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Test Hardware: Graphics Cards And Platform

StarCraft II Revisited: How Much Gaming PC Do You Need?
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Gigabyte GV-R587SO-1GD Radeon HD 5870 Super Overclock

With a 950 MHz core clock and 1250 MHz memory, this Super Overclock edition card boasts the highest factory frequencies we’ve seen to date on a Radeon HD 5870. It leverages a quiet and capable cooling system to offer plenty of performance without generating very much noise. You can read more about this card in our review here.

Gigabyte GV-N470SO-13I GeForce GTX 470 Super Overclock

The GV-470SO-13I is the highest-clocked GeForce GTX 470 available at the time of writing. With 700/1400/1674 MHz core/shader/memory frequencies, this is another low-noise board. It's equipped with three quiet cooling fans that facilitate low GPU temperatures and a minimal acoustic footprint. Have a look at our GV-N470SO-13I review here.


Gigabyte GV-R585OC-1GD Radeon HD 5850 Overclocked

The Radeon HD 5850 continues to provide solid gaming performance in the $300 price range. Gigabyte adds its own special sauce to the standard formula with a mild 40 Hz core overclock, resulting in a 765 MHz core and 1000 MHZ GDDR5 memory frequencies. As you can see, the company also uses its own non-reference cooling solution.


Gigabyte GV-N460OC-1GI GeForce GTX 460 Overclocked

The GeForce GTX 460 has already established itself as a strong $200-$250 offering in Nvidia’s stable, and Gigabyte’s overclocked model sports a 40 MHz core and 80 MHz shader clock rate improvement over the reference card. As with all of the other boards we've seen thus far, this one employs aftermarket cooling. For more information on how this board stacks up to the other GeForce GTX 460s out there, check out our nine-card roundup.

Gigabyte GV-R583UD-1GD Radeon HD 5830

The Radeon HD 5830 was alone at the $200 price point until Nvidia's GeForce GTX 460 arrived, and we used this specific model previously in one of our System Builder Marathon configurations. We found that the non-reference cooling system on this model resulted in a quiet, capable card. You can read about our experience with two of these graphics cards in a CrossFire configuration here.


Gigabyte GV-N240D5-512I GeForce GT 240 GDDR5

In light of the fact that Nvidia's GeForce 9600 GT has become scarce, the company's GeForce GT 240 is a much more attractive option. This particular model runs just outside of reference specifications with a 20 MHz slower shader clock. However, this makes no perceptible difference in performance compared to the standard model. It is notable that this is the only 512 MB card in our performance exploration, as all of the other cards sport at least 1 GB of RAM.


Gigabyte GV-R557OC-1GI Radeon HD 5570 DDR3 Overclocked

Gigabyte’s overclocked Radeon HD 5570 has a 30 MHz core clock rate advantage over the reference model, but the memory frequency is set 100 MHz slower than the 900 MHz reference board. This memory speed deficit is somewhat mitigated by the slight core overclock, combined with a large 1 GB frame buffer. 


Gigabyte GV-R555D3-1GI Radeon HD 5550 DDR3

The GV-R555D3-1GI is Gigabyte’s take on the Radeon HD 5550 DDR3, running the standard 550 MHz core and 800 MHz memory clocks. The card features a beefier-than-reference cooler and 1 GB of memory.

Gigabyte X58A-UD3R

Gigabyte’s X58A-UD3R motherboard offers a tantalizing mix of performance, features, and a low price that earned it our Recommended Buy Award earlier this year. This platform remains a strong choice, and we use it for our tests today.

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Top Comments
  • 20 Hide
    avatar_raq , September 17, 2010 1:28 PM
    A very enjoyable article. Few points:
    1. While the benchmark the author kindly put a lot of effort to make is nice, I believe it's much worse than the worst case scenario for most ppl, most people play online against human opponents or play against the AI in the single player campaign or to get some training before diving into multiplayer. IMHO it should have tuned down a little or the GPU/CPU recommendation should be stated with less certainty. Readers should put that well in mind.

    2. ATI released CCC10.9 after the article was written and it is said to improve the performance while AA is on, but I really have to test this to confirm. If anyone tested the new driver please share the results!

    3. For those whiners about not including their hardware in the piece: STOP! It is near impossible to include all the hardware out there, besides I always noticed that Don is somehow limited on the hardware side, so he only used what cards Gigabyte offered, and that was clearly stated in the article. As for the CPUs he did a comparison of 1, 2, 3 and 4 phenom 2 cores, so this should give you a good idea how the game scales with CPU cores and it is obviously not threaded well enough to make use of Phenom II x6 6 cores.

