The CPU Scaling Story: From 2.66 GHz To 3.8 GHz
In both the Radeon HD 5870 and 5850 reviews, I benchmarked ATI’s latest and greatest on a Core i7 platform overclocked to 4 GHz, making absolutely sure we weren’t seeing any CPU-imposed bottlenecks. While this is great from a theoretical standpoint (what good are comparisons if they’re limited by a controllable variable, after all?), many readers asked to see those cards tested with a more “real-world” processor.
I took that feedback to heart and ran all of the numbers for this story on a Core i5-750—a reasonable $200 CPU on an Asus P7P55D Premium motherboard. But of course, that opened the door to the potential for processor limitations potentially making two cards appear similar in situations where they’re really not. Just to be sure we weren’t getting any of that here, I sampled a few games at different settings and found that the i5-750 at its default speed is truly ample.
At 1920x1200, a good compromise between the entry-level 1680x1050 and high-end 2560x1600 resolutions we like to use, you can see there’s virtually no difference between a stock Core i5-750 and the same CPU dialed in to 3.8 GHz. As you add anti-aliasing and increase graphical detail, the emphasis falls even harder on the GPU, so the benefit of a faster CPU would shrink even more.
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Can we BOLD or change the color of the card that's being reviewed?Reply
Nice one, but the charts are a bit cluttered without giving emphasis on the featured cards (bold fonts, etc). A media card that could do games pretty good.Reply
I'm quite agree with the nvidia's G92 still hanging around but looking at their newly released cards (gt220, 210), I don't know what to say anymore. Hopefully, they're making the right choices at the right time.
Looks to me like the 5770 really needs faster memory speeds, though that would defeat trying to make it cheaper, and perhaps a higher core clock. Perhaps we'll see some factory overclocked cards with memory that can reach a significantly higher speed.Reply
Power consumption, temperature, and noise levels are very encouraging. I just finished reading other reviews where the 5700 cards are described as mid-level and mainstream cards.Reply
If I was building today (htpc), I would still go with a HD4670. Who knows six months from now...Reply
Those other features are compelling. If I could afford 2 more monitors that is.
Summer Leigh CastleCan we BOLD or change the color of the card that's being reviewed?Reply
For sure--I've looked into this and would be happy to implement, but haven't had much luck. Any Excel gurus able to get only certain axis labels bolded without changing the entire series?
and bitstreaming HD audio in an HTPC (a reason to buy a second card for the living room).
Personally I use my main computer as my HTPC, after all, I can't play games and watch movies from 2 different rooms at the same time, and all it takes is the HDMI cable (at least until they make it wireless.)
That works as well. But for someone with a triple-head setup *and* an HTPC, I can justify both usage models.Reply
I'm looking to upgrade from my dated 3850 and was thinking that these would really impress me for the price. I'm thinking I'll just spend the bit extra and get the 5850 when the prices come down.Reply
Of course, I wouldn't have been able to make such an informed decision so early if it weren't for TH and columnists such as yourself.
Thanks for another great article Chris.
What's the benefit of DirectX 11 capabilities if the cards are worse performing than last gen cards in DX9/10 games? I'd rather get a 4800 series card, being a gamer myself, for slightly better framerates.Reply
I can see the other benefits for the hardcore HTPC crowd though.