It has taken me days to get my head around the HD 5970 name. I was one of those people who had in my head that it was simply going to be called the HD 5870 X2; it seemed the logical name since it's what ATI has used in the past. I've written everything from HD 5790 to HD 5970 trying to get my brain and my fingers working together and I have to give myself a tap on the back that I'm now getting it right.
I think the biggest problem is that NVIDIA are enjoying being a bit of a pain in the ass by releasing their new low end models a day before the new high end models from ATI. One side of you says 'why am I testing a GT 200 series model when HD 5970 is sitting next to me?'; the other half is telling me that you've got to take the exciting with the non exciting. I'm not trying to take anything away from the NVIDIA series cards and their new GT 200 models that have impressed us, but come on; we all love high end models.
Anyway, back on topic. We've got the HD 5970 on our hands. This is not a new single GPU offering as the name might suggest; it's instead the new dual GPU offering which one would say replaces the previous dual GPU offering from ATI. However, the new single GPU offerings did a good job of that.
The HD 5970 is ultimately what the previous X2 offerings are and what the GTX 295 to NVIDIA has been for a long time. They're about a company getting on top of the soap box and shouting out at the top of their lungs, "We're the fastest".
Dual GPU cards are a bit of a mixed bag for me. While I think they're a bit of a lazy mans model to create the fastest product on the market, I'm at the point now that there's no point fighting it. Instead, let's just embrace the power that's on offer from a card that only uses a single PCI-E slot on your motherboard.
With all that said and done, let's get into the package of the Sapphire HD 5970 we have on our hands today before having a closer look at the card itself, its specifications and the power it offers us.