Sapphire HD 5570 1GB Review

jlqrb - 2010-02-04 01:15:14 in Video Cards
Category: Video Cards
Reviewed by: jlqrb   
Reviewed on: February 8, 2010
Price: $74.99

Introduction:

With the recent introduction of ATI's mainstream graphics cards, more users will be able to take advantage of features such as DX 11 and Eyefinity, but the question is do these budget-friendly graphics cards have enough power to utilize all of the features they come equipped with? To answer this question, we will be looking at the HD 5570 graphics card from Sapphire. This card comes with 1GB DDR3 memory, a 128-bit memory interface, 400 shader cores and 16 ROPs. With these specifications, the HD 5570 seems to be a very capable card and it should be able to run most current games on the market - at least at low resolutions. Also, with the use of ATI's stream technology, this graphics card should be well equipped to handle smooth HD playback, as well as photo and video editing. One of the more interesting features of the HD 5570 is that even with all the technology and power packed into this card it is still a low profile design that only draws a maximum load of 45 watts. This could make the card very popular in the HTPC market and if the performance holds up, it could be a great choice for budget gamers. Of course, we will have to put it through our series of demanding benchmarks before a real conclusion can be drawn.

 

 

Closer Look:

The HD 5570 packaging comes in a red and black box with a style to it that looks similar to other products Sapphire has recently  released. The front panel of the packing comes with Ruby aiming at her enemies with a futuristic looking blaster. Below her, Sapphire has listed some of the technologies that come standard with the HD 5570 graphics card. Each technology comes listed in its own box and are ATI Stream GPU processing, on-board Display port, CrossFireX™, and the 40nm die size. The front of the box also has the memory size and type listed near the top, with the graphics card name below it. The reverse side the box has listed features and specifications that the card offers, as well as a run down of how they are beneficial. Above these technology boxes is a sticker indicating the card comes with low profile bracket converters, SIM HD plug-in and 1GB DDR3 memory. The back panel of the box again has an image of Ruby, but this panel is also filled with useful information. Here you will find a run-down of features such as DX 11, CrossFireX and others. Sapphire has also included some images of the online awards they have received over the last eight years.

 

 

 

 

 

Once you have the outer sleeve off, you are presented with a plain cardboard box with a small recycling logo on the bottom left corner. This inner packaging is where graphics card and accessories are located and are securely held in place by the use of a extra cardboard insert inside the box. The graphics card comes wrapped in a anti-static bag with the drivers CD and installation manual laying on top of it.  The accessories are also packaged here, but are located on the opposite side of the box.

 

 

The HD 5570 comes with only a few accessories which are a manual, driver CD, SimHD plug-in CD and two low profile bracket converters. There really is no need for any accessories beyond what is included though, as the graphics card has both a DVI and VGA port for connectivity. So, even without extra video adapters, there is still more than enough here to get you connect and ready to go.

 

Now that we have explored the packaging and accessories, we can start our more in depth look at the Sapphire HD5570.

Closer Look:

The Sapphire HD 5570 comes with a low profile design and uses a single slot active cooling solution with auto fan control. The use of active cooling on the GPU core can reduce temperatures beyond that of a passively cooled heatsink, which can increase the overclocking potential of the graphics card. With a low power requirement of only 10 watts at idle and 43 watts at max load the graphics card does not need an extra power source other than the PCIe slot, and Sapphire states that a 400 watt power supply be enough to run this card. The HD 5570 comes with support for the new PCIe 2.1 standard, but is fully compatible with any PCIe x 16 slot. The graphics card also has support of CrossFireX which will allow you to run two graphics cards together for added performance in a supported motherboard. One other feature that adds to the value of graphics cards in this segment is the use of ATI's hybrid CrossFireX. This technology allows you Crossfire a low to mid range graphics card with an integrated graphics processor that is built into a motherboard chipset. The use of this technology can improve the gaming quality of your system, as well as increase the performance in daily computing tasks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The HD 5570 comes with three display ports and, as you can see, is ideally setup for HTPC use. From right to left you have a DL-DVI-I port, Display port and a standard VGA port. The DL-DVI-I port is designed to provide high quality all digital video with supported resolutions up to 2560 x 1600. The Display port supports Eyefinity and can run up to three monitors at resolutions of 5670 x 1200, when using a single monitor it can the max resolution is 2560 x 1600. The VGA port is a very standard port for connecting graphics cards to display monitors, but unlike the DVI-I port the VGA can not support resolutions up to 2560 x 1600 and has a resolution that instead maxes out at 2048 x 1536. This is quite high, but if you have a 30" monitor with higher resolutions this would not be the best connection choice. To ensure compatibility with all  HTPC cases, Sapphire has included two low profile bracket converters that will allow this card to be used in a low profile case.

