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Sapphire HD 5870 Review

Price: $379.99


Video card technology continues its march forward. Most times the introduction of a new series of video cards is eagerly anticipated. The online buzz leading up to the introduction often contains reference to leaked slides from the manufacturer's presentations that most likely are controlled leaks to hype up the masses. Well today is the day for another launch with the introduction of the Sapphire HD5870. The HD5870 is not just about increasing gaming performance but the whole package. ATI has a phrase for this launch! "Expand" with Eyefinity the newest multi-monitor technology that creates an immersive environment. "Accelerate" with DX 11 technology. The HD5870 is the first and only DirectX 11 video card to market. Last, but not least, "Dominate" with ATI's Stream computing.

The Sapphire HD5870 is built upon the DirectX11 capable 40nm RV870 core with clock speeds of 850MHz on the GPU core and 1200MHz on the 1GB frame buffer. The core sees a huge increase in the number of transistors, texture units and stream processors. By huge I mean double the size or more from the last generation HD48XX series from ATI. Will this translate into a like increase performance or will it just be another big step in tech without the rewards?

Closer Look:

Sapphire has gone for the gold on this one. The gold theme strikes a bold statement. Gold signifies the number one finisher in a sporting event. The top dog! A pretty bold statement! The front panel features yet another buxom beauty, this one made her first appearance on the Atomic Series cards. Information that can be taken from the front panel includes the following features, DirectX 11, Crossfire ready, ATI Eyefinity Multi-Display capability, built in HDMI and DisplayPort connectivity and that the HD5870 carries over two TeraFlops of processing power. The game Battle Stations Pacific is included along with a Steam activation for the game Dirt 2. The rear panel goes into a bit more detail on the features listed on the front panel. One thing that stood out was the fact that Sapphire is doing its part to go "green" by using recyclable materials for the packaging. On the left is a snapshot of the awards that Sapphire's product portfolio has earned. The list is quite extensive.









The "Green" nature of the packaging is clearly evident when you pull the box from the sleeve. The card is tucked away in a formed cardboard shell while the accessories are stored in a separate box below the HD5870.


Sapphire is not a company that skimps on the accessories and always sends its cards out with a great bundle. This one is no exception. The bundle includes the manual, driver disc, DVI to D-Sub adapter, Crossfire bridge connection, two 4-pin Molex to 6-pin PCI-E power connectors and last, but not least, the two games that add value to the bundle. Dirt 2 comes as a Steam download key that is good once the game drops in early December.

Let's see what the card looks like out of its confines!


  1. Introduction & Closer Look
  2. Closer Look (The Video Card)
  3. Specifications & Features
  4. Testing: Setup & Overclocking
  5. Testing: Far Cry 2
  6. Testing: Crysis Warhead
  7. Testing: Darkest of Days
  8. Testing: Call of Duty World at War
  9. Testing: Warhammer 40,000 Dawn of War II
  10. Testing: Batman Arkham Asylum
  11. Testing: Resident Evil 5
  12. Testing: Left 4 Dead
  13. Testing: 3DMark 06
  14. Testing: 3DMark Vantage
  15. Conclusion
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