ATI is slowly and steadily hamming down every little gap in the Radeon 5000 series graphics cards with tremendous speed. They have managed to create the lead over NVIDIA, and not a small one. By the time NVIDIA will release their DX 11 ready mid-range and low-end parts, ATI will without doubt already be re-spinning their initially launched products.
The product released today is charming in a lot of ways. The cards makes for an excellent HTPC card with plenty of performance to handle the most wicked things. For normal desktop usage it's more than efficient and it allows you to connect multiple monitors (up-to three) simultaneously. Let's focus on the 400 shader processors inside the 5570 ASIC for a second.
Follow me and let's do some history .. you guys remember the Radeon HD 3870 right ? In November 2007 it was launched at a 229~249 USD price tag for the 512MB GDDR3 model. The graphics card was equipped with an at the time demonic 666 million transistors, came with 320 Shader processors and a TDP of 105W.
It's now February 2010 - The low-budget Radeon HD 5570 as tested today comes with 400 Shader processors, 627 million transistors and a TDP at 43W. It's costs roughly 69 USD. So this card is faster, wahaaay more energy efficient, has DX11 support, UVD 2.0 and multi-monitor support. Now exactly a bad deal eh ?
So yes, we like what we see. Now certainly this card is intended for the casual gamer that is restricted by a limited budget. For 69 USD you can play you games quite well -- if you stick to lower resolutions and/or forfeit on image quality settings. And sure, personally I'd say if you can drop 125 USD then I like to really recommend the Radeon HD 5750 as it offers more value for money in every aspect performance wise. Then again if you take a title like Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2, with 4xAA you can play with a monitor resolution up-to 1600x1200 with 4xAA enabled at 35 per second framerate. That's certainly decent enough. Disable AA in Far Cry 2 and you can have the same experience at 1600x1200 as well with HIGH image quality settings.
So there you have it ... a gaming graphics card for the budget minded and limited, and an excellent HTPC or desktop graphics card is what the Radeon HD 5570 really is. It certainly is getting crowded in the Radeon series 5000, AMD is putting a product out their at any budget selection. Well good for them, the more options we all have the better I feel.
But now something negative ... from now on we'll be keeping a really close eye on this. As as of recent ATI started to lock down their graphics cards by limiting overclocking at a low-level BIOS stage. For example the 5570 card runs at a core frequency of 650 MHz, now normally you could easily take a card like this towards 750 maybe even 800 MHz without much fuzz.
Much like some cars being limited to pass a certain speed, ATI implemented something similar in the more recent graphics cards. Example, the 5570 card will not clock even a single MHz higher than 700 MHz on the clock frequency and from 900 to 950 MHz on the memory.
It's downright reprehensible and places a large dark cloud above the tweaking community as of recently. We do hope that AMD/ATI will see the light real soon and lift these nasty but most of all unnecessary blocks, they do not make sense whatsoever. I do know this, it will turn a lot of red colored enthusiasts towards the color green.
So final words then, if you really can't spend more money on a graphics card to game at .. well this might be the product to lookout for. Remember, it's not a lot, but it's decent enough. For everything else the card is just perfect with a very nice power consumption footprint. If you are a match for this product, well .. we can wholeheartedly recommend it. but only if you are not an overclocker.
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