Normally we would get our reference ATI product in time for the launch, but I think with holidays and the fact that we already had a retail version ready for the NDA lift, along with the fact that the model probably doesn't draw the same attention as some of the higher end ones, it came a little later than normal.
It did arrive, however, and that is ultimately what matters. It's just a matter of deciding what we're going to do with it. Having already looked at one HD 5670 and being impressed with what the model is able to do for its $99 price tag, we'll have to see how the ATI reference one looks.
While reference cards tend to be a bit boring in many ways, it's good to look at them all the same; they set a base point of which each variant of the card can be compared against. It's good to know how much better companies coolers are when compared to a reference one along with performance numbers when comparing to an overclocked version.
We'll decide what to do with it in just a few moments. Before we do that, we'll have a quick look at the card itself and the specifications. Since the model is a reference one, there's no package to look at this time around, so let's get stuck into the card.
Video CardVideo Card
Having a look at the card, you really get that cheaper feel to the series due to the smaller fan and single slot design. Most of the PCB is visible and we know for a fact that the little fan here is going to cause more noise than we prefer because of the nature of the design.
When we looked at the Sapphire HD 5670 we were impressed with the cooling option they opted for. Today we might get a chance to see how that setup compares to the stock one here. And while it being single slot which is going to be handy for some, the noise may be an issue. We'll find out exact numbers soon enough.
Like the Sapphire version, we again have no extra power requirements for the model. What's missing, though, is a CrossFire connector. While the technology is still supported, adding the physical CrossFire connector costs more money so it's a way for companies to save a few dollars which in turn means you save a few dollars. Just make sure you keep an eye out for the one you buy since if you're thinking about some budget CrossFire action, you may prefer the connectors.
Connectivity doesn't hold any surprises with a Dual-Link DVI, DisplayPort and HDMI port all being seen and giving us the ability to run EyeFinity. The big thing to remember here compared to the Sapphire one we looked at is while both only use a single slot for connectivity, the Sapphire does require two slots in your case due to the bigger fan.
Since the Sapphire one we looked at followed the reference clocks and the reference one is of course going to follow those same clocks, you won't find any real surprises here with the core coming in at the same 775MHz.
The GDDR5 also comes in at the same 4000MHz QDR clock, although in this case we only have 512MB on hand versus the 1GB that we saw on the Sapphire version.
Test System Setup and 3DMark VantageTest System Setup
Processor(s): Intel Core i7 920 @ 3.8GHz (190MHz x 20)
Cooling: Noctua NH-U12P (Supplied by Noctua)
Motherboard(s): GIGABYTE EX58-UD5 (Supplied by GIGABYTE)
Memory: 3 X 2GB Kingston Hyper X PC3-16000 2000MHz DDR CL9 (Supplied by Kingston)
Hard Disk(s): Western Digital 640GB SATA 2.0 HDD (Supplied by Western Digital)
Operating System: Windows 7
Drivers: ATI Catalyst Redwood Beta, Catalyst 9.12
I originally wrote in a blog post that I was going to test this HD 5670 in CrossFire to see how some budget CrossFire action goes. Once I discovered that I was dealing with a 512MB version of the card along with the fact that this model also had no CrossFire connectors, it was time to go back to the drawing board.
Everything actually worked out for the better, though. With both the Sapphire and the ATI card carrying the same clock rates, it was a good chance for us to see how the 512MB reference model compares against the 1GB version from Sapphire.
These days we see too many cards come with too much memory. The problem is that the mentality behind so many people is that more is better. For the most part it is better, but is 1% better worth the extra money? - So what we'll do today is compare the two cards against each other and see if you can save some money by buying a 512MB version of the card instead of a 1GB one. We've thrown in the HD 5750 for good measure as well.
Let's get started!
Version and / or Patch Used: 1.0.1
Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com
Product Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com/products/3dmarkvantage/
Buy It Here
3DMark Vantage is the new industry standard PC gaming performance benchmark from Futuremark, newly designed for Windows Vista and DirectX10. It includes two new graphics tests, two new CPU tests, several new feature tests, and support for the latest hardware.
3DMark Vantage is based on a completely new rendering engine, developed specifically to take full advantage of DirectX10, the new graphics API from Microsoft.
In Vantage you can see that both cards perform very close to each other. The Sapphire with its extra memory is able to pull out the win here.
Unigine Heaven Benchmark (DX10 & DX11)Unigine Heaven Benchmark
Version and / or Patch Used: 1
Developer Homepage: http://www.unigine.com
Product Homepage: http://unigine.com/products/unigine
New benchmark grants the power to unleash the DirectX 11 potential in the gift wrapping of impressively towering graphics capabilities. It reveals the enchanting magic of floating islands with a tiny village hidden in the cloudy skies. With the interactive mode emerging experience of exploring the intricate world is ensured within reach. Through its advanced renderer, Unigine is one of the first to set precedence in showcasing the art assets with tessellation, bringing compelling visual finesse, utilizing the technology to the full extend and exhibiting the possibilities of enriching 3D gaming.
