. We won't really go into any detail on that today, but we'll be looking at it more along with how well the card overclocks in another article.

The Card and Specifications


The Card

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Like some of the recent HD 5870s we've looked at, GIGABYTE have opted for a new cooler. Cince the goal of this model is to overclock, it comes as no surprise that GIGABYTE would opt for what should be a better cooler than the standard HD 5870 one.

As for the rest of the card, we don't really have any surprises with all the standard I/O connectors and everything else being where it should be.


Specifications

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When it comes to selling the card, the big deal about it is of course the overclock that GIGABYTE offers. We have to say it's nice to not be disappointed either, with some impressive clocks being offered here.

Looking at the core, we can see that's been boosted to 950MHz from the stock 850MHz. As for the 1GB of GDDR5, that's gone from 4800MHz QDR to a really nice sounding 5000MHz QDR.

The 100MHz boost on the core should yield a nice boost in performance, while the extra 200MHz QDR on the memory will just help round it out a little more.

Test System Setup and 3DMark Vantage


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We would like to thank the following companies for supplying and supporting us with our test system hardware and equipment: Intel, ASRock, Kingston, Western Digital, Noctua and Thermaltake.

Today we'll be looking at how the Super Overclock version of the HD 5870 from GIGABYTE goes against another bunch of cards with its main competition being the standard clocked HD 5870 along with the new GTX 400 series cards from NVIDIA; the GTX 470 and GTX 480.

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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In our first test we can see the overclock gives us a nice boost in performance when compared to the default clocked HD 5870. As for how it compares against the GTX 400 cards, we can see that it manages to outperform both of them in both presets.

Unigine Heaven Benchmark




Version and / or Patch Used: 1 and 2
Developer Homepage: http://www.unigine.com
Product Homepage: http://unigine.com/press-releases/091022-heaven_benchmark//



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.

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Under Heaven we see that V1 performance between both HD 5870s is very similar. When we look at the V2 performance, though, we can see that the HD 5870 SOC from GIGABYTE has a more noticeable increase in performance.

Compared to the NVIDIA offerings, we can see that the ATI cards do fall behind the new NVIDIA ones when using the latest version of Heaven.

Benchmarks - CINEBENCH


CINEBENCH

Version and / or Patch Used: Release 10 and Release 11.5
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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R10 performance doesn't hold any surprises, but it seems that the new Catalyst 10.4s did wonders to R11.5 performance, giving ATI a nice boost in performance here.

Benchmarks - Resident Evil 5


Resident Evil 5

Version and / or Patch Used: Demo Benchmark
Developer Homepage: www.residentevil.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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Across the board we see the HD 5870 SOC outperform the stock counterpart. Compared to the more expensive GTX 480 we can see at 2560 x 1600 performance is very similar between the two models.

Benchmarks - BattleForge


BattleForge

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

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Again compared to the default clocked HD 5870 we see a nice boost in performance. Unlike RE5, though, when looking at 2560 x 1600 performance to the GTX 480, we can see the HD 5870 SOC pulls out a win.

Benchmarks - Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X.


Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X.

Version and / or Patch Used: Benchmark Demo
Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in Test
Developer Homepage: http://www.ubi.com/UK/default.aspx
Product Homepage: http://www.hawxgame.com/





Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X is an arcade-style flight simulator video game developed by Ubisoft Romania and published by Ubisoft for Microsoft Windows, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and iPhone OS.

The fundamental gameplay mechanics are similar to those of other console-based flight series. Players take on enemies with over 50 aircraft available. Each mission is at real world locations in environments created with commercial satellite data. A cockpit, first person, and third person view are selectable. The third person view gives the player an external view of both their plane and the target.

Set above the skies of a near-future world, increasingly dependent on private military companies with elite mercenaries who have a relaxed view on the law. As these non-governmental organizations gain power, global conflict erupts with one powerful PMC attacking the United States.

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Here we paint the same picture as BattleForge; a nice boost across the board compared to the standard HD 5870 and a win against the GTX 480 at 2560 x 1600.

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.darkestofdays.com/index.php
Product Homepage: http://www.darkestofdays.com/index.php





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.

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DOD tends to not like OC cards, but you can see a bit of positive movement at all resolutions here.

Benchmarks - Far Cry 2


Far Cry 2

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.01
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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At the lower resolution we can see the minimum is a little lower than the default HD 5870. All other numbers show a nice boost in performance and looking at the minimums we see the model pulls out another win against the GTX 480 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: http://www.batmanarkhamasylum.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, ATI cards will be tested with the technology off due to it not being supported on their cards.

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Another little bump in performance when compared to the stock model. At 2560 x 1600 we do see the minimum is slightly behind the GTX 480 in this case by a few FPS. With minimums well above 30 FPS, though, Batman AA is going to run great at all resolutions.

Benchmarks - Dark Void


Dark Void

Version and / or Patch Used: Benchmark Demo
Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in Test
Developer Homepage: http://www.airtightgames.com
Product Homepage: http://www.darkvoidgame.com/




The game's story takes place during World War II and centers around a cargo pilot named William Augustus Grey (voiced by Nolan North) who is teleported to another world while flying through the Bermuda Triangle. In this world, known as the 'Void', Will encounters an alien race as well as other humans, which are known as the Watchers and the Survivors respectively.

Will reluctantly joins the Survivors who are engaged in a feud with the alien race to satisfy his desire to return to Earth. While aiding the Survivors, Will discovers that the Void is a middle ground that connects both the Watchers homeworld and Earth. It also becomes apparent that the Watchers are supplying the Axis powers with various supplies for reasons unknown. With the help of Nikola Tesla, Will utilizes retrofited Watcher technology to combat the Watchers and eventually find a way to escape the Void.

