After a grueling battle that really did go the full
twelve rounds, the epic bout between the Radeon HD 5870 and the Geforce GTX 480
comes down to a split decision.
Both videocards have excellent gaming performance, and
in older games especially the Geforce GTX 480 achieves higher frame rates than
Gigabyte's overclocked Radeon HD 5870 does. The Geforce GTX 480's tessellation
also earned some major points in the Uniengine Heaven benchmark, which uses
DirectX 11's tessellation tools to push the geometry rendering capabilities of
both of these videocards to their very limits.
However when it comes to performance in the games that
are the biggest struggle for today's videocards, recent shader-intensive games
like Crysis and STALKER in DX11 mode, Gigabyte's GVR587SO-1GD is the stronger videocard of
the pair. It's the better choice for today's games, and it looks fast enough to
hold its own as more titles introduce DX11 effects. The winner and recommended
videocard is Gigabyte's GVR587SO-1GD Radeon HD 5870 Graphics Card.
A big part of ATI's success here is thanks to
Gigabyte's efforts to push even more performance out of the Radeon HD 5870.
Extensive modifications and customization has turned ATI's stock flagship
videocard into the GVR587SO-1GD, a heavily overclocked, custom cooled
prizefighter. The build quality of the GVR587SO-1GD is excellent, with Gigabyte
selecting higher tolerance electrical components and cherry picking GPUs, to
tier 1 Hynix memory and low ESR Proadlizer capacitors.
This extra attention to build quality has made
Gigabyte's GVR587SO-1GD videocard a scrappy overclocker as well. The videocard
has already been factory tuned from 850MHz up to 950MHz, and with a bit of
voltage tuning PCSTATS was able to pump the core clock speed up to an even
The 1GB of Hynix GDDR5 memory also overclocked like a
champ, it was easy to pump it from 1.25GHz up to 1.45GHz (5.8GHz quad data
rate). Overclocking using Gigabyte's OC Guru software was straightforward, and
the ability to adjust GPU voltages from within Windows is a major plus.
Along with with its strong overclocking abilities and
speed, the GVR587SO-1GD also bring the special features of the Radeon HD 5800
family, which includes support for DisplayPort and EyeFinity. DisplayPort makes
it possible to hook up as many as three DisplayPort-based monitors at once by
daisy chaining them together, and with Eyefinity mode enabled you can tile
separate screens into one giant display for gaming.
With both Gigabyte's GVR587SO-1GD and the Geforce GTX
480 sharing a retail price of around $510 CDN ($500 USD, £350 GBP),
it's difficult to declare a clear winner. Both videocards have their strengths,
with the NVIDIA card doing better in scenarios with extreme tessellation and in
raw geometry power. The GVR587SO-1GD hits back with excellent performance in
real world gaming benchmarks and shader intensive titles. Ultimately, Gigabyte's
GVR587SO-1GD videocard gets my vote thanks to its lower power consumption and
noise levels, excellent overclockability and Gigabyte's superb build quality in
this non-reference design... but make no mistake that this was a very close
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