Radeon HD 5830: The Reference Card
At first glance, the reference Radeon HD 5830 appears to be a Radeon HD 5870. In fact, our test sample is physically identical to a Radeon HD 5870 reference card.
Note how the reference board dwarfs the Radeon HD 5850. I'm sure you might have heard this before, but size isn't everything. The specifications suggest that the Radeon HD 5830 will use more power than the 5850, despite its lower gaming performance. At over 11 inches long, the sheer size of this card might be a deterrent for many buyers. Even the already-large Radeon HD 4890 is an inch smaller.
The good news is that AMD included pictures of some of the planned boards from its third-party partners, and none of them appear as though the employ reference cooling. We aren't really able to make a judgment based on the stock art, but four of the cards seem to employ the longer PCB, while the XFX design is significantly shorter, potentially enabling a more compact version of the card.
As with the the Radeon HD 5870 and 5850, the Radeon HD 5830 requires two auxiliary six-pin PCIe power cables. This is a bit of a pity, since it would have been nice if only a single cable was required. But it's understandable given the full-sized Cypress GPU.
Our reference Radeon HD 5830 includes CrossFire-ready connectors. But we only had a single card to test for the launch, precluding dual-GPU benchmark results.
With two DVI outputs (in addition to DisplayPort and HDMI), the Radeon HD 5830 reference card gives us more connectivity than we could use in a typical environment. The need to acquire a DisplayPort-capable display for Eyefinity support might be an inconvenience for many enthusiasts, but it certainly beats having to sling two cards together for as many outputs. This will be one of the requirements imposed by Nvidia's Surround capability.
Yes, this GPU was created to be a fully-functioning Radeon HD 5870, but was subsequently crippled for its role as a Radeon HD 5830.