Radeon HD 5870 CrossfireX test review
Posted by Hilbert Hagedoorn on: 09/24/2009 01:00 PM [ 0 comment(s) ]
Yowzers -- I think I just felt something move in my trousers. Okay, so in the past we've talked a lot about dual-GPU gaming and the issues that come along with it. ATI's big challenge is that new games require a driver update or hotfix to become multi-GPU compatible. We are nearly a year away from the moment when the 4870 X2 was released, and it is with some frustration that I still have to report that ATI still has not implemented user based multi-GPU profiles. E.g. if a totally hot new game you just picked up is not yet supported by the driver, you could create your own profile and maximize performance. ATI... dudes... get that done, this is getting embarrassing.
Is there a flipside to this red colored coin? Yes -- ATI releases a driver each month, and with the bigger games they often release hotfixes enabling multi-GPU support for the hottest titles.
Overall stability and issues then -- well we really had nothing worrying whatsoever. We did notice a small glitch in Anno 1404. But overall, looking at the big picture, the stability and compatibility was exemplary. So that's definitely worth mentioning. Two years ago I was complaining a lot about driver issues, but yeah... ATI has improved their driver model really well. Props to the Catalyst team for that.
GPU scaling; as this article has proven performance is downright banging... we have so much horsepower underneath that PC hood that games will start to become bottlenecked by an overclocked Core i7 processor, which is weird yet... sexy somehow. A CPU bottleneck is not necessarily a bad thing really, as games progress and develop to a more advance state, it will balance out evenly again. The one title that I hoped would scale a little better was Crysis Warhead, but still, the performance was really good regardless of that remark.
So yes, we are pretty happy about performance scaling as shown today. It's of course a logical conclusion, I mean if one GPU (5870) already is very impressive, then surely you don't have to be Einstein to understand that two cards will kick ass, if the manufacturer has the driver right of course. In the future we might do a dirty little threesome as well, but we need an additional board for that.
Let's talk money then, now I can't say that I really would recommend anyone to drop 750~800 Bucks (USD) on a CrossfireX setup to achieve this kind of performance -- just to play games. Really one card already is fast enough for any game to date. But granted, this is Guru3D... and you are as nasty as I am, you guys are the fetishists of hardware, the blokes and dudettes that want shock and awe in the PC, create graphics mayhem, create graphics havoc. And a setup like shown today might be overkill; yet we all know it just tastes so darn good (!)
When you purchase two of these puppies and put them in CrossfireX, don't be shy... post your photos and experiences in our forums, you are our kind of people, you are Gurus -- you are amongst friends.
On that note I like to thank HIS Technology for quickly submitting their Radeon HD 5870 for a review, please give them a visit Their card is as grand as the reference card, in fact it's 100% the same. HIS tops it off with a great bundle, the multi-purpose magnetic screwdriver with LED plus a dust wiper and then a full version of the game Colin McRae Dirt 2 download coupon; well that makes this purchase quite good value. As such the award to the right is a gaming essential award we'd like to hand out to HIS.
Bottom line: CrossfireX is expensive, but this is daddy's sugar, we like the sweet taste of graphics performance and features like this.
Again thanks to HIS for making this article possible and we hope you enjoyed this review slash editorial!
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If you haven't done so, please read our 27 page reference review for an in-depth view on the Radeon HD 5870.
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