HIS 5870 Turbo X Crossfire Review Page: 1

HIS 5870 Turbo Crossfire Review

Introduction

Anyone who was around for the last round of ATI cards, the 4870 series, will know how brilliant the HIS IceQ version was. Cool, quiet and fast it was definitely among the top echelons of the 4870s available.

Therefore we've been waiting with baited breath to see if HIS would apply this to the HD5870. Sure enough they recently released the HIS HD5870 Turbo, and then upped the clock speed and gave us the HIS HD5870 Turbo X which we have for review today.

Of course here at OC3D we don't just want to review a single high end card. We've gone through a few of those recently. Isn't it about time we did a lunatic Crossfire review? We thought so too and HIS were generous enough to supply our needs, so today we're reviewing the HIS HD5870 Turbo X in Crossfire. This should be fun.

Technical Specifications

If it's Tech Spec time, then it's time for us to go to the excellent HIS website and grab the data.

CooleriCooler V
GPUATI HD5870
Core Clock900 MHz
Memory Clock4.9Gbps
Memory Size1024 MB
Memory TypeGDDR5
Memory Interface256 Bit
InterfacePCI Express x16 v2.1


900MHz out the box. Lovely. But we all know you want the results, so let's have a quick look at the cards before we move on.



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HIS 5870 Turbo  Crossfire Review

Eye Candy

Hopefully by now we're all really familiar with the 5870, and the HIS has all the tools you'd expect such as HDMI, DVI and DisplayPort output for Eyefinity.

HIS 5870 Turbo Crossfire Candy     HIS 5870 Turbo Crossfire Inputs  

Visually the cards are dominated by two things. The iCooler V and the Modern Warfare 2 labelling. We also have a nice bit of advertising on the top of the card, which will let anyone who looks through your case window know where your money went.

HIS 5870 Turbo Crossfire Shots     HIS 5870 Turbo Crossfire Photo  

The iCooler V is a serious hunk of aluminium that thankfully retains the some of the rear exhausting qualities of the reference card. So we wont end up with too much of a toasty case. The fan is much slimmer than the ATI reference version which should help keep noise low.

HIS 5870 Turbo Crossfire Up Close     HIS 5870 Turbo Crossfire Cooling

Definitely some sexy looking cards. Blue board and fan works nicely together.



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HIS 5870 Turbo  Crossfire Review

Test Setup

2x HIS HD5870 Turbo X
Corsair Dominator GT @ 1600MHz
ASUS Rampage 3 Extreme
Intel i7 930 @ 3.6GHz
Windows 7 Ultimate 64 Bit
Noctua NH-D14 with Arctic MX-3

3D Mark Vantage

Futuremarks 3D Mark Vantage is in its death throws as there will soon be a newer version out. For the time being though it still gives us a score we can all compare against.

There is absolutely no question that the Turbo X is king here. Incredible performance.

Performance

High

Moving on to the High benchmark the difference is even more astounding. Sure it's two GPUs, but the 5970 is too and it's thoroughly spanked.

Unigine

Unigine tests the Direct X 11 performance, and performance in general. If this was a boxing match the referee would step in. The Turbo X crossfire setup is so comprehensively bests everything else it's untrue.

Even the single card performance is fantastic with it beating the GTX480 in this particular test.



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HIS 5870 Turbo  Crossfire Review

Gaming Results

Dirt 2

It's cool to see that our synthetic results are matched in a gaming environment. The reference 5870 is once again spanked, and the single HIS Turbo X keeps up with the 5970. Truly impressive stuff. No wonder the Crossfire results are so good.

Just Cause 2

Just Cause 2 really has some amazing graphical effects and can bring even the highest system to its knees. The only cards that can give us the playable rate we like are the 5970 and, totally unsurprisingly, the HIS Turbo X Crossfire.

Need For Speed Shift

Wow. The Turbo X Crossfire clearly is the equivalent cracking an egg with a pneumatic hammer. Over 200 FPS maximum and deep into the hundreds at average. Suffice to say you can be at the back of the grid, surrounded by cars and building's but the Turbo Xs will just be twiddling their thumbs and wondering when they're gonna be tested.

Crysis Warhead

Many an epic looking review has crashed an burnt on the rocks of Crysis Warhead and its ability to need more power than can be provided by almost anything.

Note I say almost. Enter HIS and the epic 5870 Turbo X. 78 Frames per second. Seventy-Eight. Even the minimum rate is more than we used to wish for as a maximum. Tempora mutanta.



