We can see the winners in the more affordable category right away. These are the junior models of the Radeon HD 5800 series: the 5850 and the 5830. The former is almost as good as the Radeon HD 5870 in this game, except that its bottom speed is barely comfortable. But although we recorded 23 fps, we did not feel this affected the smoothness of gameplay. Considering its electrical, thermal and noise characteristics, the Radeon HD 5850 once again proves to be the most well-balanced graphics card of early 2010. The Radeon HD 5830, on its part, performs well enough for its price category, delivering a playable frame rate in Metro 2033 up to the resolution of 1680x1050. As we already know, the Radeon HD 5830 has larger dimensions (in some versions) and higher power consumption (due to the higher GPU clock rate) than those of the Radeon HD 5850, but the latter is faster. However, the more appealing price may counterbalance those drawbacks. Besides, the Radeon HD 5830 is still far more economical than the Radeon HD 4890 and, unlike it, is a full-featured DirectX 11 device.
Although not as brilliant as the more advanced solutions, the Radeon HD 5770 copes with Metro 2033 at the highest graphics quality settings if you play the game at the lowest resolution. Besides, this affordable graphics card is actually faster than the more expensive Nvidia GeForce GTX 275 whose speed bottoms out to below comfortable even at 1280x1024. The GeForce GTX 260 is even worse than that as its average speed is barely playable while the bottom frame rate is too low for comfortable play. Alas, this is one more defeat of Nvidia in the struggle against the new technologies and architectural solutions implemented by AMD’s graphics department in the ATI Radeon HD 5000 series.
It is easy to give recommendations in this product category. The Radeon HD 5850 is for those who have $350 and the Radeon HD 5830/HD 5770 are for users with smaller computer budgets. The former card can run Metro 2033 at any popular resolution including 1920x1080 and 1920x1200 at the highest graphics quality settings. The other two cards can be used to enjoy the game at the highest settings but lower resolutions. The Radeon HD 5830 looks more appealing than the Radeon HD 5770 but is also considerably more expensive.