 

 

The HD 5570 is built on the 40nm Redwood core with clock frequencies of 650MHz.  It comes with 1GB of DDR3 memory rated at 1600MHz. The Redwood core also has 400 stream processors, a 128-bit interface, 16 ROPs and supports DX 11. There are  a total of eight memory chips found on the HD 5570, with four being on the front of the card and the other four on the back side. The memory is manufactured my Samsung and has the model number K4W1G1646E-HC11 printed on them.

 

 

With a 128-bit interface and 400 stream processors it is going to be interesting to see how this card performs, but before we get to benchmarking, let's take a look at the included ATI software.


 

Closer Look:

To install the HD 5570 graphics drivers, you insert the drivers disc into your DVD drive and after a few seconds an auto-installer will pop-up with a few options. The first available screen gives three options on the right to choose from. The options listed are ATI Easy Install, Online Manual, and Adobe Reader. Easy install is for installing the GPU and software drivers that are needed to get your graphics cards operating properly. The Online Manual opens a list of languages to choose from and once you make our language selection a PDF version of the manual opens on the screen. The Adobe Reader tab is a link that takes you to Adobe's download page. If you don't need the manual or Adobe, you can start the installation. Once you have made this selection to install the drivers, you will enter another screen that looks similar to the first. From here, you will be able to choose the operating system you plan to use the card with and, after that selection is made, the Catalyst install manager will appear for installation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once the installation process has started, you will be prompted with a few options to choose from. The first option that comes up is the option to install or uninstall your drivers. If you are installing the graphics card for the first time, choose install and it will advance the installation. In the next screen, you will have the option to choose whether to install the drivers manually or do a quick express install. If you choose express, all of the included Catalyst drivers will be installed, however if manual install is chosen, you will have the ability to pick and choose from a list of needed drivers. Whatever option you choose, it all quickly installs the same and after a few minutes you will be asked to finish the installation and, after a quick reboot, the drivers are installed and ready to go.

 

 

 

 

Now that we have the card installed, we can take a look at the Catalyst Control Center that is included with the ATI drivers.

Closer Look:

ATI Catalyst Control Center is an advanced software application that allows you to manipulate many of the graphics cards hardware functions, such as display and 3D settings. This program is usually bundled with the ATI graphics drivers, but does not need to be installed for the graphics card to function properly. If installed though, Catalyst Control Center is a very useful tool that allows for basic changes, such as adjusting the image quality of your display to more advanced options such as overclocking the GPU core and memory frequencies. Below we will be taking a more in depth look at this ATI software and some of its functions.

 

welcome screen:

The Welcome screen allows you can check for updates, Contact Customer care, link to AMD.com or join ATI's folding@home team. These links are all found at the middle of the page, with the option to switch to the basic Control Center below and two menus that give access to more options at the top. The two top options each have a drop down menu that appears when you select them. The first menu is Graphics and this is where the options to adjust the image quality and other video settings is done. The second option is Hydravision, which is a Multi-monitor Management system that lets you alter your desktop for improved productivity. Below we will be taking a more in-depth look at Catalyst Control Centers functions and features.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
  

 

 

Information Center & Desktop Displays:

The information center allows you to view both hardware and software details for installed ATI Radeon graphics card.  Some information that can be found here is the core and memory speeds of your graphics card as well as what driver version is being used. The desktop Displays screen shows all displays connected to your system and allows you to make changes to one or multiple monitors. Here you can rotate the display image, set a primary display or use the force button, which comes with a host of features that can force you monitor to support resolutions and image qualities that may not be supported.

