PowerColor Radeon HD 5870 LCS: The GHz Limit, Broken

Back in 1923, mountaineer George Mallory was interviewed by the New York Times about his planned climb of the yet-unconquered Mount Everest. When Mallory was asked why he wanted to climb the mountain, he answered: "because it's there."

Yes, the new Radeon HD 5870 is a blazing-fast graphics card--the fastest single-GPU card in the world, in fact. So why would anyone in their right mind want to void their warranty in a wanton quest to squeeze out more megahertz from the beast? George knew the answer, and if you're reading this, we suspect you'll agree. Caution be damned, we want to know how far we can push the Cypress graphics processor.

We aren't going to settle for a small increase, either. We want to know just how far a reasonable human being can take the Radeon HD 5870, so standard air-cooling solutions aren't going to cut it. Nope, we're going to need something a little more effective. When you want to kick PC cooling up a notch, liquid cooling is the way to go. For more on the Radeon HD 5870 itself, check out our launch coverage right here.

It is only natural that we look to PowerColor's new Radeon HD 5870 LCS as the weapon of choice in our charge to slay the megahertz (or could it be gigahertz?) dragon. Equipped with a pre-installed EK water block, the card is factory overclocked and advertised to keep temperatures under 50 degrees Celsius at load. Let's start our overclocking journey by taking a closer look at the card.

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  • mi1ez
    How can they claim to keep temperatures below 50C? what if I live in Egypt (for example) and only have a single rad with CPU, RAM, chipset, and GPU in one loop?
  • Anonymous
    then you would be a bit of an idiot to be honet mi1ez :P
  • darkstar782
    The 5870 is memory bandwidth starved, the 4890 has half the processing and execution units but 121GB/sec of memory bandwith, while at 1250mhz the 5870 here has about 159GB/sec, a tiny increase given the doubling of processing power.

    Shame really :( They should have considered a 384bit bus.
  • darkstar782
    The issue is limited memory bandwith, the 4890 has 800 SPs and 121GB/s memory bandwidth, this 5870 has 1600 SPs and 159GB/s bandwith.

    Its doubled its processing power but only had a slight bump in ram bandwidth, so it won't perform as two 4890s
  • darkstar782
    Sorry, double post due to the site being wierd....
  • vernoncougar
    I'm using Dual TUL VTX HD5870 CrossfireX, ghz speed & memory speed is good enough guys.No need to OC :)
  • Kraynor
    Of course there's no 'need' to overclock, but where's the fun in that? Many of the regulars on this site overclock their hardware. Why? Because we can.
  • Dandalf
    This meme can never die rabid, because crysis has a bug that makes it unplayable at 2560 x 1920 with full AA and AS