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Comparison: Factory-Overclocked Versus Reference Graphics

Benchmarks: Avatar

Avatar is a 3D shooter that takes you to the movie’s planet Pandora. Here you have to collect experience points and steer vehicles. The game is based on the Dunia engine, like Far Cry 2, and creates impressive DirectX 10 effects. In addition, there is support for Havok’s physics engine, which was implemented for the planet’s flora--check it out by shooting at leaves or by walking over them.

We set the graphics options to ultra high quality, which also turns up texture filtering. This global setting remains and modifying the resolution only impacts anti-aliasing. We benchmarked at up to 8x anti-aliasing; at 1920x1200 this requires more than 512 MB of video memory.

Our test scene usually shows medium frame rates. Explosions and fire may noticeably reduce performance. The graphics boards are between 85 and 100% GPU load. One CPU core is between 52 and 68% load; the others typically between 25 and 43%.

  • chrissmartin
    i will buy a normal card with good cooling and overclock it.
    Reply
  • rohitbaran
    Too less performance gain (4-5 FPS) for the too much extra price paid ($50-$70) along with too much increase in power consumption (30-40 W. Better to buy a reference card unless you want the best no matter what the price is.
    Reply
  • Mark Heath
    I like the idea behind the article and I'm glad that there's been some testing done on it, but I don't really like the article itself.

    There are references to how much the reference card is overclocked by, but there is no clear section about it, you started off with some of the summary charts, instead of putting them after the initial tests and you kept switching what cards you were comparing, with less warning than I would like..

    Plus there's that 2GB 5850. Is that really a 2GB 5850, or is it actually 2GB 5830, because it kept getting beaten by the 1GB 5850..

    Reply
  • Onus
    When I buy a new GPU, I look for one who's reference clocks make it "good enough" as-is; but I do look for a better / quieter cooler.
    Reply
  • mrhoshos96
    great article but u should have compared the reference against the sapphire vapor-x
    Reply
  • Tesla1483
    In order to their products apart, third-party vendors take reference GPUs...

    I'm guessing they meant "In order to SET their products apart..."
    Seriously, it's the first sentence in the article. Does no one proof read anything here? Isn't that like the first thing you learn when you want to become a writer? Sorry, rant over.
    Reply
  • youssef 2010
    "This cooling concept works pretty well, as it not only provides effective graphics component cooling, but it also helps to remove warm air from the inside of your PC. "

    The reference 5870 has a vent on its side so, it doesn't completely remove the hot air from the case but recirculates a part of the hot air back into the case
    Reply
  • duk3
    It's a 5850, look how close the framerates are.
    The amount of ram doesn't really matter at these resolutions.
    Reply
  • LLJones
    The cards just do not offer enough gain. If you can afford the overclock edition at a premium, then save up a little more and get the next card up or buy two of the next lower cards. The $1000+ dual 5870 from Asus shows what a complete waste of money some, not all, super OC cards are.

    Try this, put together a really really really premium card component wise, and then don't put any cooling on it. Let me decide what I am going to do for cooling and companies can save on packaging, shipping etc due to no cooler.

    If your really aiming at the OC crowd and not just playing a game of marketing, then you know the first thing someone does is to rip off your factory cooler to replace it or at the very least put quality thermal compound on it.
    Reply
  • dEAne
    I like this article, thanks tom.
    Reply