 

 

Desktop Properties:

Desktop Properties gives you a host of options to choose from that make changes to the desktop image. Here, you can adjust your display resolution, color quality, refresh rate, and choose the rotation of the image being displayed. There are also options here to adjust the colors of the monitor by either changing the Gamma, Brightness, or Contrast.

 

 

Display Options & 3D: 

Display Option simply selects how Catalyst Control Center detects your display devices, whether that be manually or done automatically when the Control center is opened. The 3D menu has several tabs at the top that allow to adjust the 3D features such as Anti-Aliasing or Anisotropic Filtering - these options can be set to either Performance, Balanced or Quality depending on your 3D needs and hardware used. The changes made here will affect games as well as 3D applications. Once nice feature here is that you can view your changes in real-time with the use of the 3D preview image.

 

 

Avivo Video:

Here you have five tabs to choose from, with all letting you adjust the quality for your video. There is a preview is with an image of a woman next to flowers and fruit, that when changes are made to the video color will be seen by this image changing to reflect the choice you made. If you find that you don't like your choice, there is a handy default tab at the bottom right that will reset all of the setting here back to stock. From here, you can also change the display quality of the video that plays though your PC.

 

ATI Overdrive:

ATI Overdrive panel gives the ability to overclock the GPU core and memory as well as adjust the fan speed. Before any of this is done though, you will need to click on the key icon which will unlock the overclocking options. Once unlocked you can manually set the frequencies for the graphics card to a value between stock and a predetermined number by ATI. The preset value that ATI sets are usually low, but this ensures no damage will be done to the graphics card from excessive overclocking. ATI has also included a Auto-Tune option for those that are new to GPU overclocking, this tool auto clocks the graphics card by adjust the core and memory in small increments and doing a self check each time it raises the frequencies. The overdrive menu also lets adjust your fan speed, check your graphics cards stability and get temperature information.

 

 

HydraVision menu:

This menu has three options that let you adjust options to your screen, such as set a grid to lock applications to a certain part of your desktop or setup multiple desktops for improved multitasking. This is quite a cool feature that could come handy if you use multiple applications at once.

 

Specifications:

 

SKU
11167-04
11167-00
ASIC
Radeon HD 5570
Radeon HD 5570
Bus Interface
PCI-E x16 (PCI-E 2.1)
PCI-E x16 (PCI-E 2.1)
Memory
1024MB / 128-bit DDR3
1024MB / 128-bit DDR3
Clock Speed
650MHz Eclk / Effective 1800 MHz Mclk
650MHz Eclk / Effective 1800 MHz Mclk
Cooling System
Single slot Fan with auto fan control
Single slot Fan with auto fan control
Bracket
Full Height (LP option in box)
Full Height (LP option in box)
Display Support
DVI-I
Display Port                                   
VGA
DVI-I
HDMI                                               
VGA
HDCP
Yes
Yes
Eyefinity Support
Yes
No
Crossfire Support
Software Crossfire
Software Crossfire
Accessories
DP+DVI LP bracket x1
VGA LP bracket x1
HDMI+DVI LP bracket x1
VGA LP bracket x1

 

SKU
11167-05
11167-02
ASIC
Radeon HD5570
Radeon HD 5570
Bus Interface
PCI-Ex16 (PCI-E 2.1)
PCI-E x16 (PCI-E 2.1)
Memory
1024MB/128-bit DDR3
1024MB / 128-bit DDR3
Hyper Memory
Yes
Yes
Clock Speed
650Hz Eclk / Effective 1800 MHz Mclk
650Hz Eclk / Effective 1800 MHz Mclk
Cooling System
Single slot with auto fan control
Single slot with auto fan control
Bracket
Full Height (LP option in box)
Full Height (LP option in box)
Display Support
DVI-I
Display Port                                      
VGA
DVI-I
HDMI                                                  
VGA
HDCP
Yes
Yes
Eyefinity Support
Yes
No
Crossfire Support
Software Crossfire
Software Crossfire
Accessories
DP+DVI LP bracket x1
VGA LP bracket x1
HDMI+DVI LP bracket x1
VGA LP bracket x1

