Gigabyte Radeon HD 5870 1GB Crossfire


Gigabyte LogoOkay, so over the last few weeks we have established (see here and here) that ATi's brand new Radeon HD 5870's are somewhat competent. In a nutshell, Team Red has successfully taken the crown of “fastest single GPU graphics card” and won the race for DX11 compliance (erm, DX11 games, feel free to arrive by the dozen if you could...). Most importantly, this has all been rolled into a ~170W TDP package that is almost as quiet as the mouse that's raiding my packs of McCoys in the cupboards. Ho hum, perhaps somewhat competent is a bit of an understatement after all. For the first of it's generation, ATi seem to have done a rather good job especially when one compares previous graphics card generations and think about the times when it wasn't until the graphics card in question was "refreshed" as an improved solution that an initially half baked product was now just right. We can actually take a page straight out of ATi's books as far as that one is concerned and it wasn't particularly long ago. Think Radeon HD 2900XT followed by the HD 3850/3870 that soon followed. Very much the same core architecture, but improved core clocks and a die shrink that finally made it a sensible option. Let's not dwell on the past however as we're meant to be complementing Team red for releasing a quality product that depending on how nVidia's "Fermi" DX11 graphics card pans out may send them back to the glory days of the performance leading Radeon 9700 Pro and also the infamous GeForce FX 5000's....that were infamous for all the wrong reasons...
I'm not here to brown nose ATi till the cows come home however and as the title may suggest we are not talking about just one Radeon HD 5870. We're revisiting ATi CrossfireX but now with a pair of their finest sitting on our table. I wish to cast your mind back to 2004, which saw the introduction of Multi GPU technology for the gaming masses. It went by the name of nVidia SLI technology. ATi followed suit with it's own "Crossfire" technology that worked by means of a slave card and a complex “crossfire edition” card, where both were then linked externally and outside of the case. Truth be told, Crossfire was somewhat unpopular because of this but this soon changed just over a year later when they brought out their value for money Radeon X1950 Pro graphics card, which took inspiration from nVidia's SLI Bridge. Since then, Crossfire had gained much needed attention and popularity and a couple of generations later, here we are with the technology embedded in our Radeon HD 5870 samples and so this brings me back to the review. Why settle for just one HD 5870 when you can have two? Is such a monstrous pairing the answer to a truly fluid gaming experience in just about everything? With a pair of 1600 stream processor cores ploughing away with two dedicated banks of 1GB GDDR5, we believe that this could be very interesting indeed.
ATi Radeon HD 4890ATi Radeon HD 4890 CrossfireATi Radeon HD 5870
ATi Radeon HD 5870 Crossfire
Core NameRV770RV770RV870RV870
Core Frequency850MHz850MHz850MHz850MHz
Stream Processors
8002 x 80016002 x 1600
Memory Frequency3800MHz3800MHz4800MHz4800MHz
Memory Interface256bit256bit256bit256bit
ROP Count162 x 16322 x 32
TMU Count402 x 40802 x 80
It goes without saying but Gigabyte need no introduction thanks to a wide range of motherboards, coolers and obviously as a top tier graphics card partner as well. The brand is an add in board partner for both ATi and nVidia based video cards and has sold both reference based cards and their own derivatives of the same that feature custom PCB's, Heatsinks and varying Memory IC's. With years of experience under their belt, one would be tempted to feel optimistic about the quality of this particular product. Let's turn over to examine the Gigabyte Radeon HD 5870 1GB.
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Most Recent Comments

24-10-2009, 08:36:29

Some really good figures going on there. The scaling does indeed look pretty impressive.

Good review.

Does xfire suffer the same casualty as sli in so much as if there's "a profile" for a game, the performance is that much better ?

lmao @ MSFX, one probable exception where a 16 core dual zeon setup with 16g will do u better than a smart gfxcard.

It's perhaps tiring review-wize to have to pre-qualify each game with "old..", "a bit older..". With a bunch of games coming (if schedules hold up) in Q1'10 that support Dx11, it might be worth thinking of consolidating the range of games used by OC3D as benchmarkers. Worth holding onto 1/2 Dx9 ? Maybe. Hold onto 1/2 Dx10 ? Probably. And I would imagine the earlier Dx11 releases would be asked to have bench markers built into them.

Great stuff.Quote

24-10-2009, 08:44:55

When the DX11 games come through you can expect to see a new batch of reviews Rast and the games we use for benches change also. I for one am very interested in what Dirt2 for example plays like in DX10 vs DX11 mode. We shall see.Quote

24-10-2009, 08:54:31

Originally Posted by name='tinytomlogan'
When the DX11 games come through you can expect to see a new batch of reviews Rast and the games we use for benches change also. I for one am very interested in what Dirt2 for example plays like in DX10 vs DX11 mode. We shall see.
yes tom! dirt2 was on my mind also as soon as you mentioned dx11! Quote

24-10-2009, 15:26:56

Epic review dude.

Am loving that design on the card.

600fps in CoD4?

Who needs that much?Quote

24-10-2009, 17:36:28

5870 CF? *puts on Clarkson voice* ... POWAAAAAAHHHHHHH.

Yipes that is just stupendously powerful.

I definitely think that you need to find games that are harder on the graphics. Or perhaps even the whole system. COD4 hitting 600 makes that bench utterly worthless now. Might as well bench Quake 2

Dirt (original) is heavy on systems, so I imagine Dirt2 will be too. Maybe swap Grid for Dirt2, or even NFS Shift.

Crysis and Far Cry 2 still get it done in FPS terms. Can't think of much in the immediate future that's close. Apart from Crysis2 obviously.

CoH is still heavy for RTS' although Dawn of War II can potentially push a system harder.

Mirrors Edge can be hefty with decent settings, even if it is old.

I've not tried Flashpoint 2 or the new update for Stalker, but I imagine they'll be pretty hefty too.

I certainly think the time to retire Grid, Quake and COD4 has come.Quote

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