Three Factory-Overclocked, High-End Graphics Cards

Gigabyte GV-R587SO-1GD SUPER OVERCLOCK

Gigabyte's special sauce for its GV-R587SO-1GD comes in the form of a very high factory overclock, coupled with the ability to tweak the card's voltages using the Gigabyte OC Guru software. A large custom cooler completes the package. This card can be purchased from Newegg for $500, or about $110 more than typical Radeon HD 5870 reference models.

Speaking of the cooler, this is an impressive unit, as the temperature and noise benchmarks will show further into the story. It uses four heat pipes to pull the heat away from the GPU and a pair of axial fans to quickly dissipate it. Unlike the reference cooler, some of the heated air is forced back into the case. So, once again, good case airflow is a great idea.

As with our other Radeon HD 5870 sample, we only had the bare card to test. According to promotional images of the bundle, Gigabyte's bundle includes an install CD, an installation guide, a CrossFire bridge, two Molex-to-PCIe power adapters, and a DVI-to-VGA adapter. There is no value-added software to be had here. Instead, the engineers have focused exclusively on the hardware, and we're absolutely alright with that. The card comes with a three-year warranty, which is just what we'd expect from this class of hardware.

Gigabyte has gone out of its way to make the GV-R587SO-1GD stand out. You can tell this by looking at the PCB, which deviates significantly from the reference model, even though it's almost exactly the same physical size and carries the standard 1 GB of GDDR5 memory. The PCIe power connectors have been moved to the top of the card for easy access, which is a welcome change. Gigabyte claims that this card is part of its GPU Gauntlet program, meaning that the graphics processors are deliberately binned to ensure superior overclocking. We'll see if this bears out in the overclocking tests.

Despite all of its other differences, this Gigabyte card uses the same reference Radeon HD 5870 output bezel, complete with two DVI outputs, in addition to HDMI and DisplayPort connectors.

For a product with the words “Super Overclock” as part of its name, we have high expectations of default clock rates. The card does not disappoint, either. It's core clock is set 50 MHz shy of 1 GHz (that's 950 MHz), representing a 100 MHz overclock beyond AMD's reference design. Moreover, it sports a 1250 MHz memory clock, 50 MHz (200 MT/s effective) over the reference setting. To our knowledge, this is the highest factory overclock available on a Radeon HD 5870. Despite this, clock speeds drop to a low 157/300 MHz to save power, just as we'd hope to see.

Overclocking

While this card's BIOS allows for overclocking speeds of up to 2000 MHz on the core and memory through AMD's Overdrive panel in the Catalyst Control Center (CCC), there is naturally no way it'd ever make it that high. While MSI's Afterburner utility doesn't allow for voltage manipulation on this board, Gigabyte does have its own robust overclocking utility capable of altering clock rates and voltages.

Using Gigabyte's utility, we were able to push the card to just over 1 GHz stably, eventually resting on a 1010 MHz core and 1325 MHz (5300 MT/s effective) configuration with the GPU voltage raised to 1.29 V, up from 1.187 V. Incidentally, this is the highest voltage the OC Guru utility allowed us to use. Even still, load temperatures in FurMark remained nice and low at about 60 degrees Fahrenheit with the fan speed increased to 100%. This is a great overclock for a Radeon HD 5870. We weren't able to do much better with a water-cooled PowerColor Radeon HD 5870 LCS that we reviewed. It seems that most Radeon HD 5870 GPUs probably won't go much faster than 1 GHz, despite voltage and cooling tweaks.

Create a new thread in the US Reviews comments forum about this subject
This thread is closed for comments
55 comments
    Your comment
    Top Comments
  • ohim
    Did your lights flickered when you powered up that GTX480 ? :)
    23
  • knutjb
    Good to see sensible conclusions, bang for the buck.

    Amazing how well the ATI cards are doing given their time on the market.
    20
  • h83
    So, the conclusion is that the only good point about those factory overclocked cards are their coolers...
    13
  • Other Comments
  • knutjb
    Good to see sensible conclusions, bang for the buck.

