AMD has been spitting out new graphics cards like crazy since launching the Radeon HD 5000 series five months ago, a record eight cards to be precise. With today's release that translates into almost two new graphics cards each month. While not every one of them has left us with a tingly sensation, the series as a whole is very impressive and has allowed them to cover almost every price point in the discrete graphics market.
At present, the Radeon HD 5450 kicks things off at around $50, followed by the 5570 at $85. As we move towards the mid-range segment we find the Radeon HD 5670 for $100, which delivers just enough power to outclass Nvidia's lackluster GeForce GT 240. Then things start to get interesting with the Radeon HD 5750 and 5770 graphics cards offering some decent gaming performance for $140 and $165, respectively.
The next step up brings the Radeon HD 5850 for $300 and Radeon HD 5870 for $400. You could say the first offers the best value proposition as far as high-end graphics cards are concerned, while the Radeon HD 5870 remains the fastest single-GPU card money can buy. Finally for those with deep pockets and aching for nothing but the best, there's the dual-GPU Radeon HD 5970 priced at around $700 -- if you can find one.
Looking at the budget and mid-range segments you'll notice that there is no more than $40 separating each card. So why the big gap between the Radeon HD 5770 and 5850? As it turns out AMD has been planning to plug this hole all along with yet another offering. The Radeon HD 5830 is expected to come in at somewhere around $250, ~15% cheaper than the 5850.
Pricing for this new card is not set in stone yet, though. As we understand it AMD has stated that pricing will be below $250, but how much lower is yet undecided. Ultimately it will likely depend on what kind of cooler the AIB (Add-In-Board) partner decides to go with and how much they modify the PCB design.
Expect custom PCB designs from different manufacturers offering the Radeon HD 5830
Our review sample from AMD closely resembles the Radeon HD 5870, but as usual other manufacturers are free to push their own designs. Gigabyte for example went with the full-length PCB covered with a massive heatsink and dual fans. HIS, Sapphire and PowerColor have all done something similar, while XFX was a bit more creative and shrunk the PCB down to make their Radeon HD 5830 no longer than the 5570.
Appearance and form factors aside, what we are most excited about is having a new Radeon HD 5800 product at more affordable price tag, that is, as long as AMD has kept the value proposition and performance balance as good as it sounds on paper. Let's find out.