Gigabyte R585OC Video Card Review

The Gigabyte R585OC offers a new generation of inclined cooling fans, Ultra Durable components, and higher GPU frequencies. We test against a stock clock Radeon HD 5850 and a GeForce GTX 470 in Splinter Cell Conviction, Metro 2033, Battlefield Bad Company 2, and Aliens vs. Predator.

Introduction

Gigabyte is familiar to most PC hardware enthusiasts. They were founded in 1986 by a team of eight electronics engineers. At first, they specialized only in motherboard design. In a few short years, they expanded their product lineup to include graphics cards, notebooks, communications equipment, network servers, computer chassis', and bunch of other PC components.

Today we are going to be taking a look at Gigabyte’s unique vision of the Radeon HD 5850: the Gigabyte R585OC. Specifically this unique vision includes high quality parts coupled with a dual fan cooling solution that promises to deliver up to 27% cooler temperatures.

Article Image

ATI Radeon HD 5000 Series

AMD has not disappointed of late with a myriad of video cards all based on the Radeon HD 5000 series, their next generation GPU technology. AMD’s most recent launch was the ATI Radeon HD 5830, however its first two launches of the series the Radeon HD 5870 and 5850 still represent the fastest single GPU video cards that AMD has to offer. The HD 5850 launched on September 30, 2009, it has full DX11 support based on the TeraScale 2 architecture, full Eyefinity support, and have impressive power management features.

NVIDIA finally joined the DX11 party just this past March with the GeForce GTX 470 and 480. The GeForce GTX 470 is the competition of any Radeon HD 5850 so let’s spec them both out to see what we will be working with. Both video cards use the 40nm manufacturing process and GDDR5 memory. That is the end of the similarities though with Radeon HD 5850 having a GPU clocked at 725MHz (vs. 608MHz) and 1024MB (vs. 1280MB) of memory on a 256-Bit (vs. 320-Bit) bus at 1GHz (vs. 837MHz). The HD 5850 also has 32 (vs. 40) ROPs, 1440 (vs. 448) Stream Processors, a Pixel fill rate of 23.2GPixel/s (vs. 24.3GPixel/s), and a Texture fill rate of 52.2GTexel/s (vs. 32.4GTexel/s).

These products are are built on two entirely different architectures. The only real way to see who will really perform better in a game is to play the game. So after we take a quick look at the Gigabyte R5850OC we will do exactly that.

Gigabyte R585OC

We haven’t had a Gigabyte video card on our test bench in a few years. So today we are quite excited about having the Gigabyte R585OC. The R585OC represents Gigabyte’s unique take on the Radeon HD 5850 with not just an ordinary dual fan cooling solution but as they say a "New Generation Inclined Cooling Fan" that promises to lower the temperature by up to 27%! Gigabyte has also included its Ultra Durable VGA program and used a 2oz copper PCB, solid capacitors, tier 1 Samsung/Hynix memory, low RDS (on) MOSFET, and ferrite core \\ metal chokes.

Using a better cooling solution and higher quality components are two things we are always happy to see and hope that they foretell a better overclocking experience. In fact Gigabyte has already done some overclocking for us. The R585OC ships with a GPU frequency of 765MHz, 40MHz over that of the reference specification. The memory unfortunately is still only clocked at the reference 1GHz. While only a small boost in the GPU’s frequency is disheartening hopefully we can more than make up for it when we take overclocking into our own hands.

Article Image Article Image Article Image Article Image

First and foremost we have no clue what the designers of this box were thinking but glitter is always a bad idea unless you are trying to sell to that preteen girl market. The glitter and reflective finish of this box makes everything unreadable unless you sit there for a minute trying to angle the box just right. Otherwise all you are going to see is the reflection of the overhead lights and a rainbow of glitter in front of the text you are trying to read.

In spite of the glitter problem Gigabyte’s marketing department has a done a good job at advertising the Ultra Durable VGA program on the box. There is a quick list of the improvements on the front and on the back there is a section that goes over each one in detail. They weren’t however as gracious to the dual fan cooling solution with only 2.25"x1" picture, vague "New Generation Inclined Cooling Fan" text, and a logo that promises it is up 27% cooler. There is no mention of it on the back of the box nor is there any picture of the video card with it installed. Additionally, as we have come to expect from all manufacturers, there are no frequencies listed and only a few minor specifications given.

Article Image Article Image Article Image Article Image

Gigabyte’s dual fan cooling solution isn’t gaudy and has a black plastic shell with sleek curves. The heatsink has a copper base with copper heatpipes coming out of it and then going into the fins which are aluminum. We do feel there are some notable design draw backs though. First there is no direct ducting of hot air to outside of your case. So good exhaust from your case is must, else it will just be recycling its own hot air. Secondly there are no heatsinks or even a heat spreader on the memory chips and with the fans angled away it is doubtful those get much airflow.

The Gigabyte R585OC is 10" long and takes up two PCI slots. It uses the standard PCI connector configuration with dual DVI ports stacked on top of each other then the HDMI and DiplayPort on the side. The R585OC has both 6-pin auxiliary power connectors coming out the top. So while it is .25" longer than a reference HD 5850 the power connectors coming out of the top of the card instead of the tail end more than makes up for it.

Article Image Article Image Article Image

The back of the Gigabyte R585OC was left uncovered and we can see the four bolts that hold down the heatsink It comes with a User’s Manual, a Driver CD, a DVI to D-Sub adapter, two 2 4-pin to 6-pin power adapter, and a Crossfire bridge.