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Graphics Chips Compared And Test Setup

Radeon HD 5770, Radeon HD 4890, And GeForce GTX 275 Overclocked
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Each of our two MSI cards appears in this table three times. Both models are sold as OC editions, meaning that they run at overclocked speeds to begin with. Since the higher frequencies are coded into the BIOS, we consider them the cards’ stock frequencies, so they show up in the table under their normal model name. We also tested each of the cards at the reference speeds specified by Nvidia and ATI, respectively, labeling their scores as “No OC.”

In our third test, we tuned the factory overclocked MSI boards even further. This setting is labeled “Max OC” in the table. ATI’s Radeon HD 5770 is the only DirectX 11-capable card, and it uses ATI’s reference design. Its overclocked scores are marked as “OC” in the table, simultaneously representing the maximum overclock we achieved.

To put the score in context, we decided to add results from various cards that we have already tested running at stock speeds. To ensure that none of the cards was being held back by the CPU, we chose a Core i7-920 overclocked to 3.8 GHz as the heart of our testing platform.

A word of warning: these overclocking tests are by no means a recommendation for your hardware. Overclocking can damage your graphics card and may void your warranty. Make changes to your card’s clock speeds at your own risk.

Nvidia Graphics Cards

Manufacturer and Model Name
Code Name
Memory
GPU Frequency
Shader Model
Memory Frequency
SPs
GeForce GTX 295
2 x GT200b2 x 896MB GDDR3576 MHz4.0, 1,242 MHz2 x 999 MHz2 x 240
GeForce GTX 285
GT200b1,024MB GDDR3648 MHz4.0, 1,476 MHz2 x 1,242 MHz240
GeForce GTX 280
GT2001024MB GDDR3602 MHz4.0, 1,296 MHz2 x 1,107 MHz240
BFG GTX 275 (GTX 275)
GT200b896MB GDDR3648 MHz4.0, 1,440 MHz2 x 1,152 MHz240
Gainward GTX275 Golden Sample (GTX 275)
GT200b896MB GDDR3648 MHz4.0, 1,420 MHz2 x 1,185 MHz240
MSI N275GTX Lightning Max OC
GT200b1,792MB GDDR3720 MHz4.0, 1,600 MHz2 x 1,200 MHz240
MSI N275GTX Lightning
GT200b1,792MB GDDR3700 MHz4.0, 1,404 MHz2 x 1,150 MHz240
MSI N275GTX Lightning No OC
GT200b1,792MB GDDR3633 MHz4.0, 1,404 MHz2 x 1,134 MHz240
GeForce GTX 275
GT200b896MB GDDR3633 MHz4.0, 1,404 MHz2 x 1,134 MHz240
MSI N260GTX Lightning BE (GTX 260 216SPs)
GT200b1,792MB GDDR3680 MHz4.0, 1,458 MHz2 x 1,050 MHz216
Sparkle GeForce X265 (GTX 260 216SPs)
GT200b896MB GDDR3666 MHz4.0, 1,476 MHz2 x 1,134 MHz216
Zotac GeForce GTX 260 (GTX 260 216SPs)
GT200b896MB GDDR3576 MHz4.0, 1,242 MHz2 x 999 MHz216
GeForce GTX 260
GT200b896MB GDDR3576 MHz4.0, 1,242 MHz2 x 999 MHz216
GeForce GTX 260
GT200896MB GDDR3576 MHz4.0, 1,242 MHz2 x 999 MHz192
Geforce GTX 250
G92b1,024MB GDDR3740 MHz4.0, 1,836 MHz2 x 1,100 MHz128