    Amazing how well the ATI cards are doing given their time on the market.
    20
  • Jax69
    i am amazed by ati cards after one year on the market is still strong as hell. very good amd
    13
  • jonsy2k
    I'm not liking the trend of these cards consuming more and more pci slots to be honest.
    13
  • lashton
    lol GTX 480 aginst the 5870
    -13
  • carlhenry
    GTX 480 is looking very good and sexy
    -5
  • ohim
    Did your lights flickered when you powered up that GTX480 ? :)
    23
  • Anonymous
    ^^^^^
    hahahahahhaah.
    liked the flickered thing.
    LOL
    -3
  • h83
    So, the conclusion is that the only good point about those factory overclocked cards are their coolers...
    13
  • Tamz_msc
    Quote:
    Aliens vs. Predator favors the Radeons, just like Crysis favors the GeForce cards. However, the playing field remains very close

    The graphs tell otherwise.
    -6
  • The Lady Slayer
    It's a shame the Big Green has paid off so many game developers that we'll never see a 'true' comparison between ATI & nVidia
    -5
  • LaloFG
    In my previous card (HIS 4870 with a default zalman heatsink and an HIS fan) the fan failed, not so much a problem, I replaced with a better one, and that was better because while the heatsink is better (zalman one) the fan is crap (thin and very sensitive).

    The HIS card in the article, the heatsink it is not superior to the references one, and if the fans are the same type than before, well...

    I Like the gigabyte one, that heatpipes shines and offers superior cooling (ignore the inferior performance gain due to overclock).

    The GTX 480 ... well, I don´t like physX.
    -5
  • juliom
    Far Cry 2 is so Nvidia biased, why the hell do you use it to compare the cards? If that test disappeared the huge advantage in the conclusion graphic would get much smaller.
    -3
  • tony singh
    Why far cry 2 , crysis & dirt 2 chosen again & again knowing that nvidia performs better in these?? To show 480 much master than than 5870 ? Want an answer.
    -8
  • vaughn2k
    ohimDid your lights flickered when you powered up that GTX480 ?



    Did not notice, because they were busy with the benchmark...

    ... but their neighbor does...
    0
  • kikireeki
    from the articleAt 100% fan speed, the card is noisier than a stock Radeon HD 5870. but it manages to keep the GPU cool, with temperatures under 70 degrees Fahrenheit at full load.



    wow This fan must be blowing liquid-nitrogen!
    3
  • chunkymonster
    Not as big of a gain with the factory oc'd 5870 cards over the 5870 reference design, certainly not enough to justify the additional cost, IMO.

    No surprise that the 480 performs better than the 5870 overall, this is something that ATI stated would happen when they announced they would use dual gpu cards to compete with the high end nVidia single gpu cards.

    Again with the Crysis and Far Cry benches...sheesh!
    1
  • halls
    Just a heads up: on the second page, you mention that the fan keeps the card at under 70 degrees Fahrenheit on full load. I don't believe you!
    0
  • rrobstur
    these cards are both bad-ass. you cant expect a year old card to compete with that gtx 480. thumbs ups nvidia but watch out ati next gen is inbound
    2
  • ares1214
    Next gen ATI isnt changing much, so i doubt performance will be massively increased. Maybe 15-30%, but nothing like the 4xxx series to the 5xxx series. However, their arch. change comes with 7xxx, and my money is, by the time Nvidia finishes the 4xx series, 6xxx will be out. By the time Nvidia releases 5xx (depending on if they go fast or go good), 7xxx will only be around the bend. 7xxx however is scheduled for around Q3-Q4 2011, so they have some time.
    1
  • coolvoodoo
    I like the ATI vs Nvidia wars because that is what drives progress, but it seems that some people want any benchmarks where the Nvidia card is faster to be removed. What would that prove? It is funny that the commenters above seem to think that when ATI performs better, it is because of the card, and when Nvidia performs better it is because they "paid off Tom's". That just seems like fanboys spouting off. I admit that I still like to see how any graphics card performs in Crysis because:
    1. It still taxes even the mightiest of cards.
    2. Every comparison for the past few years has used it, thus giving me an idea how my current card performs against the new cards.
    3. Someday I want to own a graphics card that can beat it down.
    4. I actually still play Crysis (and Far Cry 2).
    13