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Sapphire Radeon HD 5870 Toxic 2GB Review

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Testing of the Sapphire HD 5870 2GB Toxic Edition will consist of running the card through the OverclockersClub.com suite of games and synthetic benchmarks, to test the performance against many popular competitors to gauge its performance. Comparisons to a 1GB overclocked model will be shown just to see if the additional 1GB of GDDR5 memory has an impact on performance. The games used are some of today's popular titles to give you an idea on how the cards perform relative to each other. The system specifications will remain the same throughout the testing. No adjustment will be made to the respective control panels during the testing with the exception of the 3DMark Vantage testing where PhysX will be disabled in the NVIDIA control panel. I will test the card at stock speeds and then overclocked to see how much additional performance is available and determine if it can run with or faster than the current fastest single GPU cards on the market. Of course, all settings are left at defaults in the control panels of each respective manufacturer except where noted.


Comparison Video Cards:



Overclocked settings:

  • Sapphire Toxic HD 5870 2GB     985/1295

In the past I have had to make use of a combination of utilities to get the most from the ATI based cards I have looked at. I would use AMD GPU clock tool to raise the core and memory clock speeds above what was possible in the Catalyst control panel. However, when applying the clock speed change, any fan speed adjustments would revert back to the driver controlled auto profile. MSI's Afterburner tool comes in handy to reset the fan speeds without impacting the clock speeds set in the overclocking tool. Why not just use MSI's Afterburner for all of the adjustments? At this time it is bound by the limits set in the CCC (Catalyst Control Center) so the two tool approach is needed most of the time. Not this time though, since the limits set in the CCC were actually set higher than this card is capable of reaching (YMMV) at 1000Mhz on the core and 1500Mhz for the memory. This card already has a big overclock from the factory at 925/1225Mhz thanks to Sapphire installing the core on a heavily massaged, self designed PCB with proprietary components. Starting off I went big with the core at the 1000Mhz limit on the core to see if it would fly and was met with what could be affectionately called the gray screen of death followed by a black screen that I was unable to recover from, barring a reboot. No problem just drop the clocks and try again. 990Mhz was stable for the most part but would fail intermittently, while 985Mhz was good for the whole shooting match. This wasn't the 1000Mhz I was hoping for but close enough. The memory seemed to be good for a 1300Mhz+ clock speed during initial testing, but just would not give it up, and after enough trial and error, 1295Mhz was the limit. Combined together you get a pretty stout combination of clock speeds that combine to provide an increased level of performance above that already delivered by the already higher factory clock speeds. The Vapor-X Cooling is good at the factory clock speeds, but as always cooler silicon equals higher clock speeds. To keep the card cooler while overclocking, I bumped the fan speed to 100%. This kept the card at 53° C under load allowing the Toxic HD 5870 2GB to reach the higher clock speeds. Running the fan at 100% is fine for running the maximum clock speeds, but when you run the card at stock speeds with the driver controlling the action, the maximum temperature I recorded was 69° C. The clock speed increases above the already overclocked speeds amount to about 7% on the core and about 6% on the memory at 60Mhz and 70Mhz respectively. This is not a huge amount of overhead, but when compared to the stock HD 5870 clocks, the increase is pretty substantial. Even so, any increase amounts to free horsepower! The only thing that could have been better was having the ability to tweak the voltage on this card.


  • Video:
  1. Far Cry 2
  2. Crysis Warhead
  3. Darkest of Days
  4. Call of Duty: World at War
  5. Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II
  6. Batman: Arkham Asylum
  7. Resident Evil 5
  8. Left 4 Dead
  9. 3DMark 06 Professional
  10. 3DMark Vantage

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