XFX Radeon HD 5970 Black Edition Limited Reviewjlqrb - September 7, 2010
» Discuss this article (21)
The XFX HD 5970 Black Edition Limited graphics card is a 12" beast that has a black heatsink shroud and a red fan placed directly in the middle of the card. This is a distinct difference from the reference design, which has the GPUs next to each other and the fan at the back of the PCB. With the fan in the middle, each core is separated into its own thermal zone, which should reduce the heat of each core by eliminated thermal transfer. Still, one flaw to this design is that some of the heat from the rear GPU will flow into the case as opposed to out of it. This could increase the temperatures of internal components, but since there is only limited ventilation on the back and the fan pushes air out, most of the hot air should not end up inside the case.
For the connection type the HD 5970 BE Limited uses the PCI Express x16 2.1 bus type, which supplies it with only a fraction of its needed power. The additional power comes from dual 8-pin PCI-E connectors that are found on the side of the PCB. So, with the two 8-pin connectors and the power from the PCI-E x16 slot this card can ultimately be supplied with up to 375W of total power. Additionally, on the opposite side of the PCB is a single CrossFire interconnect that will allow this card to be used in a QuadFire configuration!
The video connections on the card consist of six Mini-DP ports, which is the standard for ATI graphics cards that support up to six monitors. Of course, this puts the HD 5970 BE Limited in a unique situation. This makes it the fastest graphics card on the market to support up to six monitors using Eyefinity, but it also means that the max resolution supported by a single display is only 1920 x 1200. This is because the included DVI adapters are only Single-Link and will not support resolutions beyond 1920 x 1200. Still, this is an Eyefinity edition graphics card, so this should not be much of a limitation and the large majority of gamers do not game beyond 1080 resolution.
The back of the heatsink shroud has multiple ventilation holes to allow air to flow into the graphics card.
The XFX HD 5970 Black Edition Limited graphics card is one sexy piece of hardware! It comes with dual 40nm Cypress cores fully clocked at 850MHz and has 4GB of on-board GDDR5 memory rated at 1200MHz (4800 QDR). Both of these are enhancements over the reference design as standard HD 5970s down-clock the core to 725MHz and only have 2GB of total GDDR5 memory. Additionally, you also get all the standard specifications that make the HD 5970 one of the fastest graphics cards available. These are the card's 3200 (1600 per GPU) unified shaders, 64 ROPs and use of the 256-bit bus type. This card is essentially an HD 5970 on steroids!
The cooling solution used on the XFX HD 5970 Black Edition Limited is quite robust and is another enhancement over the reference models. It actually uses a large interconnected heatspreader that makes contact with memory chips, VRM and bridge-chip via thermal tape. This will keep all of the memory and voltage regulation area nice and cool, but since the GPUs are the true hot spot, XFX has upgraded the cooling beyond that of the reference design. Each core on this graphics card gets its own heatsink, which uses advanced cooling technologies such as a solid copper base, three cooper heatpipes and a large aluminum finned array. Additionally, each core is separated, so they should run at a comfortable thermal level regardless of the workload.
The fan on the HD 5970 Black Edition Limited has a red glow that gives the graphics card a very nice look. However, since the LED is embedded in the fan area and under the heatsink shroud it won't be clearly visible in a standard case.