Stock Performance

For our look at stock performance, keep in mind that these cards all have different factory overclocks. The MSI Lightning is clocked at 900/1200, the Sapphire Toxic at 925/1225, and the Gigabyte Super Overclock at 950/1250. Furthermore the Sapphire Toxic has 2GB of RAM, giving it an advantage in any games that benefit from additional RAM.

At our stock settings, the lineup is more or less as we’d expect it to be. Generally the Gigabyte Super Overclock, with the highest factory overclock, edges out the other cards. The exception to this is under Crysis and Stalker at 2560, where the extra RAM on the Sapphire Toxic 2GB. However with the exception of Stalker where 2GB 5870 cards take a clear lead, all of these custom 5870s are within a few percent of each other, making the difference more academic than practical.

Even with these overclocks though, anyone expecting a significant shift in the rankings will find themselves disappointed. These overclocked cards absolutely perform better than a reference 5870, with the Sapphire, MSI, and Gigabyte cards outperforming the reference 5870 by 5%, 1.5%, and 6% respectively, but more often than not they still fall behind the next-fastest card: the GeForce GTX 480. In a couple of close situations where the GTX 480 was previously winning by a hair however, one or more overclocked 5870s can edge it out.

The Test Overclocking


View All Comments

  • KayDat - Wednesday, May 19, 2010 - link

    An interesting result...but looking at some other 5870 reviews, OC3D reviewed an XFX 5870 xXx edition ( ), which is an OC oriented card based off reference design, and they managed to get a 984MHz overclock, along with the cards stock 1300MHz memory. Would be interesting if you could take a look at that card as well. Reply
  • Nimiz99 - Wednesday, May 19, 2010 - link

    on the page for overall OC results it reads
    Sapphire Toxic 2GB: 600/1250
    MSI Lighting: 940/1300
    Gigabyte Super Overclock: 950/1325

    i think the saphire should be 960

    BTW, thank you for giving us a quick overview of the OC advantage over stock speeds. It's something I am always interested in to see if paying for the OC ability is worth it.

    Great article
  • Earthmonger - Wednesday, May 19, 2010 - link

    I was really hoping these OCs would conquer the stock GTX 480. I've been looking for a reason to NOT go nVidia this round. As a water cooler, noise and heat are irrelevant to me. Power is my only concern. 170w vs 190w at idle, and within 50w at load (Crysis)... I'm not sure that small of a difference is enough justification to buy a slower GPU.

    PS, in the test setup you list the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 260 Core 216, but have no results for it in any of the tests. Typo?
  • MadMan007 - Wednesday, May 19, 2010 - link

    It looks to me like the power draw penalty for 2GB on the Sapphire card is ~25W. Is there something else like clock speeds that are somehow being factored in or was this just a mistake? Reply
  • BlendMe - Wednesday, May 19, 2010 - link

    That's a 92mm not cm fan on the sapphire. Reply
  • Rick83 - Wednesday, May 19, 2010 - link

    and 80 mm (again, not cm) on the MSI... Reply
  • BlendMe - Wednesday, May 19, 2010 - link

    and on the Gigabyte as well... Reply
  • Ryan Smith - Wednesday, May 19, 2010 - link

    If I'm going to be wrong, at least I'm going to be consistently wrong. Reply
  • marc1000 - Thursday, May 20, 2010 - link


    every now and then, there is some joke here that makes me laugh... good article btw!

    about the overcloks, it looks like a future re-spin of the cypress running at 1ghz could overcome the Fermi.... it would be fun to see a 2 billion transistor GPU running faster than a 3 billion one....
  • Voo - Thursday, May 20, 2010 - link

    The thing is compared to Cypress Fermi overclocks exceptionally well, especially considering the fact that when it first appeared I don't think anyone thought it would. Seems like Fermi should profit a lot more from a die shrink than cypress, but let's see what NI brings to the table. Reply

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