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Sapphire Radeon HD 5970 OC Review

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Testing the Sapphire HD 5970 OC will consist of running the card through the OverclockersClub.com suite of games and synthetic benchmarks to test the performance of the HD 5970 against many popular competitors to gauge its performance. The games used are some of today's popular titles to give you an idea on how the cards perform relative to one another. 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. Clock speeds on each card are left at stock speeds. I will test the Sapphire HD5970 at both stock speeds and then overclocked to see how much additional performance is available when you choose to overclock the card to see if it this card can unseat the current single GPU fastest card on the market. I have also changed up the benchmark suite to include some of the newest titles to market including Batman: Arkham Asylum, Resident Evil 5 and Darkest of Days.


Comparison Video Cards:



Overclocked settings:

  • Sapphire HD5970 OC 890/1260MHz

Overclocking the Sapphire HD 5970 OC was a little more difficult than I imagined it would be. First, the Sapphire overvolting utility Redline did not recognize the card as a supported piece so I had to move on to another utility to work the voltages to get as much from the card as possible. I will be following up with Sapphire on this. By bumping the voltage up to the 1.16 volts supplied by the voltage utility I was able to get the 5870 OC up to 890MHz on the two Cypress cores and 1250MHz on the GDDR5 memory. Pretty decent increases across the board from a card that is power limited at this point. A couple of things I found out were that you need to go into the CCC and overclock both cores otherwise your performance will not be up to what it should be. This does however, open up the opportunity to tweak the most performance from each core. The second item I found was that after a failed overclock you need to reset the clock speeds to the factory defaults on both cores before trying any other benching because the voltage tools do not keep the voltage settings after the restart. 155MHz on the core and 250MHz on the memory are not too bad and beat the stock HD 5870 speeds. Peak load when overclocked came in at 486 watts with load temperatures peaking at 69 Celsius with the fan at 85%. Yes, it is loud just like almost every reference cooler since the 1900XTs. With only about eight hours of testing time I am not able to run the whole test suite but here is a taste of what the Sapphire HD 5970 OC has to offer.


  • Video:
  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

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