 

Features:

 

System Requirements


Maximum Display Resolution:

 

All information courtesy of Sapphire Technology

Testing:

To test the performance of the Sapphire HD 5570, I will put it though a series of games and benchmarking programs designed to push the card to its limits. For the gaming results, I will do multiple runs of our gaming testbed at 1280 x 1024, 1680 x 1050, and 1920 x 1200 and average the results at each resolution to get the most accurate FPS. For the benchmarking programs, I will use both 3DMark06 and 3DMarkVantage, which are both extremely demanding programs that will test the DirectX 9 and DirectX 10 3D gaming capabilities of the graphics card. One note, though all of the comparison cards were originally tested on an Intel platform and have been retested on the AMD test platform, so the numbers will vary from the comparison reviews. These cards were tested with the latest drivers from both Nvidia and ATI.

 

 

Comparison Video Cards:

 

Overclocking:

To overclock the HD 5570 graphics card, I first started with ATI's Catalyst Control Center, but the preset max of 700MHz for the core and 950MHz for the memory was too limiting, so I quickly switched to AMD GPU Clock Tool. With this GPU overclocking tool there is not a limit like there is in Catalyst Control Center, so I was able to overclock the card until my system either started having errors or crashed. In this case there was no crash, but I did start to get errors, these errors occurred as red pixels throughout my screen while gaming.  This happened at speeds around 920MHz on the core and anything over 1125MHz on the memory. After I found the max for my card I reduced the core frequencies to 900MHz and the memory to 1100MHz, which ran all the games and benchmarks with no errors. While overclocking I continually checked the graphics cards temperatures by using the Catalyst Control Center and even at the maxed overclock speeds, the card ran at idle temperatures of 38c and a load temperature of 55c, which is extremely low.

 

 

 

 

Benchmarks:

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

Testing:

Far Cry 2:

Featuring a new game engine named Dunia, this game looks to be another one to stress your video card. Built especially for Far Cry 2, this engine allows for real time effects and damage. This next generation First Person Shooter comes to us from Ubisoft surprisingly - not from Crytek. The game is set in a war-torn region of Africa where there is a non-existent central government and the chaos that surrounds this type of social environment. If you have seen the movie Blood Diamond, you know the setting. Ubisoft puts the main story line of the game into focus with these statements: "Caught between two rival factions in war-torn Africa, you are sent to take out "The Jackal," a mysterious character who has rekindled the conflict between the warlords, jeopardizing thousands of lives. In order to fulfill your mission you will have to play the factions against each other, identify and exploit their weaknesses, and neutralize their superior numbers and firepower with surprise, subversion, cunning and, of course, brute force." In this version of the game, you don't have the beautiful water, but instead the beauty and harshness of the African continent to contend with. Most games give you a set area that can be played through, while Ubisoft has given the gamer the equivalent of 50km2 of the vast African continent to explore while in pursuit of your goals. The settings used are just a few steps below the maximum in-game settings and offer a good blend of performance vs. visual quality.

 

Settings:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The HD 5570 held up very well in Far Cry 2 and even though it was beat handily by the GTS 250 at all resolutions, it did have performance similar to the HD 5670. The card did start slow as the resolution was increased, but it still managed to achieve 30 FPS at 1920 x 1200, which is completely playable. Once overclocked though, it beat the more expensive HD 5670 at the lowest resolution and had almost identical numbers to it across the other resolutions.

