ATI Radeon HD 5870 Overclocked Round-up


Enthusiasts are passionate about their hardware. While mainstream consumers target products with the best price to performance ratio, there is still a strong market for computer components that hold nothing back. For proof, look no further than Intel's latest Extreme Edition 980X processor, sporting six cores and twelve threads of pure awesome. Only a handful of applications can make use of that much processing power, but its available and ready to take on whatever you can throw at it. In the same way, the recent explosion of solid state drives has commanded a lot of attention for performance benefits that leave traditional hard drives in the dust. These products carry high price tags that have most consumers on the outside looking in, except for the niche market of enthusiasts and early adopters that pounce on cutting edge tech the millisecond it hits the shelves.  And of course, high-end graphics cards are no different in this respect, with a slew of manufacturers ready to amp things up just to draw interest from hardened performance enthusiasts...

Today we're looking at a trio of videocards that have their sights set on the enthusiast market. Factory overclocked Radeon HD 5870 graphics cards from HIS, MSI, and Gigabyte have landed in our lab and its time for another round up. Some might glance over these products and wonder what the big deal is. Any time a new series of graphics cards are launched by ATI or NVIDIA, it is common for add in board (AIB) partners to tweak various features so that consumers have even more attractive options to choose from, beyond the original reference design. The graphics cards we have setup for testing here come with increased GPU and memory speeds, promising improved performance right out of the box. In addition, the heatsinks have been redesigned to provide improved cooling in order to handle the increased frequencies that are set for their graphics engines. Read on to find out how these speed demons perform when compared to one another, and if one of them has what it takes to be your next upgrade.

Overclocked ATI Radeon HD 5870 Rumble
Let's Get It On!
Gigabyte Super Overclock HD 5870
950 MHz Core / 1250 MHz Memory
HIS iCooler V Turbo X HD 5870
900 MHz Core / 1225 MHz Memory
MSI Lightning HD 5870
900 MHz Core / 1200 MHz Memory

                 * Current street pricing

Each company has taken the Radeon HD 5870 recipe that ATI originally designed and spiced it up. While the reference cards check in at 850 MHz core and 1200 MHz memory, these overclocked models sport increases up to 100 MHz on the GPU and 50 MHz for memory frequency. How much does the extra horsepower translate into gaming performance? And will the performance bump be enough to justify the extra cheddar they demand? Let's take a closer look at each one to see how they differ and how much of a boost you can expect to see from them in various benchmarks.

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