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Sapphire Radeon HD 5870 1GB Graphics Card

By: Shawn Baker | AMD Radeon GPU in Video Cards | Posted: Sep 23, 2009 4:00 am
TweakTown Rating: 95%Manufacturer: SapphireTech

Video Card


While the HD 4890 cooler took up the majority of the card, the HD 5870 cooler takes up the entire card in kind of a shroud, much like the GTX 200 series from NVIDIA. We see there's a fan on the far right which pushes cool air directly across the top of the GPU.




In typical fashion we see Sapphire have mixed up the overall design of the cooler by adding their own sticker to the unit which lets us know the brand and the model.




Moving around to the back of the card, we can see two little holes; these help the fan draw the cool air in that is used to keep our GPU temperatures down and also just give a bit more room for the heat to vent out of. This is a slightly new design as typically the air just comes in where the fan is. Of course, if you're running two cards next to each other all it's doing is drawing the hot air that's generated off the back of the second card.




Continuing to have a look around the card, there isn't anything that we haven't really seen before. Moving to the back of the card, the HD 5870 requires two 6-Pin PCI Express power connectors to get up and running.




Staying across the top but moving closer to the front, we can see our two Crossfire connectors that give us the ability to run up to three of these cards together. While we won't be making use of them today, we intend to in the immediate future.




Finally, we leave with a quick look at the I/O ports. Here we've got two Dual-Link DVI connectors along with a native HDMI port and Display Port. The card is able to handle a maximum of six display port connectors which in turn gives us the ability to run up to six monitors. In this setup we're able to run three monitors, one of each of the Dual-Link DVI connectors and a third of the display port. This new multi monitor technology is called Eyefinity; we won't really be going into it today, but it's something that we'll be diving into further in the future.




This is really what it all comes down to, the specifications. The main thing we want to know is how the HD 5870 has been improved against the HD 4890. First things first, the new HD 5870 is based on 40nm technology which should give us the ability to achieve higher clocks while running cooler than the HD 4890s 55nm core.


Another one of the big features is the Stream Processing Units. The HD 4890 had a huge 800 of them, but the HD 5870 has really gone to town on this number and doubled that to a whopping 1600.




Looking at the clocks, it's interesting to see that the core has remained at the same 850MHz. Considering the move to a 40nm core, we thought this is one of the first pieces of spec to start heading north. What has moved, however, is the memory clock. While we're still sporting 1GB of GDDR5, the clocks move from 970MHz (3900MHz QDR) to a fairly impressive 1200MHz (4800MHz QDR). The GDDR5 does still run on the same 256-bit bus.


Other key changes to the HD 5870 when compared to the HD 4890 (in brackets) include 2.15 billion transistors (965 million), Direct X 11 support (DX 10.1), Shader Model 5.0 (SM 4.1), 27.2 Gigapixel / sec pixel fill rate (13.6 GPixel/s) and 32 ROPs (16 ROPs).


What all these should result in is a fairly impressive increase in performance. The two areas that should help the most is the doubling in stream processors and the big jump in memory clock speed.


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