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Looking at Dark Void, we're seeing the trend again in which the HD 5870 SOC from GB sees a nice bump in performance when compared to the stock clocked model, while at the same time manages to outperform the more expensive GTX 480 at the highest resolution.

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.


Far Cry 2

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Compared to the NVIDIA offerings the ATI ones do struggle here. And compared to the stock HD 5870, we only see a small boost in the average with no difference in the minimum being seen.


Resident Evil 5

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Compared to the HD 5870 we see a nice boost here; the model does fall slightly behind the GTX 480 in this test, though.


Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X.

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Like above, we see a nice little boost in performance again. But compared to the more expensive GTX 480, it does sit slightly back when AA is turned on.

Benchmarks - Elcomsoft Wireless Security Auditor


Elcomsoft Wireless Security Auditor

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.51
Timedemo or Level Used: Sample File
Developer Homepage: http://www.elcomsoft.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.elcomsoft.com/ewsa.html




ElcomSoft has pioneered many software innovations that have made it easier to recover passwords protecting various types of resources. For the first time in the industry, the company's patent-pending GPU acceleration makes its way into Wi-Fi password recovery, reducing the time required to recover Wi-Fi passwords up to a hundred times.

Supporting up to four NVIDIA boards such as GeForce 8, 9, and 200, as well as ATI video cards such as RADEON HD 4000 Series and up, Elcomsoft Wireless Security Auditor allows building servers with supercomputer performance at a fraction of the price.

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The overclock does a good job of making the HD 5870 even faster under WSA and you can clearly see it's able to perform strong against most models.

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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The cooler that GIGABYTE has opted for does a wonderful job of keeping our GPU nice and cool.


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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While the coolness does come at a little bit more noise compared to other models, it's nothing major at all with only a few dB separating many of the models below it.

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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Power draw doesn't hold any surprises; slightly more than the default HD 5870 but nothing a good power supply won't deal with.

Total Performance Rating (TPR)


Total Performance Rating

The TPR graph is a combination of all our benchmarks in which NVIDIA and ATI are on an even playing field. This includes benchmarks where PhysX can be forced off like Dark Void and Batman: Arkham Asylum, but not Darkest of Days.

The TPR number is a combination of:

3DMark Vantage, Heaven Benchmark V2, CINEBENCH R11.5, Resident Evil 5, BattleForge, Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X., Far Cry 2, Batman: Arkham Asylum (PhysX Off), Dark Void (PhysX Off) and our three High Quality tests which include Far Cry 2, Resident Evil 5 and Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X.

All of the benchmark results achieved are then combined into a single number. As this graph will grow over time and cards won't be re-tested, next to each model you'll find the driver version that was used when the card was benchmarked.

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The good overclock and the boost in performance under R11.5 CINEBENCH means we see strong numbers compared to many other cards we've tested. Removing the 3000 point boost under R11.5 CINEBENCH still puts the model ahead of the GTX 480 which is great.

Total Value Rating (TVR)


Total Value Rating

The TVR graph is the TPR score divided by the price of the video card. The price of the video card is based on the list price of the model on Newegg.com. In the event the card isn't listed, it will be based on the U.S. $ MSRP given to us by the manufacturer.

In the event we can't source a price from either, the product will not receive a TVR rating. As with our TPR graph, the amount of video cards on the list will grow over time and the price of the model won't change from what it was when first reviewed. For this reason the U.S. $ price that the card is based off will be included next to the name of the model.

In the event you want to find the TVR rating yourself based on the current price, all you have to do is simply divide the TPR number by the list price.

TVR numbers are rounded to the nearest whole number; 100.3 will be 100; 100.8 will be 101 and 100.5 will be rounded down to 100.

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While the model carries with it a much higher price tag than the standard HD 5870, its strong performance increase doesn't knock the overall value of the model around much. Compared to the GTX 480 in its stock form as well, the model out performs it and offers a fair bit better value.

Final Thoughts




The Super Overclock version of the HD 5870 has been a long time coming; we heard about the model a while ago and it was just a matter of playing the waiting game while GIGABYTE put the final touches on the model to make sure it stands out from the pack.

Looking at the performance today, it's become clear that the wait was worth it with it being the fastest HD 5870 we've tested to date and compared to the GTX 480 it does a fantastic job of competing.

A big deal in regards to the Super Overclock series is the OC potential of the model and while we haven't looked at that today, we'll be looking at it soon enough. With some new overclocking software and a new model, we're hoping that the SOC version of the HD 5870 form GIGABYTE will be able to really shine and be a clear stand out model for people wanting to get even more grunt out of it.

If you're a fan of ATI, don't want to spend the money that's involved in going down the HD 5970 route, then this is a fantastic model for you. If you're gaming at the high 2560 x 1600 resolution as well, you can know with confidence that you're going to be out performing the GTX 480 in many situations.

What will be interesting now is what GIGABYTE will do with the SOC series and the new GTX 400 series of cards. We wouldn't recommend waiting for the simple fact that nothing has really been announced and the models would carry probably a $80 - $100 US price gain, but just from an excitement perspective it's going to be cool to find out what kind of clocks companies will offer with the new models.

At $499.99 over at Newegg right now it's one of the most expensive HD 5870s on the market. At the same time, it's one of the fastest HD 5870s on the market. Throw in the fact that the cooler offers similar noise levels to the stock one but significantly better temperatures and you're onto a winner of a model.

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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.

We openly invite the companies who provide us with review samples / who are mentioned or discussed to express their opinion. If any company representative wishes to respond, we will publish the response here. Please contact us if you wish to respond.

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