You have to give AMD credit for trying to make lemonade out of lemons.
The Radeon HD 5830 is the odd duck of AMD’s 5000-series GPUs. The card itself is as long as the high-end HD 5870, and consumes more power at idle than the Radeon HD 5850. But that’s what you’d expect of a card built on a “salvaged” chip.
Salvaged chips are produced by taking chips that fail to pass muster as the highest-end part and selling them as lower-end parts. This can be seen in the Radeon HD 5830, which has 1,120 stream processors active, as opposed to 1,440 for the HD 5850 or 1,600 for the 5870.
Unlike AMD’s lower-end HD 5770, which uses the Juniper GPU, with 1.05 billion transistors and 800 stream processors, the 5830 sports the same 2.15-billion-transistor GPU as the 5870/5850, with more functional units disabled.
AMD exploits a price point with the Radeon HD 5830, but the implementation is so weird, we’re scratching our heads.
If you’ve got $250 to burn for a graphics card, you’ll find a dearth of cards at that price point. Hit any of the major web retailers for PC gear looking for $250 cards, and you’ll find a couple of models of Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 275 and… that’s it. The much faster Radeon HD 5850s are around $300, and you’ll find older GTX 260s and not much more.
AMD decided to fill the gap with the Radeon HD 5830. But the HD 5830 is a really odd duck. It’s slower than a Radeon HD 5850, but the reference implementation is huge – the same size as the Radeon HD 5870. The 5830 also consumes more power at full throttle than the HD 5850 – hence the larger cooler on the reference design.
Read on to find out all about the 5830's features, and how it did in our grueling benchmarks!