Radeon HD 5870 Review

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Radeon HD Series 5000 features


Radeon HD Series 5000 features

So we have just established product positioning and have seen what cards to expect. Today is all about the Radeon HD 5870. Let's have a peek at some of the key features for this product:

  • 1GB GDDR5 memory
  • ATI Eyefinity technology with support for up to six displays
  • ATI Stream technology
  • Designed for DirectCompute 5.0 and OpenCL
  • Accelerated Video Transcoding (AVT)
  • Compliant with DirectX 11 and earlier revisions
  • Supports OpenGL 3.1
  • ATI CrossFireX multi-GPU support for highly scalable performance
  • ATI Avivo HD video and display technology
  • Dynamic power management with ATI PowerPlay technology
  • DL-DVI, DL-DVI, DisplayPort, HDMI
  • PCI Express® 2.0 support

We'll address the majority of features in our article. But first let's focus on the sheer technical specifications. Transistor count for example. The number of transistors always works as an indicator of how powerful a product will be. For example, the Radeon HD 4870 which we all know and love for its performance had 956 million transistors embedded onto that die. The new Radeon HD 5800 GPUs have 2.15 billion transistors. Correct, that is 2150 million transistors tucked away in a small chip. The fabrication node was 40nm for this product, resulting in a die size of 334 mm², which for AMD is monolithic, yet thanks to the 40nm fabrication process only a third bigger than the previous 4890 GPU.

Now you'd think with so many transistors high clock frequencies would be an issue. Incorrect, the high-end Radeon HD 5870 will be clocked at a cool 850 MHz. In fact we even took it over 900 MHz without any issues.

The lower specced Radeon 5850 will be clocked at 725 MHz on the Core and Shader domain.

Shader processors then, we went from 800 Shader processors on the Radeon HD 4850/4870/4890 to 1600 shader processors (also called stream processors) on the Radeon HD 5870. That's doubled up. The ROPs went up from 16 to 32 as well and sure... texture units from 40 to 80 as well.

The Radeon HD 5850 will have some units cut away though. 1440 Shader cores, still we find 32 ROPS and 72 texture units. This product will for example be a good heap faster than say, a GeForce GTX 285.

But before you get blinded by all the specs in a few lines of text, let's break down the two cards announced today in comparison to last year's Radeon HD 4870.

  Radeon HD 4870 Radeon HD 5850 Radeon HD 5870
Process 55nm 40nm 40nm
Transistors 956M 2.15B 2.15B
Die Size 263 mm² 334 mm² 334 mm²
Core Clock 750 MHz 725 MHz 850 MHz
Shader Processors 800 1440 1600
Compute Performance 1.2 TFLOPs 2.09 TFLOPs 2.72 TFLOPs
Texture Units 40 72 80
Texture Fillrate 30.0 GTexels/s 52.2 GTexels/s 68.0 GTexels/s
ROPs 16 32 32
Pixel Fillrate 12.0 GPixels/s 23.2 GPixels/s 27.2 GPixels/s
Z/Stencil 48.0 GSamples/s 92.8 GSamples/s 108.8 GSamples/s
Memory Type GDDR5 GDDR5 GDDR5
Memory Clock 900 MHz 1000 MHz 1200 MHz
Memory Data Rate 3.6 Gbps 4.0 Gbps 4.8 Gbps
Memory Bandwidth 115.2 GB/s 128.0 GB/s 153.6GB/s
Maximum Board Power (TDP) 160W 170W 188W
Idle Board Power 90W 27W 27W

These numbers are downright staggering. We have not discussed it just yet, but memory; ATI will stick to DDR5 for both products. On the 5870 they'll up it a notch alright as the clock frequency has been upped a notch as well, as some design changed in the memory controllers.

Expect the Radeon HD 5870 to outperform any current single-GPU based graphics card like the Radeon HD 4890 and GeForce GTX 285. And all that with a single chip utilizing less than 190 Watts.

Radeon HD 5870

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