GIGABYTE HD 5870 Super Overclock Edition Review

Say hello to GIGABYTE’s new HD 5870 Super Overclock Edition video card that packs a stock 950MHz core frequency and a stock 5GHz memory frequency to give you the best performance in your games. This is Gigabyte's first foray into a heavily overclocked HD 5870. So how does it stand up to the GTX 480 at the same price?

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Metro 2033

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Metro 2033 is a game from developer 4A Games and published by THQ. This game runs on the in-house 4A Engine and supports DirectX 11 features. Notably, you will find Tessellation and Advanced Depth of Field supported under DX11. Also, you will find many advanced graphical features supported as well controlled by the global quality setting. For our evaluation, we have played through the entire game on all video cards and have settled on the Chapter 4 - War "Outpost" level to use as our run-through.


Highest Playable Settings

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The GIGABYTE HD 5870 Super Overclock Edition (aka SOC Edition) clearly performs faster than a standard ATI Radeon HD 5870 in Metro 2033. In fact, it allows a great deal more performance that is noticeable. However, it just isn’t quite enough to reach the playable level of the GeForce GTX 480. It is very close though, and in our apples-to-apples testing below we will show you performance at the playable setting of the GeForce GTX 480 so you can see just how close it is to playable.

When it came down to it though, we felt 1920x1200 at "Very High" in-game settings was the best combination of performance and image quality in this game on the GIGABYTE HD 5870 SOC Edition. This is also the same level the standard ATI Radeon HD 5870 was playable at. The GeForce GTX 480 was also playable at these settings, and it had enough performance in this game to also provide playable performance at 2560x1600 but with only "High" in-game settings. If this game allowed us to manually tweak the advanced graphics options, other than just simply setting a global setting, we could easily make the GIGABYTE HD 5870 SOC Edition playable at 2560x1600 as well.


Apples-to-Apples

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In this apples-to-apples test we are running the game at the playable GeForce GTX 480 levels, which is 2560x1600 No AA and "High" in-game settings.

It is quite clear the GeForce GTX 480 performs a slight bit faster in this game, but the higher clock speed of the GIGABYTE HD 5870 SOC Edition is pulling that video card closer to the GTX 480 performance than we have seen before. With some further overclocking the GIGABYTE HD 5870 SOC Edition may equal the GTX 480 in this game, which so far has leaned toward NVIDIA for performance in every evaluation. We will test this in our overclocking section with some apples-to-apples graphs.