5970 Initial Thoughts / Review

I recently performed a complete overhaul of my rig due to a catastrophic failure of my 780i XfX motherboard. I went from an e8500 @ 3.8ghz w/8gb of ddr2 and 2 gtx 280's in sli to a I7 920 @ 3.4 ghz (for now) on an EVGA X58 LE and 6gb 1800mhz DDR3 with a HIS Radeon 5970. The install went really well.....and I must say...Overclocking the 920 was easy as my X. *** EASY ***. Anyway, 3.4ghz is a really minor OC for this chip...Please understand that I wanted to give it some breathing room during it's burn in. So far temps are around 26-29c idle and around 43-51 under load (crysis / dirt 2). 58c under Prime 95 blend test.

Now for the fun part. The 5970. After unpacking the video card I had to sit and just bask in its glory for a moment. The screen shots don't give this thing justice...It is indeed a huge video card. My nephew thought it was a remote control car. It installed with no problems. I was running a fresh install of windows 7 so no driver cleaning was needed.

The first thing I noticed is that the colors being rendered seemed to be more vibrant through the Radeon card than they were through the GTX 280s. At first I thought this was my imagination, I mean, why would the picture be any different from one card to the next? Well, for a sanity check I decided to call my wife into the room. She uses my rig for some of her graphic design work via adobe so she is really accustomed to how colors look on my monitors. I had her fire up adobe photo shop and play around a bit..Then she asked me "did you get another monitor or something? The picture looks better..." Yay!! I'm not crazy!

On to the meat and potatoes. I reinstalled my game library and set up eyefinity on my 2 x dell U2410/ 1 x 2408wfp monitors. It took a little time to figure out where to go so I will post the path here for those of you who might be in the same predicament: Graphics > Display > Option Arrow > Display Group > Create Group > 3 Displays. Catalyst Control Center was a little weird at first as it's not as straight forward as Nvidia's, but ultimately I got used to it pretty quickly. A button in the main menu, or under graphics to enable /disable eyefinity would be nice. Overall I think that CCC is a much more robust program than Nvidia's, but the layout could definitely use some work. I'm probably just used to seeing every option on one page.


Crysis Warhead was buttery smooth at enthusiast settings 4x AA at 1920 x 1200. It looked great, never saw frames dip below 30 and I saw them get as high as 61fps. At 5760x1200 in those settings it was unplayable. Gamer settings made it a little better. Ultimately I had to drop it down to a mix of gamer and mainstream (shadows, post processing etc.) to get playable frame rates. Things improved drastically at 3840x1200 on all options set to gamer as the game played smooth as silk with minimum frames back around 30 and max topping out around 46. I was really impressed by that actually. This card is beast.

Dirt 2: Every setting maxed, 5860x1200 : Fluid fps. No stuttering, chopping...just a beautiful game. Playing it in eyefinity is a trip!

DAO: Every setting maxed, 5860x1200 : Fluid fps. No stuttering, chopping. Cut scenes are jacked up, but thats to be expected as they probably don't render them at such a crazy aspect ratio (48:10?? LOL).

Hawx: Every setting maxed, 5860x1200 : Fluid fps. Can get slightly choppy at times...Nothing that would make the game unplayable. This went away once I OC'd the card. Beautiful in eyefinity.

Supcom: Every setting maxed, 5860x1200 : Fluid fps. No stuttering, chopping. FoV is kind of funky at times and the menu's are skewed some. Know your hotkeys!! This is the only way to play RTS games for me from now on lol.

CoH: Every setting maxed, 5860x1200 : Fluid fps. No stuttering, chopping. Same as Supcom only the FoV problems much more pronounced. You get used to it...I would hope they fix this in a driver update.

In all these games I never saw temps go past 70 c. I can't really attest to noise since I am using a Cosmos 1000 case that is loaded with Scythe Ultra Kaze 3000 rpm 120mm fans. In other words...They are louder than the card could ever be haha. All in all, I am incredibly happy with my purchase. The performance of the 5970 is without a doubt impressive. Will Fermi be competition for this card? I am sure. But to be honest... I don't care. To be quite frank I was getting sick and tired of Nvidia and their pricing..not to mention their policies regarding competitive brands. Seeing them release cartoons, memos, press releases from their CEO bashing all of their competition just seemed childish / hypocritical to me. Especially when they disabled physics on their OWN F$&*ing HARDWARE because you have a competitors video card installed. IMO that's just a lawsuit waiting to happen. I am happily selling off my gtx 280's and never looking back!

Hope you enjoyed this write up thingy...As always, let me know if you have any questions. Pics coming soon!
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More about 5970 initial thoughts review
  1. Entertaining and thought provoking, thumbs up dude.
  2. Thanks a lot,a very nice review :)
  3. I envy you man.
  4. I wanna have your babies,
  5. Sometimes I wonder if Eyefinity actually provides a better gaming experience. My 26" seems really big and outlandish. But then again....in my WoW gaming day's I would have really enjoyed the open space in hardcore dungeon raids.
  6. monsterman said:
    Sometimes I wonder if Eyefinity actually provides a better gaming experience.

    if you watch the review video, they say it improved their lap times in need for speed shift quite alot. They used to finish like in 10th or somewhere down there, but once they enabled eyefinity they won the very next race with 10-15 secs faster lap times. So yeah, it might help in some cases. :ouch:
  7. I can tell you this much...Eyefinity has made everything much more immersive. It's a little hard to explain but, imagine playing a 3d game and having your periph. vision always engaged by content relevant to what your playing. It is quite a feeling once you get your eyes / brain to adjust to it.

    When I first started playing dirt 2 and hawx I immediately noticed the sense of speed you get as you see everything whip by in your periph. vision. In crysis I actually got a little motion sick at first...there was even one point where I had a chill go up my spine as I looked over the side of a cliff..Vertigo from a game? Sounds crazy I know..but once you see it for yourself, you will understand what I mean.
  8. I debated on upgrading to three monitors (just sold a 22" hp for my 26" hp) but decided that it would really only be useful, for me, in gaming. I watch a ton of movies/anime from bed so the single large screen works out. I sit so close to it... I also got vertigo in Dragon Age because it was just soo large. From 2' away a 26" monitor seems huge. I actually had to push it back a few inches.

    I wish I had a gaming room where I had the eyefinity setup specifically for games.
  9. Garpizzle, can you post a link to these anti-ATI cartoons? I'm also using a 5970 and not a huge Nvidia fan after my 8800GTX died and my brothers 8800GTS (apparently all these 8800s are dying now, solder metal breaking down or something... woulda thought that's on the card manufacturer but this is across all makes)... this cartoon sounds funny though! Would go a long way to making me respect Nvidia even less, kinda like this Apple/Adobe squabbling going on (and let's not forget the whole Futuremark bribery thing with the FX/5 series). Also, I didn't know about this physics disabling thing... could you post details, or a link?
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