ATI Graphics Cards

Manufacturer and Model Name
Code Name
Memory
GPU Frequency
Shader Model
Memory Frequency
SPs
ATI Radeon HD 5770 OC
Juniper1,024MB GDDR5895 MHz5.04 x 1,430 MHz800
ATI Radeon HD 5770
Juniper1,024MB GDDR5850 MHz5.04 x 1,200 MHz800
Sapphire Toxic HD4890 1G Vapor-X (HD4890)
RV7901,024MB GDDR5960 MHz4.14 x 1,050 MHz800
MSI R4890 Cyclone SOC max OC
RV7901,024MB GDDR51,030 MHz4.14 x 1,065 MHz800
MSI R4890 Cyclone SOC
RV7901,024MB GDDR51,000 MHz4.14 x 1,000 MHz800
MSI R4890 Cyclone SOC no OC
RV7901,024MB GDDR5850 MHz4.14 x 975 MHz800
Radeon HD 4890
RV7901,024MB GDDR5850 MHz4.14 x 975 MHz800
Radeon HD 4870X2
R700 (2 x RV770)2 x 1,024MB GDDR5750 MHz4.14 x 900 MHz800
Radeon HD 4870
RV7701,024 MB GDDR5750 MHz4.14 x 900 MHz800
HIS H487QT1GP ICEQ4+ (HD4870)
RV7701,024MB GDDR5770 MHz4.14 x 1,000 MHz2 x 800
Sapphire Vapor-X HD4870 2G (HD4870)
RV7702,048MB GDDR5750 MHz4.14 x 900 MHz800
Radeon HD 4870
RV770512MB GDDR5750 MHz4.12 x 900 MHz800
Radeon HD 4850
RV770512MB GDDR5625 MHz4.12 x 993 MHz800
Radeon HD 4830
RV770512MB GDDR5575 MHz4.12 x 900 MHz640
Radeon HD 4770
RV740512MB GDDR5750 MHz4.14 x 800 MHz640

SPs=Stream Processors, Shader 4.0 = DirectX 10, Shader 4.1 = DirectX 10.1, Shader 5.0 = DirectX 11

Test Setup
CPU
Intel Core i7-920 @ 3.8 GHz (20x190), BIOS 1.2625 Volt, 45 nm, Socket 1366 LGA
Motherboard
Asus P6T, PCIe 2.0, ICH10R, 3-Way SLI
Chipset
Intel X58
Memory
Corsair, 3 x 2GB DDR3, TR3X6G1600C8D, 2x570 MHz 8-8-8-20
Audio
Realtek ALC1200
LAN
Realtek RTL8111C
HDDs
SATA, Western Digital, Raptor WD300HLFS, WD5000AAKS
DVD
Gigabyte GO-D1600C
Power Supply
Cooler Master RS-850-EMBA 850 Watts
System Software and Drivers
Graphic Driver
ATI Catalyst 9.10, Nvidia GeForce 191.07
Operating System
Windows Vista Ultimate 32 Bit, SP1
DirectX
9, 10, and 10.1
Platform Driver
Intel 9.1.0.1007
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Top Comments
  • 16 Hide
    wickedsnow , November 24, 2009 9:52 AM
    While I normally refrain form ever commenting on video card reviews. I could not resist this.

    I agree with falchard (to a degree) that while i don't think the review is biased, I do think something is not right about it. In most of the games listed, the 4890 (1024 version) is not only loosing to the gtx260 192 AND 216 versions, but loosing by a huge margin. I own both cards myself in 2 machines that are the same (except the videocards) and 99% of the time, the 4890 spanks my other rig. (with an evga SSC gtx260 core216).

    I'm not saying anything is biased (just a reminder) I am saying something just is not right. PSU not big enough, wrong drivers,... etc etc... no idea.
  • 12 Hide
    falchard , November 24, 2009 9:12 AM
    Benchmark suite is kind of gimped again. Every game selected except Fear 2 is designed to gimp ATI hardware. I guess its ok if you are comparing ATI to ATI, but when you say the GTX275 is a better buy over the HD4890 based on this review its completely biased. You didn't even come close to portraying the HD4890 in any sort of fair comparison.
  • 11 Hide
    quantumrand , November 24, 2009 6:12 AM
    I'm really disappointed that they aren't any benchmarks from the 5870 or 5850 series included. Why even bother with tha GTX 295 or 4870x2 and such without the higher 5-series Radeons?

