Radeon HD 5970 review
Author: Luka Rakamaric
Date: 29 Jul 2010

AMD’s Radeon 5000 series has been on the market for almost a year now, and its dual GPU 5970 just a little bit less. Even with the introduction of NVIDIA’s DX11 flagship, it should - at least on paper - be the fastest card on the market. Let's see how the "on paper" thing translates to real-life performance.

Like other top 5000 series products, the 5970 is based on the Cypress GPU (RV870), of course, this time two of them. It follows roughly the same principle as the GTX 295. You get two full RV870 GPUs, but they are clocked down when compared to the top single model 5870. ATI had to clock the card down because it needed to fit into the thermal envelope of 300W, consisting of 75W supplied by the motherboard, 75W from the 6 pin connector and 150W from the 8 pin. The other thing they had to do is handpick the GPUs that go on this card, as they must be able to achieve that clock with a lower voltage than the ones on the 5850. So, you will be getting the best GPUs on this card, which means they should overclock pretty well. To help with that there’s the cooling solution only looks like the one on single GPU cards. In fact, the underlying design is quite different.

The 5970 cooler uses a vapor chamber design, that is very popular on Sapphire cards. It provides up to 400W of dissipating power, partly due to the fact that the rear exhaust is now one full slot wide. In order to achieve that, ATI had to redesign the connectors on the card. Unlike the 5870, the 5970 features only three, but since three monitors is the maximum, there should be no problems. In addition to the two standard DVI-Is, there is a MiniDisplayPort in between. The only way this configuration limits you is if you plan to use three screens, as the MiniDisplayPort needs an active adapter to work. The card doesn’t’ have the resources to power three monitors. We used Apple’s MDP->DVI-D adapter and it was working flawlessly. The downside is the pricetag, which is around $100.

Let's check out the picture of this mammoth device:



 
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