StarCraft II Revisited: How Much Gaming PC Do You Need?

Test Hardware: Graphics Cards And Platform

Gigabyte GV-R587SO-1GD Radeon HD 5870 Super Overclock

With a 950 MHz core clock and 1250 MHz memory, this Super Overclock edition card boasts the highest factory frequencies we’ve seen to date on a Radeon HD 5870. It leverages a quiet and capable cooling system to offer plenty of performance without generating very much noise. You can read more about this card in our review here.

Gigabyte GV-N470SO-13I GeForce GTX 470 Super Overclock

The GV-470SO-13I is the highest-clocked GeForce GTX 470 available at the time of writing. With 700/1400/1674 MHz core/shader/memory frequencies, this is another low-noise board. It's equipped with three quiet cooling fans that facilitate low GPU temperatures and a minimal acoustic footprint. Have a look at our GV-N470SO-13I review here.

Gigabyte GV-R585OC-1GD Radeon HD 5850 Overclocked

The Radeon HD 5850 continues to provide solid gaming performance in the $300 price range. Gigabyte adds its own special sauce to the standard formula with a mild 40 Hz core overclock, resulting in a 765 MHz core and 1000 MHZ GDDR5 memory frequencies. As you can see, the company also uses its own non-reference cooling solution.

Gigabyte GV-N460OC-1GI GeForce GTX 460 Overclocked

The GeForce GTX 460 has already established itself as a strong $200-$250 offering in Nvidia’s stable, and Gigabyte’s overclocked model sports a 40 MHz core and 80 MHz shader clock rate improvement over the reference card. As with all of the other boards we've seen thus far, this one employs aftermarket cooling. For more information on how this board stacks up to the other GeForce GTX 460s out there, check out our nine-card roundup.

Gigabyte GV-R583UD-1GD Radeon HD 5830

The Radeon HD 5830 was alone at the $200 price point until Nvidia's GeForce GTX 460 arrived, and we used this specific model previously in one of our System Builder Marathon configurations. We found that the non-reference cooling system on this model resulted in a quiet, capable card. You can read about our experience with two of these graphics cards in a CrossFire configuration here.

Gigabyte GV-N240D5-512I GeForce GT 240 GDDR5

In light of the fact that Nvidia's GeForce 9600 GT has become scarce, the company's GeForce GT 240 is a much more attractive option. This particular model runs just outside of reference specifications with a 20 MHz slower shader clock. However, this makes no perceptible difference in performance compared to the standard model. It is notable that this is the only 512 MB card in our performance exploration, as all of the other cards sport at least 1 GB of RAM.

Gigabyte GV-R557OC-1GI Radeon HD 5570 DDR3 Overclocked

Gigabyte’s overclocked Radeon HD 5570 has a 30 MHz core clock rate advantage over the reference model, but the memory frequency is set 100 MHz slower than the 900 MHz reference board. This memory speed deficit is somewhat mitigated by the slight core overclock, combined with a large 1 GB frame buffer. 

Gigabyte GV-R555D3-1GI Radeon HD 5550 DDR3

The GV-R555D3-1GI is Gigabyte’s take on the Radeon HD 5550 DDR3, running the standard 550 MHz core and 800 MHz memory clocks. The card features a beefier-than-reference cooler and 1 GB of memory.

Gigabyte X58A-UD3R

Gigabyte’s X58A-UD3R motherboard offers a tantalizing mix of performance, features, and a low price that earned it our Recommended Buy Award earlier this year. This platform remains a strong choice, and we use it for our tests today.

This thread is closed for comments
    Your comment
  • duk3
    Nice article.
    I wish the i5 750 was included as a comparison.
  • Doom3klr
    5770 should run it with a 3 core amd
  • Doom3klr
    5770 should run it with a 3 core amd
  • ScoobyJooby-Jew
    a 5750+phenom II 945 runs smoothly with a mix of ultra and high settings. no aa.
  • L0tus
    The Radeon cards are clearly bested by their similarly-priced GeForce counterparts here.

    Hence why I regret my ATI purchase.

    It's good hardware but the constant driver issues & benchmarks such as these make you think twice.
  • letsgetsteve
    i wish the test was re-run with a bigger overclock so we could see how cpu limited the game really is and what card will really let it stretch its legs.
  • nativeson8803
    I wish they would have included my cpu: q9550 OC'd to 3.5Ghz

    Still relevant!
  • madass
    Are you guys sure the NV cards didnt beat the radeons due to bigger frame buffer?
  • kingnoobe
    I don't reget my ati purchase at all. I'd rather deal with driver issues *which I never seemed to have with ati only nvidia.. for some odd reason*. Then deal with crap hardware with nvidia..

    Of course this is just personal exp.

    Some games will run better with nv, and some better with ati.. Don't really care as long as I can play it smoothly. And usually 1-5 fps don't determine that.
  • dingo_d
    Doom3klr5770 should run it with a 3 core amd

    Yep it worked flawlessly on my 5770 1GB + Athlon II X3 435...
  • adonn78
    Why is there not a 5770 in the round up?
  • nilfisktun
    Well my E8400 @ 3.6Ghz, and a gtx260 seems more then capeable of playing sc2. I got everything on ultra, and it have allways been running smooth for me. Even in me vs 7 FFA insane AI opponents.
  • urlsen
    I run it just fine on my P5b deluxe 1080P,E8400,4 gb ddr2,8800 gts 320mb, win7 64.
  • "Our 6 or their 4" I'll take their 4 any day of the week.
  • gpharman
    I run it fine on my X58 Extreme3, core i7 920 @ 3.60ghz. 12GB DDR3 1600, 2 evga GTX470SC in SLI, Win 7 64 @ 1920x1080 with aa maxed on ultra.
  • letsgetsteve
    gpharmanI run it fine on my X58 Extreme3, core i7 920 @ 3.60ghz. 12GB DDR3 1600, 2 evga GTX470SC in SLI, Win 7 64 @ 1920x1080 with aa maxed on ultra.

    show off :P care you maybe share some frame rates with your bragging?
  • krolo
    Yeah i wish my 9550 was in the benchmarks to see how the core2 duo stacks up.
  • I wish the hexa cores from amd were included esp the 1090t
  • rockstone1
    My GTX 260 and Phenom II 940 (overclocked to 3.5 GHz) plays nice with Starcraft 2... Ultra setting at 1920x1080 is beautiful, and I've never seen a slow down.
  • scrumworks
    L0tusHence why I regret my ATI purchase.It's good hardware but the constant driver issues & benchmarks such as these make you think twice.

    What driver issues you are talking about? I had none. If you don't care about power consumption, temps and noise then perhaps you should consider Germi.
  • Gedoe_
    Nexus wars brings anything to its knees, even i5 + HD 5850.

    That is why i always play low quality in nexus wars.
  • jfby
    Wow. I'm continually surprised seeing the performance of the 5850 vs the 460. I'm not complaining, and I wouldn't trade the months of fun I had with my 5850 before 460 was released, but it can be a bit much to swallow to keep seeing benchmarks like this... it just gives me a chance to advise others when they make a new purchase.
  • tipoo
    *Looks at 2.1GHz Core 2 Duo and Radeon 4670*

  • xanxaz
    c2d e6600@2.4ghz and hd5850 1080P ultra detail and it's very smooth... dont know why they say it needs a dual core at 3ghz or a triple core...