ATI Radeon HD 5870 1GB GDDR5 Preview

Performance Figures & Conclusion

Test Setup
Intel Core i7 965 Extreme Edition @ 3.30GHz (975 Clocks)
9GB DDR3-1333 Memory
80GB Intel X25M Solid State HDD
ATi Radeon HD 5870 1GB GDDR5
nVidia GeForce GTX 285 1GB GDDR3
Coolermaster HAF 922 Case
As you can see, our test setup has been specified in such a nature that the graphics cards are not limited by other components such as the CPU. While the results may not necessarily be relevant to the bulk of consumers as the testbed is likely to contribute a fair amount to the overall results, it certainly helps us work out the margin to which the HD 5870 is faster (or slower?).
Crysis is known to be a heavy tasker of a game. Evidently, at 1920x1200 with oodles of detail and eyecandy, one really needs a computer with phenominal processing power. The Radeon HD 5870 quite clearly tops the GTX 285 by substantial margins. It must be said however that even doubling the minimum framerate of the GTX285 is still a far cry from fluid gameplay. Speaking of far cries...
Far Cry 2 is not so demanding but still holds a significant element of GPU dependancy in the highlighted scenario. While the HD 5870 see's a huge lead in maximum framerates, it remains to be a rather modest defeat with the majority of framerates skewed towards the lower end of the 55 to 150 spectrum. Regardless, this is an admirable result.
Initial Impressions
At the end of the day, ATi has launched a new graphics card to directly counter nVidia's GeForce GTX 285 in the sub $400 category.In an ideal world, this graphics card needs to at least match the GTX285 in performance and be priced similarly in order to steal some sales and for the HD 5870 to be a complete success, it must give the nVidia a genuine beating. It certainly seems as though ATi's new range topper is on the right tracks to do just that but it's quite interesting to see that even one graphics generation later, games such as Crysis continue to force framerates into choppy realms at resolutions which are steadily becoming the norm in many households. Aside performance, the HD 5870's key selling points are it's full DirectX  11 functionality and support for up to 3 (or 6 with relevant "6" edition card) monitors. We for one would put significant value on both of these features but what if one's aim is only raw performance? If that is the case, might two previous generation Radeon HD 4890's in Crossfire or GeForce GTX 260/275's be a better proposition? How will the HD 5870 perform with a more affordable machine? Hopefully we can answer these questions very soon.
good start  
All in all, ATi seems to have got off to a good start with their DirectX 11 range. It must be remembered that this is only the beginning and that in the next few months we will see a number of midrange graphics cards based on the HD 5870 as well as a dual GPU 'X2' version to tackle the ultra high end. If AMD can keep a grip on their sweetspot strategy of offering such equipment with an aggressive pricing strategy, they have certainly set themselves up for a very respectable headstart against the upcoming nVidia competition codenamed 'GT300', which will slowly fall into the spotlight of the rumour mills as it's anticipated release date draws closer. Until then, it's time for nVidia to remove any smug expressions on their faces and carefully evaluate their future strategies accordingly. Move aside GTX 285, your reign as the fastest single GPU on the market has come to an end. Well done ATi!
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Most Recent Comments

23-09-2009, 04:31:24

looks like ghosties keeping his 4890 Quote

23-09-2009, 06:47:51

Some nice initial figures there.

This card won't be aimed at the GTX285 tho, the cards are both a different generation, different audience and different api, particularly Dx11.

This card can only really be aimed at the "GTX375" or whatever it turns out to be.

Comparing different generations is building up hopes.Quote

23-09-2009, 06:59:25

I Hunta x
im suprised one ones been wondering how they fold. ima decide if i wana go 5k or gt300 when there is decent comparisons about and i have a bit more money, for now good old 4850, unless the 4890's get a price drop soonQuote

23-09-2009, 07:51:09

They will fold the same as the old ones untill Stanford redo the client to work with the new architecture I would have thought dudeQuote

23-09-2009, 08:46:49

I Hunta x
probably woulda hoped for 25%~ more ppd tbh, ill look out for results and get report back if i see anyQuote

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