    I mean if I'm considering an ATI card, I'm going to want to compare the 5770 to the 5850 and 5870 just to see if that extra cost may be justified, not to mention the potential of a dual 5770 setup.
Other Comments
  • 1 Hide
    amdgamer666 , November 24, 2009 5:22 AM
    Nice article. Ever since the 5770 came out I've been wondering how far someone could push the memory to relieve that bottleneck. Being able to push it to 1430 allows it to be competitive to it's older sibling and makes it enticing (with the 5700 series' extra features of course)
  • 1 Hide
    Onyx2291 , November 24, 2009 5:30 AM
    Damn some of these cards run really well for 1920x1200 which I run at. Could pick up a lower one and run just about anything at a decent speed if I overclock well. Good ol charts :) 
  • 9 Hide
    skora , November 24, 2009 5:47 AM
    If you're trying to get to the next cards performance by OCing, shouldn't the 5850 be benched also? I know the 5770 isn't going to get there because of the memory bandwidth issue, but you missed the mark. One card is compared to its big brother, but the other two aren't.

    I am glad to see the 5770 produce playable frame rates at 1920x1200. Nice game selection also.
  • 11 Hide
    quantumrand , November 24, 2009 6:12 AM
    I'm really disappointed that they aren't any benchmarks from the 5870 or 5850 series included. Why even bother with tha GTX 295 or 4870x2 and such without the higher 5-series Radeons?

    I mean if I'm considering an ATI card, I'm going to want to compare the 5770 to the 5850 and 5870 just to see if that extra cost may be justified, not to mention the potential of a dual 5770 setup.
  • 5 Hide
    presidenteody , November 24, 2009 6:26 AM
    I don't care what this article says, when the 5870 or 5970 become available i am going to buy a few.
  • 0 Hide
    kartu , November 24, 2009 6:27 AM
    Well, at least in Germany 4870 costs quite a bit less (30-40 Euros) compared to 5770. It would take 2+ years of playing to compensate for it with lower power consumption.
  • -3 Hide
    kartu , November 24, 2009 6:30 AM
    "Power Consumption, Noise, And Temperature" charts are hard to comprehend. Show bars instead of numbers, maybe?
  • -3 Hide
    arkadi , November 24, 2009 7:08 AM
    Well that put things in prospective. I was really happy with 260gtx numbers, and i can push my evga card even higher easy. To bad we didn't see the 5850 here, it looks like the optimal upgrade 4 gamers on the budget like my self. Grade article overall.
  • 0 Hide
    B16CXHatch , November 24, 2009 7:08 AM
    I got lucky with my card. Before, I had a SuperClocked 8800GT from EVGA. I ordered a while back, a new EVGA GeForce GTX 275 (896MB). I figured the extra cash wasn't worth getting an overclocked model particularly when I could do it myself. I get it, I try to register it. The S/N on mine was a duplicate. They sent me an unused S/N to register with. I then check the speeds under one utility and it's showing GTX 275 SuperClocked speeds, not regular speeds. I check 2 more utilities and they all report the same. I had paid for a regular model and received a mislabeled SuperClocked. Flippin sweet.

    Now they also sell an SSC model which is overclocked even more. I used the EVGA precision tool to set those speeds and it gave me like 1 or 2 extra FPS is Crysis and F.E.A.R. 2 already played so well without overclocking. So overclocking on these bad boys doesn't really do much. Oh well.

    One comment though, GTX 275's are HOT! Like, ridiculously hot. I open my window in 40 degree F weather and it'll still get warm in my room playing Team Fortress 2.
  • 3 Hide
    Anonymous , November 24, 2009 7:40 AM
    With the 5970 out there seems to be nothing else about graphic cards that interests me anymore :D  Its supposed to be the fastest card yet and beats Crysis too!
  • -3 Hide
    Anonymous , November 24, 2009 7:48 AM
    Excellent article [hindered by poor chart].
  • 12 Hide
    falchard , November 24, 2009 9:12 AM
    Benchmark suite is kind of gimped again. Every game selected except Fear 2 is designed to gimp ATI hardware. I guess its ok if you are comparing ATI to ATI, but when you say the GTX275 is a better buy over the HD4890 based on this review its completely biased. You didn't even come close to portraying the HD4890 in any sort of fair comparison.
  • 16 Hide
    wickedsnow , November 24, 2009 9:52 AM
    While I normally refrain form ever commenting on video card reviews. I could not resist this.