Testing:

Crysis Warhead is a standalone expansion pack situated in time with the story line of the original Crysis. As Sergeant "Psycho" Sykes, you have a secret mission to accomplish on the far side of the island. Along the way there are EMP blasts and aliens to contend with, as you hunt down the KPA chief. This game uses an enhanced version of the CryEngine 2.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The HD 5570 was again able to hold its own at 1280 x 1024, but the higher resolutions proved to be just a bit too much for for this card. However, when looking at the overclocked numbers the card really makes a turned around and the HD 5570 was just one frame shy of 30 FPS at the highest resolution.

Testing:

What would testing be if you did not show both sides of the fence? In this test, PhysX was set to low, while leaving the remaining settings intact. You have seen time and again where the ATI cards suffer when PhysX is enabled. Mirror's Edge and Cryostasis are two prime examples. Darkest of Days is no different. What happens in this test shows that, although the game can be played by cards from the red team, the video effects and quality are diminished.

Game Settings:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Higher is Better

 

Even with PhysX set to low, the HD 5570 struggled in the lower resolutions and only managed 21 FPS at 1920 x 1200. When overclocked though, much like with Crysis, the HD 5570 started to put up better numbers and, in the end, almost reached 30 FPS at 1920 x 1200.

Testing:

Activision's Call of Duty: World at War goes right back to the bread and butter of the franchise - WWII FPS action. In this rendition, you start off in the South Pacific and move through a series of missions that flip back and forth between the Russian front and the island hopping advance toward the Imperial Japanese homeland. Included is a mission on Peliliu Island, arguably one of the more difficult and costly battles in the Pacific theater. The gameplay in the single player mode is rather short, but the game makes up for this shortcoming in online gameplay. If you thought CoD4 looked nice, this game is amazing with the graphics maxed out playing at a high resolution. I will use Fraps to measure a section of gameplay in the Semper Fi map on Makin Island to compare the performance of these video cards.

Settings:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Call of Duty World at War was playable across all resolutions and there was not a time where the HD 5570 dipped below 30 FPS.

Testing:

Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II is a Real Time Strategy game that is significantly different than its predecessor, with improved AI and an improved physics engine. You can play either as a single player in campaign mode, or in a multiplayer game where Microsoft's Live ranking system can be used.

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Again, this low profile, low priced graphics card showed off its power and played Dawn of War II well across all resolutions. Once overclocked, the card managed to run high frames per second at the two lower resolutions, which put it in close range of the Nvidia GTS 250.

Testing:

Batman: Arkham Asylum is a new game that brings together two bitter foes, the Joker and Batman. The Joker has taken over Arkham Asylum, Gotham's home for the criminally insane. Your task is to reign the Joker back in and restore order. This game makes use of PhysX technology to create a rich environment for you to ply your trade.

Game Settings:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With the settings at medium, Batman Arkham Asylum ran flawlessly. The HD 5570 was able to average 70 FPS at the highest resolution.

Testing:

Resident Evil 5 is the sequel to one of the best selling video games of all time. You play the game as Chris Redfield, a survivor of the events at Raccoon City, who now works for the BSAA. Sent to Africa to find the genesis of the latest Bio Organic agents, you meet up with another BSAA operative and work together to solve the problem. The game offers incredible 3D effects and a co-op gaming style.

Game Settings:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Resident Evil 5 is yet another game that owners of the HD 5570 will be able to enjoy at any resolution. Looking at the graphs, you can see that, once overclocked, the HD 5570 managed to beat all other comparison cards except the Nvidia GTS 250, which is quite impressive.

Testing:

Left 4 Dead from Valve, leaves you as part of a group of survivors in a world where an infection has rapidly turned the populace into a zombie horde. You goal is to make it to a rescue point, all the while fighting what seems like overwhelming odds. Along the way there are safe houses where you can replenish your weapons and health. The movie 'I Am Legend' comes to mind to set the stage for this game. But unlike the movie, there are four characters and not just a lone gun and his faithful companion. The horde is not at all like the typical slow walking, foot shuffling zombie. These zombies are quick and work with the pack mentality. Your job: survival!

