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Graphics Cards And Configurations Compared

Comparison: Factory-Overclocked Versus Reference Graphics

The baseline for this article is AMD’s Radeon HD 5870, which we're running at its default clock speeds and a maximum overclock without leaning on voltage tweaks. We did the same with MSI’s R5870 Lightning, using the factory-overclocked speed default instead of the AMD reference spec. Then we add another test run at the card's fastest stable overclock, again without modifying voltages.

We also added similar cards from two other vendors for a quick cross check, as we wanted to make sure that the overclocking results and benefits achieved during the testing are actually representative of factory-overclocked solutions. We used a Core i5-750 CPU at 4 GHz to provide sufficient processor horsepower, minimizing the likelihood of a platform-imposed bottleneck.

Graphics Cards
Manufacturer and GPU
CodenameMemoryGPU ClockShaderMem Clock
MSI R5870 Lightning TwinFrozr II OC (HD 5870)Cypress1024 MB GDDR5925 MHz5.04 x 1315 MHz1600
MSI R5870 Lightning TwinFrozr II (HD 5870)Cypress1024 MB GDDR5900 MHz5.04 x 1200 MHz1600
Asus Matrix 5870 P/2DIS/2GD5 (HD 5870)Cypress2048 MB GDDR5894 MHz5.04 x 1200 MHz1600
Gigabyte GV-R587SO-1GD (HD 5870)Cypress1024 MB GDDR5950 MHz5.04 x 1250 MHz1600
Radeon HD 5870 OCCypress1024 MB GDDR5900 MHz5.04 x 1300 MHz1600
Radeon HD 5870Cypress1024 MB GDDR5850 MHz5.04 x 1200 MHz1600
Radeon HD 5850Cypress2048 MB GDDR5725 MHz5.04 x 1000 MHz1440
Radeon HD 5850Cypress1024 MB GDDR5725 MHz5.04 x 1000 MHz1440
Radeon HD 5830Cypress1024 MB GDDR5800 MHz5.04 x 1000 MHz1120

 SPs = Stream Processors, Shader 5.0 = DirectX 11

Test Setup
CPUIntel Core i5 750 @ 4 GHz (21 x 190), Lynnfield, BIOS 1.26875 V, 45 nm, LGA 1156
MainboardGigabyte P55A-UD7, PCIe 2.0, SATA 6 Gb/s, USB 3.0
ChipsetIntel P55 Express
Memory2 x 2 GB DDR3, 2x570 MHz 7-7-7-19, OCZ3G2000LV4GK, PC3-16000 Golden Series
AudioRealtek ALC889
LAN2 x RTL8111D
HDDsSATA, Western Digital WD300HLFS, WD5000AAKS
Gigabyte GO-D1600C
Power Supply
Cooler Master RS-850-EMBA 850 Watt
Graphics Driver
ATI Catalyst 10.6
Operating System
Windows 7 Ultimate 32-bit
DirectX9, 10, and 11
Chipset Drivers
Intel 9.1.1
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