Radeon HD 5770, Radeon HD 4890, And GeForce GTX 275 Overclocked

Analysis: Overclocking

The individual results, as well as the impact of the various clock speed settings, are covered individually in the sections for each graphics card. Here we want to try and summarize the most important conclusions from the benchmarks.

It'd seem that the results are clear. Overclocking sometimes allows your graphics card to reach the performance of the next highest class of GPU. At default speeds, MSI’s GeForce GTX 275 Lightning was only one or two percent shy of the GeForce GTX 285. However, once it was overclocked, the MSI card had no trouble beating the GTX 285 at stock speeds. Just bear in mind that you'll also pay more for overclocked versions of the most aggressive cards, so before you buy, make sure you aren't indeed paying for the higher-class card, too.

There is no faster graphics chip in the Radeon HD 4800-series to which we could compare the Radeon HD 4890. The performance boost from overclocking is almost twice that of the Nvidia card though, demonstrating this card’s potential. The following table shows the overall score (in FPS) for the reference cards and our test candidates.

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Header Cell - Column 0 Cumulative FPS
MSI N275GTX Lightning Max OC (GTX 275 1,792MB)1,838.5
GeForce GTX 285 (1,024MB)1,795.0
MSI N275GTX Lightning (GTX 275 1,792MB)1,769.1
MSI R4890 Cyclone SOC Max OC (HD 4890 1,024MB)1,750.6
MSI N275GTX Lightning No OC (GTX 275 1,792MB)1,694.4
MSI R4890 Cyclone SOC (HD 4890 1,024MB)1,689.6
GeForce GTX 275 (896MB)1,677.1
MSI R4890 Cyclone SOC No OC (HD 4890 1,024MB)1,543.4
Radeon HD 4890 (1,024MB)1,523.6
ATI Radeon HD 5770 OC (1,024MB)1,433.5
ATI Radeon HD 5770 (1,024MB)1,332.9
Radeon HD 4870 (512MB)1,327.1

Aside from the higher default clock speeds, is there any incentive for buyers to choose an OC Edition over a normal card? MSI’s GeForce GTX 275 certainly has some advantages compared to the reference design. For one thing, its cooler is more effective, while also running quieter. MSI’s OC Edition of the GeForce GTX 275 never exceeded 42 dB(A), even set to its highest overclocked speed, whereas Nvidia's reference cooler reached 44.2 dB(A). Thanks to MSI’s optimized cooler design, heat was also not an issue, reaching a mere 76 to 78 degrees Celsius under load, while Nvidia’s reference design struggled to keep the GPU at 92 degrees. In short, this card offers better performance than the reference design while still running cooler and quieter.

Things are a little different where MSI’s Radeon HD 4890 is concerned. Although its huge cooler can handle the higher clock speeds and resulting greater heat output, it does get louder than the reference model when running at full blast. Also, power consumption skyrockets when the card is overclocked. Our system’s power consumption jumped from 312 watts using the stock Radeon HD 4890 to a sobering 390 watts with the overclocked OC Edition. Thus, the GTX 275 OC Edition wins in a direct comparison, since it achieves a better cumulative frame rate, produces less noise, and stays cooler.

Below you’ll find one final chart that ranks the cards' efficiency. We take the cumulative frame rate (in FPS) and divide it by the system power to determine how many frames we get per watt. As you can see, the Radeon HD 5770 is the clear winner here. Also of note is that the overclocked cards score better than their siblings running at reference clock speeds.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Graphics Card and Chip ClassFPSWattsFPS per Watt
ATI Radeon HD 5770 OC (1,024MB)1,433.52316.21
ATI Radeon HD 5770 (1,024MB)1,332.92255.92
MSI N275GTX Lightning (GTX 275 1,792MB)1,769.13325.33
MSI N275GTX Lightning Max OC (GTX 275 1,792MB)1,838.53505.25
MSI N275GTX Lightning No OC (GTX 275 1,792MB)1,694.43255.21
GeForce GTX 285 (1,024MB)1,795.03485.16
Radeon HD 4890 (1,024MB)1,523.63124.88
Radeon HD 4770 (512MB)971.61994.88
GeForce GTX 275 (896MB)1,677.13514.78
Radeon HD 4870 (512MB)1,327.12884.61
MSI R4890 Cyclone SOC Max OC (HD 4890 1,024MB)1,750.63904.49
MSI R4890 Cyclone SOC (HD 4890 1,024MB)1,689.63804.45
MSI R4890 Cyclone SOC No OC (HD 4890 1,024MB)1,543.43484.44

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  • amdgamer666
    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)
  • Onyx2291
    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 :)
  • skora
    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.
  • quantumrand
    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.
  • presidenteody
    I don't care what this article says, when the 5870 or 5970 become available i am going to buy a few.
  • kartu
    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.
  • kartu
    "Power Consumption, Noise, And Temperature" charts are hard to comprehend. Show bars instead of numbers, maybe?
  • arkadi
    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.
  • B16CXHatch
    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.
  • 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!