ATI 5000 Series Roundup
Published: 20th January 2010 | Source: ASUS | Price: £117 - £540 |
Today's Cards On Test
Initially it would appear that the ASUS cards are reference based designs, utilising the stock ATI cooling solution and in the de rigueur black and red the current ATI design is based upon. However as is often the case, under the hood things are surprisingly different.
ASUS have loaded their ATI 5 cards with a voltage modifiable BIOS. This is a far cry from the old days of having to get out your pencil and should aid overclocking tremendously. But don't think that this is some special for a review site as the versions available on the retail market also come with this handy feature that should enable some very stable core overclocks.
Naturally with only the reference cooling there is very little to say about these cards. The main points of interest are the very tasteful colour scheme which will match a lot of peoples systems. Most high-end motherboards are starting to be produced in black these days, and a lot of the extreme performance memory has a red and black colour scheme. So it's great to see that it's possible to create a cohesive internal look without having to spend yet more money having everything rebuilt into certain colours.
Secondly ASUS have resisted the temptation to plaster the cards with some random fantasy figure, lending an air of class to the whole thing with a small logo in the bottom left corner and on the fan the only branding visible.
To aid in identification we've labelled the cards for you, although basically the higher the card, the bigger it is. The 5770 is 220mm long, the 5850 242mm, the 5870 is 280mm and the 5970 a quite staggering 305mm long. Suffice to say the 5970 is definitely not for those with a mid-tower case and even some of the smaller or poorer designed full-towers might struggle.
Moving on you'll notice the plethora of outputs available on all the models. ATI's 5 series of cards come with Eyefinity, a technology that enables triple-monitors to be used for an all-around gaming experience that has to be seen to be believed. With the need to output to three monitors for this it stands to reason that there are so many outputs. For those still on a single monitor setup, which we'd imagine to be nearly everyone, having such a choice ensures that no matter what monitor you have there is a compatible output.
We see a lot of exceptionally desirable hardware come through our offices, but there is something about the four cards all together that made even the most jaded of us get a little warm and fuzzy. Don't they look lovely.
It's time to see our test setup and try some overclocking.