    Feel free to thumb me down! :) 
  • 16 Hide
    letsgetsteve , September 17, 2010 6:43 AM
    i wish the test was re-run with a bigger overclock so we could see how cpu limited the game really is and what card will really let it stretch its legs.
  • 14 Hide
    letsgetsteve , September 17, 2010 9:31 AM
    gpharmanI run it fine on my X58 Extreme3, core i7 920 @ 3.60ghz. 12GB DDR3 1600, 2 evga GTX470SC in SLI, Win 7 64 @ 1920x1080 with aa maxed on ultra.


    show off :p  care you maybe share some frame rates with your bragging?
Other Comments
  • 2 Hide
    duk3 , September 17, 2010 6:18 AM
    Nice article.
    I wish the i5 750 was included as a comparison.
  • 8 Hide
    Doom3klr , September 17, 2010 6:19 AM
    5770 should run it with a 3 core amd
  • 1 Hide
    ScoobyJooby-Jew , September 17, 2010 6:40 AM
    a 5750+phenom II 945 runs smoothly with a mix of ultra and high settings. no aa.
  • -4 Hide
    L0tus , September 17, 2010 6:40 AM
    Quote:
    The Radeon cards are clearly bested by their similarly-priced GeForce counterparts here.


    Hence why I regret my ATI purchase.

    It's good hardware but the constant driver issues & benchmarks such as these make you think twice.
  • 16 Hide
    letsgetsteve , September 17, 2010 6:43 AM
    i wish the test was re-run with a bigger overclock so we could see how cpu limited the game really is and what card will really let it stretch its legs.
  • -9 Hide
    nativeson8803 , September 17, 2010 6:55 AM
    I wish they would have included my cpu: q9550 OC'd to 3.5Ghz

    Still relevant!
  • 6 Hide
    madass , September 17, 2010 6:58 AM
    Are you guys sure the NV cards didnt beat the radeons due to bigger frame buffer?
  • -6 Hide
    kingnoobe , September 17, 2010 7:17 AM
    I don't reget my ati purchase at all. I'd rather deal with driver issues *which I never seemed to have with ati only nvidia.. for some odd reason*. Then deal with crap hardware with nvidia..

    Of course this is just personal exp.

    Some games will run better with nv, and some better with ati.. Don't really care as long as I can play it smoothly. And usually 1-5 fps don't determine that.
  • 5 Hide
    dingo_d , September 17, 2010 8:03 AM
    Doom3klr5770 should run it with a 3 core amd

    Yep it worked flawlessly on my 5770 1GB + Athlon II X3 435...
  • 8 Hide
    adonn78 , September 17, 2010 8:16 AM
    Why is there not a 5770 in the round up?
  • 2 Hide
    nilfisktun , September 17, 2010 8:43 AM
    Well my E8400 @ 3.6Ghz, and a gtx260 seems more then capeable of playing sc2. I got everything on ultra, and it have allways been running smooth for me. Even in me vs 7 FFA insane AI opponents.
  • -2 Hide
    urlsen , September 17, 2010 8:46 AM
    I run it just fine on my P5b deluxe 1080P,E8400,4 gb ddr2,8800 gts 320mb, win7 64.
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , September 17, 2010 8:50 AM
    "Our 6 or their 4" I'll take their 4 any day of the week.
  • 14 Hide
    letsgetsteve , September 17, 2010 9:31 AM
    gpharmanI run it fine on my X58 Extreme3, core i7 920 @ 3.60ghz. 12GB DDR3 1600, 2 evga GTX470SC in SLI, Win 7 64 @ 1920x1080 with aa maxed on ultra.


    show off :p  care you maybe share some frame rates with your bragging?
  • -4 Hide
    krolo , September 17, 2010 9:33 AM
    Yeah i wish my 9550 was in the benchmarks to see how the core2 duo stacks up.
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , September 17, 2010 9:45 AM
    I wish the hexa cores from amd were included esp the 1090t
  • 0 Hide
    rockstone1 , September 17, 2010 10:10 AM
    My GTX 260 and Phenom II 940 (overclocked to 3.5 GHz) plays nice with Starcraft 2... Ultra setting at 1920x1080 is beautiful, and I've never seen a slow down.
  • 1 Hide
    scrumworks , September 17, 2010 11:22 AM
    L0tusHence why I regret my ATI purchase.It's good hardware but the constant driver issues & benchmarks such as these make you think twice.


    What driver issues you are talking about? I had none. If you don't care about power consumption, temps and noise then perhaps you should consider Germi.
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