XFX HD 5570 Review

jlqrb - 2010-05-20 16:56:14 in Video Cards
Category: Video Cards
Reviewed by: jlqrb   
Reviewed on: June 15, 2010
Price: $79.99

Introduction:

Entry-level graphics cards might not draw the same level of excitement as their high-end counterparts, but don't let that fool you. More mainstream products are sold day to day than the high-end gear, making these products very important to a companies bottom line. In fact, the most expensive and powerful graphics card in a series are used more for hype toward the rest of the line than they are to make a profit. Think about how many of us can spend $600 every time a new graphics series comes out. Honestly, not many people can. However, if that $600 card is the fastest around and can generates a lot of buzz, the chances are that  the consumer will want to pick up a  more mainstream offering from the same series.

The mainstream entry that we are going to be looking at today is the HD 5570 from XFX. The HD 55XX line sits between the HD 54XX and HD 56XX series and has performance that corresponds to its positioning in the market. Essentially, this means that you are not going to be doing any high resolution gaming with this card; however, it should be more than enough for gaming after the settings have been scaled back. For most users this is going to be plenty as there's actually only a small segment of the market that turns up their game settings to the max. Also, with an economy where more and more people are having to live on a tight budget, graphics cards such as the XFX HD 5570 are starting to look like a very good option to those of with higher a premium.

Closer Look:

The XFX HD 5570 comes packaged in a small rectangular box that carries an industrial feel. This is a theme that XFX is using for the current ATI line-up and one that gives the box a nice eye catching look. Along with the nice look, there is also a good deal of information found on both the front and back panels. The front mainly deals with the model name and supported technologies, whereas the back goes into a detailed explanation of the graphics card and its features. Once you open the outer packaging, you are greeted with a plain white box that houses the graphics card and accessories. The HD 5570 is found on the top portion of the box and comes wrapped in an antistatic bag.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Entry-level graphics cards usually don't come packed with the accessories found with high-end cards and, as such, the HD5570 is true to form. What you do get is a drivers disk and a quick install guide for both the drivers and graphics card. Also included is a unique I.D. card. This card includes the GPU's Part Code, Serial number and a personal account code all in one convenient location. With this information being readily available the end-user will not have to remove the graphics card for their system to get the info need to send in a support ticket to XFX.

 

 

Next up, we're are going to take a closer look at the XFX HD 5570.

Closer Look:

The XFX HD 5570 comes as a full sized black PCB that uses a large single slot active cooling solution. Since XFX has decided to use a large PCB in place of the low-profile design, this graphics card will not be able to fit into a small form factor case. However, this is really only going to a drawback for the home theater market as the size shouldn't be an issue for most mainstream users. The connection type that is used on the XFX HD 5570 is the PCIe 2.1 standard, which is fully compatible with any PCIe x 16 slot. This makes the card fully backward compatible, so there is no need to worry if you use an older system or do know your PCIe bus type. Also, even though the board physically lacks any CrossFire connectors, it can still utilize the technology allowing the end-user to run two of these card together for added performance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For connectivity XFX has included three video options on HD 5570. These consists of an HDMI port, DVI port, and a VGA port. The VGA and DVI port will give the user multiple means of connecting to their monitor and the HDMI port is perfect for HTPC users. Turning the card around, you can see that there is no additional power connector. This is due to the graphics cards low power requirement of less than 45W under full load.

 

 

The HD 5570 is built on the 40nm Redwood core with clock frequencies of 650MHz and comes with 1GB of DDR2 memory rated at 500MHz (1000MHz effectively). Other specifications also include 400 stream processors, a 128-bit interface, 16 ROPs, and support for DX11 and ATI stream technologies. There are eight memory chips found on the PCB; each chip is 128MB in size, for a total of 1024MB or 1GB . The memory on the XFX HD 5570 has the ATI logo with the model number 23BY2387SA02. This is the first DDR2 HD 5570 that I have used and, as such, I am interested to see how the performance is effected.

 

 

Next we're going to install the ATI Catalyst drivers by means of the included installation disc.


