Sapphire HD 5870 Reviewccokeman - September 22, 2009
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I didn't think ATI had it in them to step up the performance on a video card this much in one fell swoop. The disappointing small jumps in performance from the 3 series to the 4 series are laid to rest with the massive performance increase over the previous ATI king of the single GPU hill, the HD4890. When you look at the performance you can tell that the level of performance delivered by the GTX285 was just a jumping off point for the performance expectations. After running the first bench with the Sapphire HD5870, the first thought in my head when I saw the result was "Damn, ATI is back." The Sapphire HD5870 even compared favorable to the dual GPU giants the HD4870x2 and the GTX295 in more than a few of the benchmarks. The overclocking limits set in the CCC were quite low and overclocking to them was a simple "push the slider up and see what sticks affair." Having only a few hours to test this card I am sure with a little more diligence the card can reach higher than what I was able to pull from it in fifteen minutes. The fan noise when you push the fan to 100% is the same but slightly different as you get more of an air movement type noise instead of the horrible whining that is so common on these coolers. This will be the first shot in the latest battle of the GPU giants that we can expect to heat up here with the next release from the green team. There is something to be said about firing the first shot. With the introduction of the HD58XX series ATI has launched new technologies such as Eyefinity, a multi monitor technology for more immersive gaming, not to mention giving you more desktop workspace with a theorectical maximum resolution of up to 8192 x 8192. The HD5870 is the first card that supports DirectX 11. I can't imagine playing my favorite flight sim with six LCD panels for a full panoramic view. Both offer great potential and upside but more will come on that later. With most game developers lining up behind the green team it looks like there may be a shift with the capabilities of the HD58xx series cards.
So what is this kind of performance going to cost you? Street price is going to run around $400 plus or minus some depending on where you shop but with the performance delivered you will need to pay for performance. With the HD5870 you have a video card that delivers almost 3TFLOPS of computing power or roughly the computing power of 177 IBM Deep Blue super computers in a package that fits in the palm of your hand. But what good is the power without the tools to use it? This card is built to fly and use the next gen DX11 titles but yet there are none currently on the market. Build it and they will come is the phrase that comes to mind. The titles will be out soon enough, you can be rest assured, with one of the titles being DIRT 2. All things told, this is the fastest single GPU video card you can buy right now, hands down!
- Massive performance increase
- Great bundle
- Good looks
- ATI reference fan assembly is noisy
- No DX11 titles yet