Power, Temperature, And Noise Benchmarks
There are a few surprises in the power usage tests. The new Radeon HD 5830 does use a few more watts than the Radeon HD 5850 at idle, likely due to the Radeon HD 5870 PCB on which our reference card is built. But, under load, the new card doesn't seem to be as stressed.
This is the opposite result that we expected after looking at AMD's specifications, which suggest the 5830 uses less power at idle and more under load. We're also surprised to see the Radeon HD 4890 drawing less power than the GeForce GTX 260 sample we have on-hand. The Asus ENGTX260 Matrix is a non-reference card, so we're not sure if optimization on Asus' end has anything to do with the result. However, we expected the Radeon HD 4890 to pull more watts than its competition.
Notice how little power the Radeon HD 5770 uses in comparison, an impressive result for a card that performs relatively closely to the new Radeon HD 5830.
All of these temperatures are well within reasonable limits. It is notable that the new Radeon HD 5830 produces much less heat than the other cards, despite the fact that it is saddled with a reference cooler. Then again, it makes sense when you consider that this reference cooler was designed to keep the powerful Radeon HD 5870 cool enough under load. Also note that the Asus GeForce GTX 260 is brandishing a powerful non-reference cooler and is achieving very low temperatures.
The Radeon HD 5830 generates surprisingly little noise, probably because the Radeon HD 5870 reference cooler doesn't need to spin very fast in order to keep things cool. Here, the Radeon HD 5830 offers a significant benefit compared to the notably-noisier Radeon HD 4890.