The ATI Radeon HD 5830 sits between the 5770 and 5850 graphics cards. This version from HIS, the HIS Radeon HD 5830 iCooler V Turbo, adds overclocking and extra cooling
No-one can accuse graphics chip giant ATI of not having been busy over the last six months. Six of the ten graphics cards across our two Top 5 Charts come from ATI's collection of DirectX 11 models released over the last half-year.
But a crowded launch schedule doesn't necessarily amount to every aspect of the market being covered. Indeed, between the £125 ATI Radeon HD 5770 and the £230 ATI Radeon HD 5850, there's a rather obvious gap waiting to be filled.
And the HD 5830 could have been that very card, had it only been closer to the middle than the top of that price chasm.
Initially, the card looks rather exciting. It's a rather chunky card that'll need a reasonable amount of space.
Adorned with HDMI, DisplayPort and a pair of DVI connectors, it's very much ready for EyeFinity. Two 6-pin power connectors will be needed to run this card, although this 5830 manages to be relatively quiet during usage given its sheer size and power.
HIS uses a modified cooling system - iCooler Technology - which essentially uses two slots to draw cooler air over the internal heatsinks.
Within HIS' range alone, there are a number of different renditions of ATI's 5830. This particular model is a subtle but beneficial improvement on the standard 5830. It has a set of specifications that adhere rather closely to (and, in a number of cases, surpass) the figures laid down by the superb 5850.
There's a handsome complement of 1GB of GDDR5 high-calibre memory, while the 840MHz core clock speed is a good 115MHz up on the pricier 5850. A memory clock of 1.1GHz (which jumps to 4.4GHz when you take into account the quadrupling effect of GDDR5 memory) again betters the achievements of the typical 5850.
You can add a 256-bit memory bus to that, which matches the 5850's. The number of stream processors is less impressive, but 1120 will still represent an ample quantity for the majority of users.
In truth, though, the enhanced figures in many of these areas are there to provide a boost to a card whose architecture has been considerably pared down compared with the 5850, and which has had its rendering capabilities severely curtailed as a result.
This has a fairly dramatic effect on the speed of the 5830, and leaves it closer in some cases to the 5770 than the 5850.
In Crysis Warhead, the card scored 32 frames per second at 1680x1050 rather than the 26fps of the 5770 and the 43 of the 5850.
At a HD resolution of 1920x1200, the figure of 25 was marginally closer to the 30 of the 5850 than the 19fps of the 5770.
In Far Cry 2, the figures of 66fps and 59fps at these same two resolutions were again roughly halfway between the 52/44fps of the 5770, and the 80/73fps of the mighty 5850.
NEXT PAGE: Our expert verdict >>