Radeon HD 5870 Review

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ATI Eyefinity | Power Envelope


ATI Eyefinity

Okay, the next new hot feature for ATI Radeon graphics cards was already announced, ATI's Eyefinity. ATI introduces Eyefinity technology on their Radeon HD 5000 series graphics cards. This literally boils down to multi-monitor desktop and gaming nirvana! You will have no problem connecting say, three 30" monitors at 2560x1600. The graphics card can take that resolution and in fact combine the screen resolution and play in it.

We can explain this really simply though; you guys remember our Matrox Triplehead2Go reviews right? Well, ATI's Series 5000 graphics cards will be able to drive one to six monitors per graphics card. We've seen and tested this live in action, and it works really nicely. You can combine monitors and get your groove on up-to 7680x3200 pixels separated over several monitors -- multiple monitors to be used as a single display. I think the limit is even 8000x8000 pixels, but don't hold me to that.

So some examples of what you can do here:

  • Single monitor setup at 2560x1600
  • Dual monitor setup at 2560x1600 per monitor
  • Three monitors setup at 2560x1600 per monitor
  • Six monitors setup at 1920x1080 per monitor

Eyefinity is looking really nice, and sure we also understand that 99% of you guys will never use more than two monitors. That other 1% definitely matches the Guru3d audience. Personally I like to game on three screens. It's really immersive.

Mind you that for six monitor support a special edition (Eyefinity6) card will be launched with six display ports. Your average Radeon HD 5870 will have three or four monitor outputs. In fact the reference 5870 has two DVI, one HDMI and one display port connector all on one card. If you are bold enough to go for a multi-monitor setup, it really is ideal to get three screens for flight sims, racing games, role paying games, real-time strategy, first-person shooters and sure, even multimedia apps.

At ATI's press events they hooked up the Radeon HD 5870 to half a dozen DisplayPort outputs that were running at their full resolution, merging all six into a solitary image to hit a phenomenal live display. Eyefinity is modular and thus allows users to rearrange the number of discrete images created in addition to their shape according to your liking. Guru3D users and gamers will no doubt find this setup to their liking. It will be interesting to learn just what kind of living room you have if you were to employ such a configuration. Please post your setups in our forums.

Also a note -- we'll be publishing a dedicated article on Eyefinity in the future, but we expect this to be a great feature for all kinds of simulations, the flight-sim community must be going wild for sure allright !




Power Consumption

One of the biggest accomplishments of the series 5000 graphics cards is the enhancement in the power design, the implementation of voltage and clock regulation is even more dynamic -- power management at a new level.

So we'll look purely at the Radeon HD 5870 now, in IDLE the GPU will clock down and lower its voltages on both GPU and memory. Have a look:

GPU Radeon HD 4870 Radeon HD 5850 Radeon HD 5870
Max. Board Power (TDP) 160W 170W 188W
Idle Board Power 90W 27W 27W

The card obviously achieves a low 27W IDLE power consumption by clocking down with several power states. Thus a low engine (core) clock frequency with lowered voltages and lower GDDR5 memory power. It's amazing though as your generic high-end graphics card would normally consume 50~60 Watts when it idles in Windows.

Things get even better though, the performance of the graphics card opposed to the last generation products has nearly doubled up in performance and design, yet the 5870 has a TDP (peak wattage) of only 188 Watts. We think that is just awesome.

Though we haven't tested it yet, ATI also incorporated a new technology feature called ULPS -- Ultra High Power State for multi-GPU configurations. We need to look into this, but typically with multiple GPUs installed you'd have a high IDLE power consumption, this seems to have been improved. More on that in another article though.

We will test power consumption later on in this article.

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