The 5800 series GPUs have been out for a while. Manufacturers are now coming out with variations on the originals, but I thought it might be fun to take a step back and do a quick run-through of this generation of AMD/ATI’s top graphics cards.
In the Beginning…
…were the default clocked, reference cards. AMD says this series contains “The most technologically advanced and feature rich GPUs AMD has ever created.” They are based on AMD’s 40nm process and have 2.15 billion (yes, billion) transistors on the GPU.
The TeraScale 2 Unified Processing Architecture has
- 1600 Stream Processing Units
- 80 Texture Units
- 128 Z/Stencil ROP Units
- 32 Color ROP Units
At stock, reference 5870 GPUs clocked in at 850MHz
Not only is it one of the most powerful GPUs on the planet, it comes with some of the fastest memory on the planet. The “GDDR5 interface [has] 153.6GB/s of memory bandwidth.” Memory speed on reference cards is 1200MHz.
So what does all of that mean? Well, it basically means you have one extremely powerful GPU. Rather than regurgitate information that has already been out for a while, feel free to have a look at a very detailed explanation in this excellent Anandtech article starting on page 4.
Middle of the Road
Of course, people are never satisfied with top of the line for too long, so manufacturers began taking stock cards and overclocking them from the factory. These cards typically come with mild-to-moderate overclocks, like this offering from XFX (875 / 1250) and this one from Sapphire (870 / 1250). They are at a little bit of a price premium over a stock 5870 and are based off the reference PCB layout.
Perhaps they’re binned a little better to ensure stability at the increased clocks, but that’s just a guess and may not even be accurate. Those aren’t difficult overclocks to obtain and the premium may or may not be worth it, depending on how much you like the upgraded cooler.
The cards mentioned above will run you $430 and $480, respectively.
Where Are They Now?
Now that manufacturers have pushed the stock PCB about as far as reasonable, it’s time for the redesigns. For instance, this one from MSI (900 GPU / 1200 Memory) has not only an upgraded cooler, but they’ve redesigned the PCB as well. MSI isn’t alone either. ASUS has an aftermarket PCB offering (900/1225) and Gigabyte does too, coming in at one of the fastest on the market (950 / 1250).
Being new and stronger, these cards command the greatest premium, running $480, $520 & $499, respectively.
What Will They Do?
Well, that’s what we’re here to find out. I’m happy to say we have a Gigabyte Super Overclock (SOC) GV-R587SO-1GD (Newegg link) clocked at 950 /1250 in testing literally as I type this, courtesy of AMD.
Look for the review two Mondays from now. See you then!
–Jeremy Vaughan (hokiealumnus)