 

Closer Look:

XFX has included a drivers disc and a easy to follow installation guide to help you though the software installation process. To get started, the first thing you will need to do is insert the disc in to the drive and wait a few seconds for it to auto-run. After it has started, the first window that you see is a welcome screen that thanks you for purchasing your product from XFX. The next screen performs a quick system check of your hardware. Once this is finished, the disc will either allow you to connect to the XFX website for up-to-date software or finish the installation using the software on the disk. If you chose to get the newer drivers that are available, you will first have go though a online registration. After you have completed the online form, the drivers will become available.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

During the initial installation there are a few options that allow you to view the quick installation guide, manual and technology features for the graphics card. Each menu is a PDF file saved on the installation disc that can be accessed anytime the disc is in the drive.

 

 

The actual installation of the drivers is done though the ATI Catalyst install manager. This is an easy to use tool that quickly guides you though the installation process from start to finish. This install manager can either be set to automatically install all drivers that are included or you can chose to do the more advanced manual install. If manual is chosen, you will be presented with a list of drivers with each having a selectable box on the left side. The most important drivers cannot be changed, however there are some drivers and additional software that you can opt not to install on your system. Once the selection has been made the installation process starts and and finishes on its own. After all drivers are installed the system will need to cycle though a restart before all changes will take effect.

 

 

Specifications:

Bus Type
PCI-E 2.1
Performance
Standard
GPU Clock MHz
650MHz
Stream Processors
400
Memory Interface Bus (bit)
128
Memory Type
DDR2, DDR3
Memory Size
512 – 1024 MB
Memory Clock (MHz)
1000 – 1600 MHz
Microsoft® DirectX® Support
11
Shader Model Support
5.0
Open GL Optimization and Support
3.2
Maximum Power Requirement (watt)
400 Watt
Cooling Heatsink
Y
Cooling Fansink
Y
ROHS
Y
Profile
Standard
ATI Radeon CrossFireX™ Technology
Y
ATI Radeon PowerPlay™
Y
ATI Radeon Stream Technology
Y
Dimensions (Imperial)
6.5 x 4.376 x 0.75
Dimensions (Metric)
16.7 x 11 x 1.9
Max Resolution Analog
2048 x 1536
Max Resolution Digital
2560 x 1600
ATI Eyefinity Technology
Y
DisplayPort
1

 

Features:

 

All information courtesy of XFX @ http://xfxforce.com/en-us/products/graphiccards/hd%205000series/5570.aspx#1

Testing:

Testing of the XFX HD 5570 will consist of running the card through the OverclockersClub.com suite of games and synthetic benchmarks. This will test the performance against many popular competitors. Comparisons will be made to cards of equal and greater capabilities to show where it falls on the performance ladder. The games used are some of today's newest and most popular titles to give you an idea on how the cards perform relative to each other. 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. I will test the card at stock speeds, then overclocked in order to see how much additional performance is available and to determine if it can run with the current fastest single GPU cards on the market.  The drivers used in this test will be the 10.5 Catalyst drivers for ATI and 197.45 Forceware drivers from NVIDIA. Tests will be conducted at both stock and overclocked settings to gauge performance when an increase in clock speed is applied.

 

 

Comparison Boards:

 

Overclocking:

When overclocking, most graphics cards can easily surpass the core and memory clock speed limitations found in ATI's Catalyst Control Panel. This makes the CCC a rather weak overclocking tool that is mainly used by those looking for the easiest way to gain a few frames-per-second, but it's not designed to push a card to it limits. To really overclock the the HD 5570, I turned to AMD GPU ClockTool which is free of such limitations. Since I know the CCC clocks were stable, I started with those speeds and moved up by 10MHz on both the GPU core and memory. I did not stop until after a successful 15 minute run though of FurMark. The end result achieve by the XFX 5570 had the core running at 769MHz and the memory at 625MHz. This is a decent overclock for both the core and DDR2 memory and should improve the overall performance of the graphics card.

 

 

 

 

Maximum Clock Speeds:

Each card has been tested for its maximum stable clock speeds using MSI's Kombuster utility. So far my testing has shown that higher clock speeds may be stable in games where GPU usage does not reach 100%, but will crash within a few minutes using this utility. The reported clock speeds are those that proved stable over a 15 minute test at 1920x1200 8x AA.