    I agree with falchard (to a degree) that while i don't think the review is biased, I do think something is not right about it. In most of the games listed, the 4890 (1024 version) is not only loosing to the gtx260 192 AND 216 versions, but loosing by a huge margin. I own both cards myself in 2 machines that are the same (except the videocards) and 99% of the time, the 4890 spanks my other rig. (with an evga SSC gtx260 core216).

    I'm not saying anything is biased (just a reminder) I am saying something just is not right. PSU not big enough, wrong drivers,... etc etc... no idea.
  • -8 Hide
    notty22 , November 24, 2009 10:21 AM
    The 5770 does not perform well. Its overpriced right now. All playable numbers, but the Nvdia cards spank it for the same money.
  • 0 Hide
    brisingamen , November 24, 2009 11:17 AM
    the 5770 has great overclocking potential with the stock cooler, with a good cooler the numbers could be phenominal and in crossfire situation really be nice, also not to mention it is direct x 11, and can do things both the 4890 and 275 cannot. deals will be availible on the 5770 sooner than any of the higher models. im considering getting two and overclocking the shinanigans out of them, the 275 spanks nothing with its old tech, IQ matters.
  • 0 Hide
    sparky13 , November 24, 2009 11:32 AM
    I think a better 4890 to use instead of the MSI would be the Gigabyte 4890 OC model I have in my system right now. That MSI cooler is decent but the way it's secured to the GPU is just pitiful.

    http://www.hardwarecanucks.com/forum/hardware-canucks-reviews/24770-value-meets-performance-hd-4890-cards-gigabyte-msi-19.html

    The Gigabyte comes w/a Zalman cooler and is Factory OC'd to 900mhz. I pushed it to 975mhz it it didn't break a sweat. Idle temps hover around 30-34 C. Under load it rarely breaks 52 C. The Zalman is a beast. It stays quiet too, barely audible under my tricool LED fans on low setting. I reccommend it to anyone looking for a GPU in the 170.00 range.
  • 4 Hide
    scrumworks , November 24, 2009 12:00 PM
    falchardBenchmark suite is kind of gimped again. Every game selected except Fear 2 is designed to gimp ATI hardware. I guess its ok if you are comparing ATI to ATI, but when you say the GTX275 is a better buy over the HD4890 based on this review its completely biased. You didn't even come close to portraying the HD4890 in any sort of fair comparison.


    I haven't seen a single review from the author that wouldn't be somehow made selectively nvidia biased. Last Remnant, HAWX DX10.0, no HD5870/HD5970 are just quick examples. Reviewers should stay absolutely neutral in these matters and arrange proper conditions for all parties.

    I won't analyze any deeper of the results but it seems like Radeon's don't perform quite as well as they should perform in many other reviews.
  • 1 Hide
    cinergy , November 24, 2009 12:08 PM
    notty22The 5770 does not perform well. Its overpriced right now. All playable numbers, but the Nvdia cards spank it for the same money.


    I guess they are if you don't care about DX11 and lower power consumption readings. I think AMD can easily drop HD5x00 prices after supply starts exceeding demand.
  • 7 Hide
    cknobman , November 24, 2009 12:44 PM
    nice article.............that is if your in the nvidia camp. Gotta love your sponsors right???

    Guess I need to go to anand or tweaktown to get a non nvidia biased review.

    Dont come back giving me some crap about you cant help what games favor nvidia because you can......dont include them in a damn review of ati cards!!!!!! How come you just so happened to exclude every game that favors ATI???

    Your a tool and a fool Kreiss!!
  • -4 Hide
    siliconchampion , November 24, 2009 1:56 PM
    Whoa, people, people!

    Perhaps in stead of flaming the author out about his choice of Nvidia favoring titles, perhaps you could make some helpful suggestions of game titles you would like to see benchmarked...

    Personally, I would love to see some CoD4 and MW2 benchies, but that's just me.
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