ATI Radeon HD 5870: DirectX 11, Eyefinity, And Serious Speed

Cypress Becomes The Radeon HD 5800-Series

ATI is announcing two graphics cards today, the Radeon HD 5870 and the Radeon HD 5850.

For the time being, the 5870 will be ATI’s flagship offering. Armed with the Cypress graphics processor and its full 1600 ALUs intact and running at 850 MHz, the board is capable of up to 2.72 TFLOPS of compute performance. This is The Full Monty, with 80 texture units, what ATI refers to as 32 ROPs, and 1GB of GDDR5 memory clocked at 1,200 MHz. With a 4.8 Gb/s data rate, that’s 153.6 GB/s of throughput. you'll notice that this isn't a huge increase from the Radeon HD 4890. ATI claims that when the 4890 was bottlenecked, it was held back by compute performance rather than memory bandwidth. The 5870 is purportedly a better-balanced board as a result.

ATI rates the Radeon HD 5870 at 27W idle and 188W active. Compare that to the Radeon HD 4890, which sucked down 90W idle and up to 160W while active. We’ll get into just how the company cuts power consumption so drastically in just a moment, though.

The Radeon HD 5870 is a large card—longer than ATI’s already-gargantuan 4870 X2 at 11” (versus 10.5”), and just as wide, filling two expansion slots. It’s covered front and back with a black plastic shroud. The red piping and intake-looking ports on the back are purely cosmetic, as the only way to get air into the blower-type cooler is on the side of the board. This presents a challenge when it comes to cooling the first card in a CrossFire configuration without three slots between boards, and indeed led us to hit 100 degrees Celsius under load, throttling the cards.

Exhausting air isn’t much easier as a result of the 5870’s populous I/O panel. As you already know, most dual-slot boards sport a number of display outputs across one of the slots, while a vent generally spans the length of the other. Here, however, you have one DisplayPort, one HDMI, and one dual-link DVI output across one slot and a second dual-link DVI connector covering half of the second. As a result, you get just over an inch and a half of ventilation for hot air. That’s not enough, so ATI also allows air to exhaust out the top of the board, into your chassis. Next to that top-vent is a pair of CrossFire connectors, used to sling as many as four cards together.

The second card, the Radeon HD 5850, sports a 725 MHz Cypress processor with two of its SIMD arrays disabled, yielding 1,440 ALUs (18 arrays times 16 stream processors times 5 ALUs). Because the texture units are tied to the SIMD cores, the 5850 loses eight of those as well, taking the total to 72. All of the GPUs render back-ends remain in place though, so the pixel fillrate and Z/stencil rates are affected only by the lower clock rate. Also armed with 1GB of GDDR5 memory, the Radeon HD 5850’s frame buffer runs at 1 GHz, yielding a 4 Gb/s data rate and 128 GB/s total bandwidth.

The same optimizations help keep power consumption down to 27W at idle, and lower 3D clocks bring the maximum board power down to 170W.

If the scale of product photography is to be believed, the 5850 will be a shorter board, through still a dual-slot part. Unfortunately the 5850s weren’t ready for launch, but we’ll have a review posted as soon as the cards arrive. Keep an eye on this one—with a retail price of $259 and performance also claimed to be faster of the GeForce GTX 285, Nvidia might have some serious catching-up to do.

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  • Anonymous
    anyone seen these in the uk?
    1
  • jimishtar
    now this is someting. cant wait to see what nvidia will come up with.
    1
  • jimishtar
    does this mean that the prices of existing 48xx cards will go down?
    1
  • siunit
    They are scheduled for release on the 25th in the UK according to major online retailers expected stock date.
    0
  • cyber_jockey
    My god the 4870x2 finally got a rival
    1
  • Anonymous
    Smooth gaming again!?!? YAY
    0
  • plasmastorm
    available for pre order on scan.co.uk now £320
    0
  • ainarssems
    All those connectors are nice but first thing I thought when I first saw pictures was there is not enough vents on the backto cool that card properly. Hopefully some board partners will come up with versions with full PCI slot cooling. Eyfinity looks better, but all I need is two DVI connectors one for monitor and other for projector.

    Now lets see what Nvidia brings out, lets hope something competitive in performance and price. I hope prices drop by Cristhmas to £200-259 for 5870
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  • ainarssems
    At guru3d they overclocked to 925 core/ 5400 memory could not go further because of temp problems. I wonder what would they do with better cooling. 1GHZ/6GHz?...Now that would be sweet.Link: http://www.guru3d.com/article/radeon-hd-5870-review-test/26
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  • atomdrift
    ainarssemsAll those connectors are nice but first thing I thought when I first saw pictures was there is not enough vents on the backto cool that card properly. Hopefully some board partners will come up with versions with full PCI slot cooling.


    Anandtech addressed this concern in their review: "As far as the 5870 is concerned, this is solid proof that the half-slot exhaust vent isn’t going to cause any issues with cooling."
    http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=3643
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  • atomdrift
    Here's the source link to the above quotation.

    http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=3643
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  • ainarssems
    I have seen Anandtech's article, however they did hit 100C and started to throtle in /crossfire on Toms review and Guru3d temps limited overclocking so there is room for improvement in cooling.

    Also I wonder if 2GB version would perform better at high resolutions with AA
    0
  • jcwbnimble
    No Crossfire? Really? What was ATI thinking releasing a top of the line video card that can't support a major feature set? One of the major selling points is that you can run 3 displays off this one card, yet you need to Crossfire two of these to get playable frame rates. Problem, you can't Crossfire these cards (yet?).

    They should have dispensed with the third video connection in favor of extra ventilation, which it sounds like this card needs. If users are so gung ho about running 3 or more dispays, then wait for the Eyefinity card.

    Glad to see ATI releasing a product that puts a boot up Nvidia's arse, but they shouldn't have released it without solving the Crossfire issue.
    -5
  • ainarssems
    Must be mistake. Check benchmarks, they include crossfire results so it is working. They probably had the cards for some while for testing and started writing article and drivers did not support crossfire at the start and does support now. They just forgot to edit part of the article where it says that it does not support crossfire.
    0
  • shrex
    any word on when the 5670 is gonna come out
    0
  • deepblue69uk
    Yes, try www.overclockers.co.uk
    -1
  • chockimon
    £320 ouch, what a rip off and no Physx. I think this time round Nvidia's mid range card, the GTX360 will trounce all over this card from a great height.
    -4
  • wikkus
    chockimon£320 ouch, what a rip off and no Physx. I think this time round Nvidia's mid range card, the GTX360 will trounce all over this card from a great height.


    Wow, 8 minutes before the first fanboi commentard...

    As someone who holds allegiance with neither vendor -- both have a place in our house -- this looks great from a stirring-up the market perspective.

    R.
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