 

 

  1. Far Cry 2
  2. Metro 2033
  3. Crysis Warhead
  4. Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2
  5. Darkest of Days
  6. Bioshock 2
  7. Just Cause 2
  8. Unigine Heaven Benchmark 2.0
  9. Batman: Arkham Asylum
  10. Resident Evil 5
  11. 3DMark 06 Professional
  12. 3DMark Vantage
  1. Temperature
  2. Wattage

Testing:

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 storyline 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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Higher = Better

 

Well, it looks like the DDR2 memory has a negative impact on the gaming performance after all. The XFX HD 5570 did perform very well in this benchmark and achieved playable frames-per-second across most resolutions, but it just could not perform at the same level as the HD 5550 that uses faster DDR3 memory.

Testing:

Part first-person shooter, part survival horror, Metro 2033 is based on the novel of the same name, written by Russian author Dmitry Glukhovsky. You play as Artyom in a post-apocalyptic Moscow, where you'll spend most of your time traversing the metro system, with occasional trips to the surface. Despite the dark atmosphere and bleak future for mankind, the visuals are anything but bleak. Powered by the 4A Engine, with support for DirectX 11, NVIDIA Physx and NVIDIA 3D Vision, the tunnels are extremely varied - in your travels, you'll come across human outposts, bandit settlements, and even half-eaten corpses. Ensuring you feel all the tension, there is no map and no health meter. Get lost without enough gas mask filters and adrenaline shots, and you may soon wind up as one of those half-eaten corpses - chewed up by some horrifying manner of irradiated beast that hides in the shadows, just waiting for some hapless soul to wander by.

 

Settings:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Higher = Better

 

Metro 2033 is one of the DX11 benchmarks we perform and, as you can see from the graphs above, it was not kind to any of the ATI graphics card used. One thing that was quite surprising is that the HD 5450 had the same results at the highest resolution as the HD 5570 and HD 5550. To me, this just shows that if your hardware is not up to the task it doesn't matter if it has a higher clock speed or extra shader units.  Also, since the NVIDIA 210 does not support DX11, it could not perform this benchmark.

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.

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Higher = Better

 

Again, the XFX HD 5570 under-performs and falls behind the HD 5550.

Testing:

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 is the latest iteration of the venerable first-person shooter series, Call of Duty. Despite its long, successful pedigree, the game is not without substantial criticism and controversy, especially on the PC. Aside from the extremely short campaign and lack of innovation, the PC version's reception was also marred by its lack of support for user-run dedicated servers, which means no user-created maps, no mods, and no customized game modes. You're also limited to 18-player matches instead of the 64-player matches that were possible in Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. Despite all this, the game has been well received and the in-house IW 4.0 engine renders the maps in gorgeous detail, making it a perfect candidate for OCC benchmarking. You start off the single player missions playing as Private Allen and jump right into a serious firefight. This is the point where testing will begin. Testing will be done using actual game play with FPS measured by Fraps.

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Higher = Better

 

The results from the XFX HD 5570 are very good and Modern Warfare 2 is playable at all resolutions, but, yet again, the HD 5550 is the faster card..

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.

 

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Higher = Better

In this benchmark, the XFX HD 5570 is equal to the HD 5550 at stock, but - once overclocked - the HD 5550 has a slight lead.

Testing:

BioShock 2 is the sequel to a game that won more than 50 game of the year awards and sold more than 2.5 million units worldwide. Though a first-person shooter at its core, BioShock 2 blends that with RPG elements and drops you into an environment like no other - the underwater dystopian city of Rapture. Set approximately ten years after the events of the original, BioShock 2 allows the player to be one of the most iconic video game characters of recent years, a Big Daddy. Powered by the Unreal Engine 2.5 and featuring Havok Physics, BioShock 2 also adds multiplayer to the mix, filling in the one hole prevalent in the first game. There are seven different multiplayer game modes that take place in 1959, before the events of the original BioShock.

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Higher = Better

 

 

The XFX HD 5570 seemed to pick up some steam in Darkest of Days, but it appears as if that is not going to be a trend as it is now back in second place.

Testing:

Just Cause 2 is a third-person shooter that takes place on the fictional island of Panau in Southeast Asia. In this sequel to 2006's Just Cause, you return as Agent Rico Rodriguez to overthrow an evil dictator and confront your former boss. When you don't feel like following the main storyline, you're free to roam the island, pulling off crazy stunts and causing massive destruction in your wake, all beautifully rendered by the Avalanche Engine 2.0. In the end, that's what the game basically boils down to; crazy stunts and blowing things up. In fact, blowing things up and wreaking havoc is actually necessary to unlock new missions and items.

