Having a look at the card, it looks very similar to a lot of the top HD 5000 series models including the HD 5770, HD 5850 and HD 5870. The same changes are seen here as the other ones; as we've become more powerful the card and cooler has become longer.
Hanging over the end of our motherboard, you may find yourself wrestling to fit this bad boy in your case. As for the rest of the design, there isn't much going on. Sapphire, as always, has included a sticker on the cooler that is similar to the front of the box.
If we flip the card over quick we can see clearly where our two cores sit. Again, this is really identical to the HD 5870 with the only difference being that we can see the PCB in two locations instead of just the one.
It's good to know we don't need a whole heap of power connectors to get this card up and running. While the HD 5870 does use a dual 6-Pin setup, the HD 5970 does require an 8-Pin alongside a single 6-Pin connector. This shouldn't be an issue for most people purchasing the card, as we hope that they have got themselves a decent power supply.
Being a dual GPU card, there's of course a slight change to the CrossFire connector. Due to CrossFireX supporting up to a maximum of four GPUs, there's no point having two connectors. Instead we just have the one which lets two cards play nice together.
I have to admit I was a bit curious as to what ATI would do with the I/O interface. Since we are dealing with two GPUs I'm sure they didn't want to limit the amount of vents on the card. What they've done is dropped the native HDMI port and standard DisplayPort and added a Mini DisplayPort between the two Dual-Link DVI connectors.
This of course gives the card a lot more breathing room when compared to the HD 5870. If you find yourself worried by the fact that you don't have a Mini DisplayPort, in case you missed it on page 2 Sapphire has included a Mini DP to full size DP convertor in the bundle. It's also pretty safe to assume most companies will offer this.
It comes as no surprise that ATI has down clocked the HD 5970 when compared to the HD 5870. Just how much has it been down clocked? - Well, a fair bit to be honest. The core comes in at 725MHz which is way down on the stock 850MHz that the HD 5870 comes in at.
As for the memory, that's dropped a fair bit as well; 200MHz or 800MHz QDR which sounds a whole lot scarier. With that said, Sapphire has taken the time to overclock the card. The core has jumped a whole 10MHz and the memory has been increased 40MHz QDR. This isn't really much of an overclock, but its speed is above the standard. We hope that in a later article we can see what a real overclock looks like.
What you ultimately have is two HD 5870s on a single PCB that have been down clocked to HD 5850 speeds. We don't want to say you have two HD 5850s, because the core specifications are the same as HD 5870 with 1600 shaders and 80 texture units. They have just simply been down clocked to combat any issues with heat.
As for the rest of the specifications, it's nothing you haven't seen before. We've got all the same specs as the HD 5870 and feature set including DirectX 11 support.