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HIS 5870 Turbo  Crossfire Review

Lottery Winners

Clearly the HIS HD5870 Turbo X Crossfire has mind-blowing amounts of power available. It would be a shame to not use it to its fullest because of the standardised way we test here at OC3D. So this is a little aside for those of you who's Oil-Tycoon Uncle has recently died, or who got lucky on the Euro Millions.

Test Setup 2

With everything as it was previously, we dropped in the Intel i7 980x. Currently the best processor on the planet thanks to its Hex-Core, Hyper-Threaded 32nm goodness.

It's also, as we saw in the review, a bonkers clocker and we happily took it to 4.4GHz and then ran a couple of our tests again. Remember this is all on air, god bless Noctua.

2x HIS HD5870 Turbo X
Corsair Dominator GT @ 2100MHz
ASUS Rampage 3 Extreme
Intel i7 980x @ 4.4ghz (210x21)
Windows 7 Ultimate 64 Bit
Noctua NH-D14 with Arctic MX-3

3D Mark Vantage

Oh. My. God. 32291. Thirty-Two Thousand, Two hundred and Ninety-One 3D Mark Vantage performance points. Absolutely stunning. We thought the "stock" Turbo X results were impressive. Clearly they can eat CPUs for breakfast too. Superlatives fail us to adequately describe this.

Just in case you're the type who likes to look at all the data for all the tests, here is a grab of the result. Even the insanely harsh Feature Test 4 was comprehensively spanked.

HIS 5870 Turbo  Crossfire 3D Mark Vantage 32291

Unigine

Unigine is far more dependant upon the GPU than the CPU thanks to it's excellent optimisation and usage of the DirectX 11 API. Still we gained performance across the board.

Crysis Warhead

14 FPS gained at average, leading to a stunning 91.2 FPS average in Crysis Warhead even at this resolution. Hell the minimum rate is above the V-Sync 60 FPS mark. Never has the word Epic felt more appropriate.

Sure it's eye-watering to pair £700 worth of graphics with a £850 processor, but if you can you'll be grinning forever.



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HIS 5870 Turbo  Crossfire Review

Conclusion

I don't know about you, but we almost need to stop and catch our breath after that.

Without question the HIS HD5870 Turbo X Crossfire setup we had in for review today took our expectations and threw them out the window. Throughout our testing it constantly redefined what we considered to be possible, even with two 5870s. The results we achieved were far above anything we'd seen in previous 5870 Crossfire tests using reference cards.

Backtracking a little, it's worth mentioning the iCooler V. Unlike certain cards the ATI HD5870 already has an excellent reference cooler capable of cooling the card sufficiently at sensible volume levels. The HIS iCooler V is a total cut above. Even when Crossfired, a situation you'd expect to find the top card cooking happily, the temperatures never rose above 68c. Despite them being under loading they also proved very quiet and when we returned to the desktop and they slipped back to the standard 2D speeds of 30% they were pretty much inaudible.

With a 900MHz core speed out the box the Turbo X definitely doesn't want for a bit of power. If you're seeking a single card our results showed this definitely should be on your shortlist.

However we're not here for single card shenanigans. In Crossfire the Turbo X absolutely bludgeoned anything we threw at it into submission. Getting higher than 26000 in 3D Mark Vantage is impressive enough, but hitting 77 FPS in Crysis Warhead is truly a jaw-dropping feat. There is very little we can find to say that hasn't been writ large in the graphs. You'll definitely have trouble making these cards struggle.

So brilliant were they that we broke our testing methodology just to bring you a "what's possible" by using a heavily overclocked i7 980x. Even though we were limited by using air for all of our cooling and demanding that our clocks were at levels anyone could achieve and run 24/7, we still smashed the highest Vantage score we've ever seen with the HIS Turbo X's producing 32291 3D Marks.

So they are cool, quiet, well built and have epic performance. What's wrong? There is only one thing, and it's the one thing that is always wrong when you're at the cutting edge of performance. Price. At around £700 for a pair these certainly aren't for the shallow of pocket. However even those of us who's means are more modest love to dream don't we.

The old saying goes, you get what you pay for. Here it is definitely true. Yeah they might be £700, but just look at that performance. Go back and stare at those graphs. Imagine what it's like to have this power at your fingertips.

Sell a kidney. Sell your Granny. Whatever you have to do, get your hands on these. An easy winner of the OC3D Performance Award.

Performance   Award      

Thanks to HIS for providing the Turbo X's for todays review. Discuss in our forums.