 

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Higher = Better

 

The XFX HD 5570 achieves decent frames-per-second, but again it is not the fastest card.

Testing:

Unigine Heaven Benchmark 2.1 is a DirectX 11 GPU benchmark based on the Unigine engine. What sets the Heaven Benchmark apart is the addition of hardware tessellation, available in three modes; Moderate, Normal and Extreme. Although tessellation requires a video card with DirectX 11 support and Windows Vista/7, the Heaven Benchmark also supports DirectX 9, DirectX 10 and OpenGL. Visually, it features beautiful floating islands that contain a tiny village and extremely detailed architecture.

 

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Higher = Better

 

At stock the XFX HD 5570 performs under the HD 5550, but the numbers do get closer once the cards have been overclocked.

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 rein 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.

 

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Higher = Better

 

The 5570 is second place yet again, but Batman is playable across all resolutions.

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 gen6sis 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.

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Higher = Better

 

At that lowest resolution, the HD 5570 is the best performer.  Once the settings are increased, the results tip back in the direction of the HD 5550.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Higher = Better

 

The XFX HD 5570 has larger gains in 3DMark06 once overclocked, but there is not a single resolution where it outperforms the HD 5550.

Testing:

Featuring all-new game tests, the 3DMark Vantage 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 the four presets at all default settings.

 

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Higher = Better

 

The results in 3DMark Vantage are a reverse of what we have been seeing throughout the review. What this shows is that the HD 5550 is limited due to its 512MB of memory and the performance will decease as the settings increase. Since the XFX HD 5570 has 1GB of memory, it was not quite as limited.

Testing:

Temperature testing will be accomplished by loading the video card to 100% using MSI Kombuster which is paired with MSI's afterburner overclocking utility for temperature monitoring. I will be using the stability test set to a resolution of 1920 x 1200 using 8xAA. I will use a 15 minute time frame to run the test ensuring that the maximum thermal threshold is reached. The fan speed will be left in the control of the driver package and video cards BIOS for the first test, with the fan moved to 100% to see the best possible cooling scenario. The idle test will be a 20 minute cool down with the fan speeds left on automatic.

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lower = Better

 

The large heatsink used on the XFX HD 5570 really pays off, allowing it to cooler better than any of the other comparison models.

Testing:

Power Consumption of the system will be measured in both idle states and load stated and will take into account the peak voltage of the system with each video card installed. I will use MSI Kombuster to load the GPU for a 15 minute test an use the peak load of the system as my result for the maximum load. The idle results will be measured after 15 minutes of inactivity on the system.

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lower = Better

 

The overall power consumption of the HD 5570 is very low - it consumes only 41W under full load at stock and 43W once overclocked.

Conclusion

Although the HD 5570 is not a gaming powerhouse, it is a very capable graphics card. This was clearly evident during the benchmarking process, as once the in-game settings were reduced, the HD 5570 continuously achieved playable frames-per-second in most of the games. This is an impressive feat for a graphics card that retails for $80. Still, there was a performance issue that just can not be overlooked. This is that where most manufacturers use DDR3 memory - XFX is using slower DDR2. This greatly reduces the GPU bandwidth and creates a situation where the on-board memory is limiting the graphics cards performance. In fact, in test after test it repeatedly fell behind the cheaper HD 5550. These two graphics cards do share most of the same specifications, but the HD 5550 has a reduced amount of shader units and a slower core frequency. This means that the HD 5570 should easily outperform the HD 5550, but that was just not the case. So, even though the overall performance was good, it is hard to recommend a graphics card that can't outperform a product that retails for less.

Not all is bad about this card and as stated before it does have a great price to performance ratio. Also, since it has double the memory of the comparison HD 5550 it will be able to perform better as the in-game settings are increased. This was proven true during the testing process and in many instances the XFX HD 5570 card was able to surpass the HD 5550 at medium level settings. Additional benefits of this card include a lifetime warranty, ATI Stream technology, great power efficiency, and an effective, yet quiet, cooling solution. It is features such as these that make graphics cards like the HD 5570 a good option for the mainstream user. However, when comparing this card side-by-side to those with DDR3 memory, it might be hard to justify paying the same price and getting less in return, especially when some DDR3 HD 5570's can be found for up to $10 off the retail price of this DDR2 model.

 

Pros:

 

Cons: