PowerColor Radeon HD 5970 LCS Reviewccokeman - February 22, 2010
Category: Video Cards
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When it comes to gaming prowess, FPS is life, or so they say! At least that's what my kid believes and since I get seriously pawned by him, despite the fact that my rig is the far more superior rig, I'm really not so sure. Maybe skill has something to do with it. Anyway, the fact of the matter is that the faster you can respond, the better chance you have of surviving the fight. That's where the high-end video card comes into the picture. The HD 5970 is currently the fastest single graphics card on the planet with a commanding lead over any of the current multi GPU cards from both ATI and nVidia. Released back in November of 2009, ATI has been basking in the glow of a well executed strategy. Currently ATI and its partners have a product stack that covers just about every price point from $50 to $800 so you can have a DX 11 video card to fit your needs, with another on the way I hear.
PowerColor has gone a step above its PCS+ lineup with the introduction of the LCS HD 5970. What makes this card so special is the fact that it is equipped with a full cover water block to keep not only the 40nm GPU cores cool but also to keep the 2GB of GDDR5 memory and the voltage regulation circuits cool. Keeping these circuits cool has been challenging with numerous tests showing the stock cooling solution cannot keep the voltage circuit cool enough to prevent throttling of the clock speeds under load. This lack of cooling also ultimately limits the overclocking capabilities of a card that was designed from the ground up to be an overclocking beast. The water block PowerColor has chosen to use for this card is none other than the EK FC5970 with nickel plated copper for good looks and corrosion resistance as well as an Acetal cover with the PowerColor and LCS logos etched into it. As a byproduct of the improved cooling, PowerColor has bumped the clock speeds up to 750MHz on the dual Cypress cores and 1050MHz on the 2GB of GDDR5 memory. Let's see if the PowerColor LCS HD 5970 can indeed justify its price tag and deliver some righteous clock speeds when pushed. Do I hear 1000MHz? Betting is closed!
Gone are the pictures of a warrior, a monster or any number of characters on the front panel of this package. What you see is what you get and in reality the look of the card is just downright good looking! In addition to the shot of the video card you get the PowerColor logo with the LCS (Liquid Cooling System) Moniker up front! This card comes with 2GB of GDDR5 memory and the bundle includes a copy of Dirt 2. The rear of the package goes into detail on the specifications and features of both the board and the EK supplied water cooling solution.
PowerColor has secured this card to withstand the rigors of transit. The inner box is sturdy and well built. The box folds open to show the LCS 5970 in both an anti static bag and bubble wrap with the manual on top. The accessories are in a separate compartment so you don't have adapters bouncing off the PCB with potentially dangerous results.
The accessory bundle included with the PowerColor LCS HD 5970 is pretty substantial. You get everything from the manual and driver disc to the Mini DisplayPort to DisplayPort adapter, DVI to HDMI adapter, CrossfireX bridge connection, 6-pin to 8-pin PCI-E power adapter and of course, the fittings to use when connecting to your water cooling loop. These fittings come in both 3/8 and 1/2 inch sizes to accommodate most loops. Plastic clamps and low depth adapters are included if you need them. As an added bonus you get a license to download Dirt 2, one of the very first if not first DX 11 games that make use of the capabilities of the 5 series GPU from ATI and its partners!
Let's take a look at the LCS HD 5970 and see what makes it so special.