Settings:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The other cards outpaced the HD 5570 in the Left 4 Dead benchmark, but with 75 FPS at 1920 x 1200, you can't say it didn't perform well.

Testing:

3DMark06 is one of the benchmarks that always comes up when a bragging contest has begun. 3DMark06 presents a severe test for many of today's hardware components. Let's see how this setup fares. The settings we will use are listed below.

 

Settings:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The 3DMark scores didn't exactly come out as impressive, but the HD 5570 did manage to out perform Nvidia's GT 220 graphics card.

Testing:

Featuring all-new game tests, this benchmark is for use with Vista based systems. "There are two all-new CPU tests that have been designed around a new 'Physics and Artificial Intelligence-related computation.' CPU test two offers support for physics related hardware." There are four preset levels that correspond to specific resolutions. 'Entry' is 1024x768 progressing to 'Extreme' at 1920x1200. Of course, each preset can be modified to arrange any number of user designed testing. For our testing, I will use three presets at all default settings.

Settings:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The HD 5570 did pretty well in this benchmark and, once overclocked, it had performance that was very similar to the HD 5670 and 9600 GT.

Conclusion:

For an entry-level graphics card the HD 5570 did an exceptional job. It achieved playable FPS across most of the games tested and put up good scores during the DX 10 Futuremark benchmarking program. This by itself isn't that impressive, but when you add the fact that the HD 5570 is a low profile card with a maximum board power of 43 watts and will cost under $100, the larger picture really begins to take shape. The low profile design of the card will appeal to the HTPC crowd, which is looking for low wattage, small card that can smoothly run their demanding HD content. The low price, will benefit gamers on a tight budget that just can't afford the more expensive gear and even some mid-range gamers looking for a nice budget solution. There is however, a much wider audience than the HTPC and entry to mid-range do-it-yourself computer builders though. This group consists of people that bought a small pre-built system from their local computer center that will only support low profile graphics cards. In these instances, regardless of what you spent on the computer, it usually comes with either an integrated graphics processor or an under-performing, low-profile graphics card. So, for the under-powered pre-built owner out there, the Sapphire HD 5570 can open up a whole new world of possibilities and you will now be able to take that system and turn it into a entry-level gaming machine or a nice multi-media center. This group will have no issues running the graphics card at stock speeds.  

For the rest of us, overclocking is where it's at, and luckily in this regard, the 5570 doesn't disappoint. The overclocking potential is due to the GPU processor being built on a 40nm die that is easily cooled by the passive heatsink on the card. After some tweaking, I was able to adjust the core clock by 251MHz and the memory speeds were able to be increase by 200MHz. Once I reached these final overclocking speeds, the HD 5570 really started to perform better and in many instances it was equal to or just shy of its older (and more expensive) brother, the HD 5670. On top of this, you get all of ATI's current technologies such as CrossFireX, ATI Stream Technology and Eyefinity, which greatly add to the value and versatility of the card. With Eyefinity support, this card can support up to three monitors with resolutions up to 5670 x 1200. Now, we all know you are going to need more power than the HD 5570 has to game in this manner, but it would be more than enough power to setup a multiple monitor workstation.

The only complaints I can really level against the HD 5570 is that it would have been nice to get some more accessories with the card and that the active cooling solution could bother some sensitive HTPC users. These are extremely small problems and in fact the fan speed did not start to get noticeable until the fan was spinning at around 60%.  It wasn't until around 75% and up that it started to get loud. If you are bothered by fan noise though, the HD 5570 runs cool and it should have no issues switching to a passive heatsink, to eliminate any noise. So, with the HD 5570, you get a very versatile graphics card that is very capable of playing most games on the market, smoothly runs HD content,  effortlessly edits image/video, fits into just about any case regardless of size, and only comes with a few flaws. All of these make the card very much worth the price and if you are in the market to replace an integrated GPU or an older graphics card, I say go for it - you won't be disappointed.

 

 

Pros:

Cons: