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Sapphire Toxic HD 5970 4GB Review



Testing of the Sapphire HD 5970 4GB Toxic Edition 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 in order to gauge its performance. Comparisons to Sapphire's own 2GB overclocked model will be shown just to see if the additional 2GB of GDDR5 memory has any impact on performance. 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 and then overclocked to see how much additional performance is available and to determine if it can run with or faster than the current fastest single GPU cards on the market. Of course, all settings are left at defaults in the control panels of each respective manufacturer except where noted. The drivers used in this test will be the 10.3 Catalyst drivers for ATI and 197.45 Forceware drivers from Nvidia.


Comparison Video Cards:



Overclocked settings:

  • Sapphire Toxic HD 5970 4GB 966/1254Mhz

Right out of the box this card has higher clocks on the core than what I was able to reach when I overclocked the Sapphire HD 5970 OC Edition back in November and even during the retesting of the card for this review. With those kinds of clocks right from the start, I had to wonder how high this card was going to go without throttling. The Powercolor LCS equipped card showed that keeping the card cool pays big dividends by getting over the 1000Mhz barrier. As robust as the cooling is, I will give it a shot. The Catalyst Control Panel and MSI's Afterburner utility will be used to reach the highest clocks I can by using a combination of voltage, clock and memory speed increases to gain additional performance while still maintaining stability. To start with the GPU cores I went big first to see what they would do and they easily hit 950Mhz with a small bump in voltage to 1.23V from the 1.19V default. Going further required another boost in voltage to get higher. Moving up to 966Mhz on the cores required 1.274 volts. Any higher than that was not stable with even 1.30 volts to the Cypress cores. While the card would have no problems with running most games it was just not 100% stable which is part of the testing requirement. Overclocking to the edge when running sub zero temps and short runs will get you higher clock speeds but reliable 24/7 clock speeds at normal temperatures, for long hours of fraggin, will be much lower. That being said, the clock speeds reached on this card reached 241Mhz higher than the default clock speeds on the reference cards and 231Mhz over the Sapphire OC edition, but only a 66Mhz bump over the default Toxic clocks. Cooling the GPU's is the way to better clocks and the Toxic flaunts this with the higher clock speeds at lower temperatures. Even though I did not hit my 1000Mhz goal on the core, a 66Mhz core bump adds additional performance, so the effort is indeed worth it. On the other hand Futuremark benches will run at 1000Mhz barrier....Hmm gaming or benchmarking. I guess you can have the best of both worlds.


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.



  • Gaming Tests:
  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
  • Usage:
  1. Temperature
  2. Power Consumption

  1. Introduction & Closer Look
  2. Closer Look (The Video Card)
  3. Specifications & Features
  4. Testing: Setup, Overclocking
  5. Testing: Far Cry 2
  6. Testing: Metro 2033
  7. Testing: Crysis Warhead
  8. Testing: Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2
  9. Testing: Darkest of Days
  10. Testing: Bioshock 2
  11. Testing: Just Cause 2
  12. Testing: Unigine Heaven Benchmark 2.0
  13. Testing: Batman Arkham Asylum
  14. Testing: Resident Evil 5
  15. Testing: 3DMark 06
  16. Testing: 3DMark Vantage
  17. Testing: Temperature
  18. Testing: Power Consumption
  19. Conclusion
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