Note: If a card doesn't support DirectX 11 the benchmark will be left out. If it does it will be included along with the DirectX 10 results.
Direct X 10
Direct X 11
The performance is close again, but in this case you couldn't even call a winner with almost nothing separating the two cards.
Benchmarks - CINEBENCH R10CINEBENCH R10
Version and / or Patch Used: Release 10
Developer Homepage: http://www.maxon.net/
Product Homepage: http://www.maxon.net
CINEBENCH is a real-world test suite that assesses your computer's performace capabilities. MAXON CINEBENCH is based on MAXON's award-winning animation software, CINEMA 4D, which is used extensively by studios and production houses worldwide for 3D content creation. MAXON software has been used in blockbuster movies such as Spider-Man, Star Wars, The Chronicles of Narnia and many more.
MAXON CINEBENCH runs several tests on your computer to measure the performance of the main processor and the graphics card under real world circumstances. The benchmark application makes use of up to 16 CPUs or CPU cores and is available for Windows (32-bit and 64-Bit) and Macintosh (PPC and Intel-based).
The HD 5670 512MB performs as you would expect any ATI card to with it lining up with both of the other cards we tested here.
Benchmarks - Resident Evil 5Resident Evil 5
Version and / or Patch Used: Demo Benchmark
Developer Homepage: http://www.capcom.com
Product Homepage: http://www.residentevil.com
Resident Evil 5 is a survival horror video game developed and published by Capcom. The game is the seventh installment in the Resident Evil survival horror series, and was released on September 18. Resident Evil 5 revolves around Chris Redfield and Sheva Alomar as they investigate a terrorist threat in Kijuju, a fictional town in Africa.
We can see that the 512MB version falls a little behind, but nothing that is going to affect your gaming experience.
Benchmarks - Far Cry 2Far Cry 2
Version and / or Patch Used: 1.03
Timedemo or Level Used: Ranch Long
Developer Homepage: http://www.ubi.com
Product Homepage: http://www.farcry2.com
Buy It Here
The Dunia Engine was built specifically for Far Cry 2 by the award-winning Ubisoft Montreal development team. It delivers the most realistic destructible environments, amazing special effects such as dynamic fire propagation and storm effects, real-time night-and-day cycle, dynamic music system, non-scripted enemy A.I. and so much more.
We again see performance is very close here. At the lower resolution the 512MB is a little ahead in the minimum and a little slower at the higher resolution.
Benchmarks - World in ConflictWorld in Conflict
Version and / or Patch Used: 188.8.131.52
Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in Test
Developer Homepage: http://www.massive.se
Product Homepage: http://www.worldinconflict.com
World in Conflict is a real-time strategy video game by Massive Entertainment and to be published by Sierra Entertainment for Windows (DX9 and DX10).
The game is set in 1989 where economic troubles cripple the Soviet Union and threaten to dissolve it. However, the title pursues a "what if" scenario where, in this case, the Soviet Union does not collapse and instead pursues a course of war to remain in power. It is an intensive new game that is sure to put plenty of stress on even the latest graphics cards. We use the built-in benchmarking for our testing.
We can see here that the performance on both HD 5670s is identical at both resolutions.
Benchmarks - Batman Arkham AsylumBatman Arkham Asylum
Version and / or Patch Used: 1.1
Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in Test
Developer Homepage: http://www.rocksteadyltd.com
Product Homepage: http://www.batmanarkhamasylum.com
Batman: Arkham Asylum exposes players to a unique, dark and atmospheric adventure that takes them to the depths of Arkham Asylum - Gotham's psychiatric hospital for the criminally insane. Gamers will move in the shadows, instigate fear amongst their enemies and confront The Joker and Gotham City's most notorious villains who have taken over the asylum.
Using a wide range of Batman's gadgets and abilities, players will become the invisible predator and attempt to foil The Joker's demented scheme.
Batman: Arkham Asylum features an original story penned exclusively for the game by famous Batman author and five-time Emmy award winner Paul Dini, whose credits include Lost season one and Batman: The Animated Series.
Note: With support for PhysX NVIDIA based cards will be tested with the technology on and off, while ATI cards will be tested with the technology off due to it not being supported on their cards.
Apart from the 1920 x 1200 minimum which is slightly up on the 512MB version, the results of the two HD 5670s are identical.
Benchmarks - Darkest of DaysDarkest of Days
Version and / or Patch Used: 1.4
Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in Test
Developer Homepage: http://www.phantomefx.com
Product Homepage: http://www.darkestofdays.com
Darkest of Days takes the player through time into historic battles in an effort to save key individuals from certain death. The battles range from Custer's Last Stand at the Battle of the Little Bighorn in 1876 to fighting in Pompeii as ash and fire rain down from an erupting Mt. Vesuvius in 79 AD. Other locations include the battles of Antietam and Tannenberg, and a German World War II P.O.W. camp. There are different missions in every time period and the game takes about 4 hours to complete.
The game features over twenty weapons, both from the original time period as well as those brought back from the future. In addition, there are artillery weapons from different time periods to assist in battle.
Note: With the PhysX set to Medium or High, Darkest of Days takes advantage of the NVIDIA PhysX abilities. For that reason we will test ATI cards at the Low preset, while NVIDIA based cards will be tested at Low and High.
PhysX set to Low
A little lower at 1680 x 1050, a little higher at 1920 x 1200; there's very little difference between the two versions.
Benchmarks - BattleForgeBattleForge
Version and / or Patch Used: Auto Patched at Load
Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in Test
Developer Homepage: http://www.ea.com
Product Homepage: http://www.battleforge.com
The Gods have disappeared and the old sun has died, letting a vile twilight engulf the world of Nyn. In exchange for all treasures the mortals possessed, the evil giants agreed to forge a new sun and hurl it into the sky.
But the deal was betrayed, the treasure stolen and now the mortals flee the wrath of the giants. Under the light of a new sun the mortals stumble into a world changed and twisted by an age of twilight. The long journey home has become a conquest of survival.
Note: Supporting DirectX 11, we have separated the graphs for NVIDIA and ATI cards. While the numbers between the two brands can be compared, you have to make note that ATI based HD 5000 series cards are running DirectX 11.
DirectX 11 (ATI HD 5000 Series Only)
Again, both cards perform extremely close to each other with not even a frame separating the two.
Temperature and Sound TestsTemperature Tests
With the TES 1326 Infrared Thermometer literally in hand we found ourselves getting real-world temperatures from the products we test at load (3D clock speeds).
There are two places we pull temperature from - the back of the card directly behind the core and if the card is dual slot and has an exhaust point we also pull a temperate from there, as seen in the picture.
It doesn't come as any real surprise that the little fan doesn't do as good a job when it comes to cooling the card. Compared to the Sapphire version and its Arctic Cooling fan, the numbers don't look great at all. Of course, 56c isn't anything too worrying.
Pulling out the TES 1350A Sound Level Meter we find ourselves quickly yelling into the top of it to see how loud we can be.
After five minutes of that we get a bit more serious and place the device two CM away from the fan on the card to find the maximum noise level of the card when idle (2D mode) and in load (3D mode).
Not only does the card run hotter, but it also manages to make more noise.
Power Consumption TestsPower Consumption Tests
Using our new PROVA Power Analyzer WM-01 or "Power Thingy" as it has become quickly known as to our readers, we are now able to find out what kind of power is being used by our test system and the associated graphics cards installed. Keep in mind; it tests the complete system (minus LCD monitor, which is plugged directly into AC wall socket).
There are a few important notes to remember though; while our maximum power is taken in 3DMark06 at the same exact point, we have seen in particular tests the power being drawn as much as 10% more. We test at the exact same stage every time; therefore tests should be very consistent and accurate.
The other thing to remember is that our test system is bare minimum - only a 7,200RPM SATA-II single hard drive is used without CD ROM or many cooling fans.
So while the system might draw 400 watts in our test system, placing it into your own PC with a number of other items, the draw is going to be higher.
Power draw is a little higher on the reference model, but like the other numbers it isn't anything too worrying.
Final ThoughtsFinal Thoughts
Looking at the HD 5670 512MB reference card, this cements the fact that we're still too interested in cards with more memory than we really need to be. You can clearly see that the difference an extra 512MB of GDDR5 memory brings is really nothing. Unfortunately this isn't going to change the fact that we still want 1GB versions of cards that really only need 512MB.
If you're interested in saving some money, you shouldn't be worried about getting a 512MB version over a 1GB one with performance being almost identical between the two. In saying that, though, if you want to keep the temperatures down along with noise levels, it would be worth having a look at something that uses an aftermarket cooler.
Don't forget that if you go down that path, you'll probably end up with a dual slot card so if this is something you want to avoid, make sure you double check the cooler to see if it's dual or single slot or look at a card that uses the reference cooler.
Aimed for people who want to get EyeFinity on the cheap or simply want to do a bit of gaming at medium detail with resolutions of 1680 x 1050 or below, the HD 5670 continues to offer great value for money. While we would probably avoid the reference cooler, if a single slot option is a must it's not going to be the end of the world. Just know that we've already got companies out there offering better performing dual slot coolers.
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