XFX Radeon HD 5970 Black Edition Limited Reviewjlqrb - September 7, 2010
Category: Video Cards
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The HD 5970 is currently the pinnacle of gaming performance. It offers nearly unmatched in game frames-per-second in most new video titles, supports DX11, as well as Eyefinity, and has been AMD’s flagship graphics card for some time now. This is due to the card's dual 725MHz Cypress cores, which offer amazing gaming performance thanks to the 3200 combined unified shaders, 32ROPs and the 2GB of available GDDR5 memory. These specifications are impressive in and of themselves, but there are a handful of companies that won’t stop at good enough, and we can now add XFX to that list.
XFX has just released its latest and greatest, and the company was nice enough to send us a sample. The graphics card is the XFX HD 5970 Black Edition Limited. If it sounds familiar there is a good reason. This card has become somewhat infamous for the alleged pre-release theft, eBay sale and the inclusion of a plastic P90 assault rifle. It does appear as if all of these have paid off though, as anticipation for this graphics card is high and there are very few gamers who have yet to hear about this XFX Black Edition Limited graphics card.
What XFX has done with this graphics card is take the reference design and build upon it by adding 4GB of GDDR5 memory and dual Cypress GPUs clocked 125MHz faster than the reference models. This would be enough for most gamers, but the XFX card takes the 4GB HD 5970 in an entirely new direction. This is because the card uses six Mini-DisplayPorts to add support for up to six monitors using the ATI Eyefinity technology. This is intriguing to say the least, as who has not wondered how a HD 5970 (let alone a 4GB model) would run games spanning across six monitors?
The graphics card comes packaged in a large box that matches with the Black Edition theme and simply has the XFX logo next to the phrase "play hard." This gives the box a very simplistic look, but eliminating any images and specifications makes for a cleaner and more appealing style. Aside from the look of the box this thing is huge! My rough measurements put it at over 3' tall, so don't expect a small box to show up at your door.
The internal items consist of two large foam pads at the top and bottom of the box and a LAN bag, which is where all the gear, including the graphics card, is stored.
The LAN bag, like the box, matches with the Black Edition graphics card and has the XFX logo on it. The bag is designed by G8 and serves the initial purpose of protecting the HD 5970 during transit, but once the graphics card is removed it is now your own personal LAN bag. This is actually a very nice addition and as you can see in the second image the bag can hold the majority (if not all) of the add-on components needed for a LAN party.
In the bag the accessories are found in the three side pouches and come in boxes made to appear as ammo clips. Also found in the bag is the now infamous P90 plastic assault rifle casing.
The accessories consist of multiple XFX stickers, a case badge, drivers disc, manuals, CrossFire connector and even a 20% discount off a G8 Esports Hoodie. Also included are all the necessary adapters to setup Eyefinity. There are three Mini-DIsplayPort (DP) to DisplayPort adapters, two Mini-DP to Single-Link DVI adapters and another that is Mini-DP to HDMI. The included cables should be enough to get you going, though I was surprised to see multiple cables all using different connection standards. This makes it appear as if XFX thinks the owner of this card is going to either be running it with only three monitors or doesn't mind spending even further for additional DP adapters. With my configuration I was able to make use of five of the adapters, but my monitors do not have a HDMI port, so I had to use an adapter from a previous review to hook up the sixth monitor.
The included plastic assault rifle is quite a departure from the ordinary as this is the first graphics card I have ever seen housed inside a toy gun. The rifle resembles a P90 and has a latch at the bottom to open the casing. The HD 5970 is found on the inside wrapped in an anti-static bag and surrounded by foam pads.