Sapphire Radeon HD 5830 Extreme
Written by Michael Larabel in Graphics Cards on 12 April 2011. Page 6 of 6. 15 Comments

While the Sapphire Radeon HD 5830 Extreme at launch may already be a generation old, it comes at a great value. The Sapphire Radeon HD 5830 Extreme is set to retail for $130 USD at Internet shops such as Amazon and NewEgg. Right now there is still other Radeon HD 5830 graphics cards being sold at such Internet retailers for above $150 USD on average. This card though obviously is not from some obscure AMD AIB partner and following the reference design, but it is from the very reputable Sapphire Technology and it deviates from the HD 5830 reference design by having a very nice heatpipe-based cooling solution.

Besides being cheaper than the competition -- both HD 5830 graphics cards from other AIB vendors and then its competition in the form of the GeForce GTX 560 (the GeForce GTX 460 even goes for above $160 USD still) and slightly cheaper than a GeForce GTX 560 -- its performance is compelling as these proprietary driver benchmarks show. With it being a Radeon HD 5000 series GPU, the open-source Linux support is already mature.

Any Radeon GPU tends to have superior open-source support to NVIDIA GeForce GPUs that are only supported in open-source drivers via reverse engineering by the Linux community. The Radeon HD 5830 will play just fine with the modern Radeon graphics driver stack comprised of a recent Linux kernel and the Mesa Gallium3D driver. It "just works" very nicely and there will be open-source benchmarks to deliver in the coming days.

About the only situation where a mid-range NVIDIA GPU would suit you better is if performing extensive video playback under Linux. NVIDIA's VDPAU implementation for GPU-assisted video playback is still very superior to AMD's XvBA in the Catalyst driver, but if all you're doing is video playback, a low-end NVIDIA GPU or even Intel Sandy Bridge graphics will suit your needs fine.

If you're looking out for a new graphics card in the $100~150 USD price-range, the Sapphire Radeon HD 5830 should be a compelling graphics card to suit your needs with the open and closed-source Linux drivers to suit everyone's needs.

For more benchmarks and to compare your system's performance to the Sapphire Radeon HD 5830, you can compare these results directly using the Phoronix Test Suite and this result file.

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Michael Larabel is the principal author of and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via

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