Our initial launch coverage of the ATI Radeon HD 5830 was a frustrating article to write, for the simple reason that we knew the “stock” card ATI had sent us had little relation to what our readers would actually be buying. This is thanks to ATI’s decision to sell GPUs directly to board partners, foregoing a stock model and allowing its partners to use whatever PCB, power delivery circuitry and cooling solution they wanted.
The situation wasn’t helped by two week lead times at launch either, but with manufacturers having now secured supplies of the cut down HD 5870 GPU at the heart of the HD 5830, we thought it was time to take a look at a version of the Radeon HD 5830 you can actually buy.
The XFX Radeon HD 5830 is currently one of the most aggressively priced HD 5830s on the market and sells for just shy of £190, some £30 off most other HD 5830s and much closer to the central price point between the HD 5770 (£115) and HD 5850 (£245). This is where we argued the HD 5830 should have been at launch considering its performance slots in almost exactly between these two cards.
Click to enlarge - XFX has used a 10" PCB and custom cooler
While the price tag is lower than competing HD 5830s, XFX’s card definitely isn’t a bargain bin special though. The card, built using a custom 10” black PCB rather than a repurposed HD 5870 and HD 5850 red base, still offers the exact same performance as our “press edition” HD 5830 sample, with the XFX HD 5830’s GPU shipping at the same 800MHz core with 1GHz (4GHz effective) memory. We will see whether the XFX’s custom PCB allows us some improvement with overclocking.
With no stock cooler option on the HD 5830, XFX have opted for a twin 8mm copper heat pipe cooler to tame the GPU, with the heatpipes running through a moulded copper base sat atop and then running out into two sets of radial aluminium cooling fins fanning. Fitted into this array of cooling fins is a 70mm cooling fan blowing air down and out through the fin stack on over the card’s 1GB of GDDR5, which is left otherwise bare and uncooled. Fitted atop the custom cooler is a plastic shroud which we doubt has any purpose other than to give XFX something to put its branding onto, and we feel the result isn’t exactly easy on the eye. Still, unless you’re watercooling, you’ll have little reason to crack your case open to show off your sexy new GPU cooler, so we’re willing to cut the XFX a break as long as the fundamental GPU cooling is up to task.
Click to enlarge
The dual six-pin PCI-E power connectors have been moved from their spot on the top of the card, as they are on the HD 5870 and HD 5850, to the rear – a questionable decision as this increases the amount of clearance you’ll need to fit the card into your chassis. The all-digital power circuitry of the HD 5850 and HD 5870 has been replaced with more traditional analogue circuitry, with a single phase for memory and then four phase for the GPU. There is a mix of space saving ceramic capacitors as well as aluminium capped solid capacitors used on the four GPU phases.
Display connectivity is the standard setup for ATI HD 58xx series cards with dual DVI, HDMI and display port outputs. Any three can be used concurrently thanks to ATI’s Eyefinity multi-monitor technology, and there’s a DVI to VGA adapter included in the bundle should you need legacy d-sub support. The bundle also includes two dual MOLEX to six pin PCI-E connectors to ensure power supply compatibility, a CrossFire bridge and a Steam redemption code for the DirectX 11 game Aliens Vs Predator – a nice little extra, which considering AVP’s £20 price tag makes this cut price XFX HD 5830 even better value.
XFX supplies the card with a one two year warranty in Europe that covers the cost of parts and labour – this isn’t anything special and it’s what most other board partners offer. Having said that, XFX spices the deal up by making the warranty transferable if you choose to sell the card on.
The company urges customers to register their purchase on its website, as this makes a warranty claim a lot more efficient. Upon registering, you’re given a registration code that can then be passed on when you sell the card – it also opens up a support avenue with XFX directly using the company’s web-based technical support system, which includes a real-time chat service for Live technical support, but this isn't available on all purchases.