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Radeon HD 5670: The Reference Card

ATI Radeon HD 5670: DirectX 11 For $99
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Despite a list of fairly respectable specifications, the Radeon HD 5670 doesn't appear to be a formidably-sized card (a nice change from the behemoths that were the Radeon HD 5970 and 5870). Barely seven inches long, it's a single-slot board with a small enough cooler to keep weight down to a minimum. The physical dimensions are extremely close to Nvidia's recently-released GeForce GT 220, another card in roughly the same price range and also with a 40nm GPU.

Note the lack of power connector. Based on its specifications alone, the Radeon HD 5670 is expected to claim the title of "fastest reference graphics card without a dedicated power connector" from Nvidia's GeForce GT 240. That's the reference design, mind you. PowerColor is selling a modified Radeon HD 5750 without a power connector. But this is still a noteworthy accomplishment, and it speaks to the card's low power usage and heat output.

It is interesting that the reference model AMD sent us did not sport a CrossFire bridge, whereas the images of another reference card the company sent over did have the connector in place. AMD let us know the card can be run in CrossFire without the bridge, and that this class of card actually works well without one. This is because it isn't able to move as much information between cards as the higher-end models, and consequently won't saturate the PCIe interface. Apparently, the decision is being left up to the card vendor whether or not to include the CrossFire connectors for the bridge. Unfortunately, without bridged and un-bridged models to play with, we won't be able to test the performance impact of running one way or the other until a later date.

This reference model they sent includes DVI, HDMI, and DisplayPort outputs. We'd have preferred two HDMI outputs in addition to the DVI (or two DVIs and an HDMI), as DisplayPort cables aren't quite mainstream yet. But with DisplayPort becoming more prevalent on graphics cards and monitors, it's only a matter of time before DVI and LVDS are both replaced by DisplayPort. There is some flexibility in the hands of the manufacturers here as another reference model in some pictures they supplied has a VGA, HDMI, and DVI output. As we mentioned, the Radeon HD 5670 can technically handle four outputs, so we expect certain vendors to design and market an Eyefinity-edition sooner or later with a dual-slot bezel and enough slot space to handle more connectors.

Here's the heatsink removed. And here's a close-up of the GPU. Hard to believe this little puppy has more ALUs than the once-flagship Radeon HD 2900 XT, huh?

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Top Comments
  • 17 Hide
    stridervm , January 14, 2010 5:28 AM
    I wish there was a Radeon 4850 in the comparison chart for.... Comparison....
  • 12 Hide
    duckmanx88 , January 14, 2010 5:46 AM
    notty22Just meh, no reason for this card to exist at all.


    low price point, low power consumption, and extremely close to the 9800GT in performance. Plenty of reasons to like this card. especially for a casual Sims or Torchlight gamer.
  • 10 Hide
    cleeve , January 14, 2010 2:15 PM
    LavaconThat said, this was a good review, but, we could use a little less bias around here. Had this review been about yet another renamed Nvidia card, THG would have been singing it's praise.


    No.

    I've explained this before. I've explained it in the forums back then, I even explain it in the last page of this review, and I'll explain it again to make it clear:

    When the GT 240 was introduced we were told it would be sub-$100 and weren't given much more than that for pricing detail. After seeing the performance, I assumed the price would drop to where it makes sense in the market - it seemed obvious that the cheaper-to-produce GT 240 would give Nvidia the flexibility to compete on price where the 9600 cards were expensive to produce. It honestly never occurred to me that they'd keep it priced against the vastly superior 4850. In fact, prices have dropped, and probably will continue to drop - but they're not even close to where they need to be for the GT 240 to make sense.

    In any case, that assumption was a mistake, or premature at the very least. I'm not perfect, never claimed to be. But that mistake is not bias. And I'm not willing to make that mistake again regardless of the manufacturer. So I am a bit more cautious about the conclusion this time.

    I acknowledge this on the last page of this review, actually I devoted a good paragraph to it. If this was biased, I'd be extolling the virtues of the GT 240 - I am not. It's a bad buy at the current price and I don't think I'm saying otherwise. This review makes it clear that the GT 240 is redundant at current pricing. If this review was biased against AMD, I wouldn't be steering people to the 4850, would I?

    No bias here dude, just caution to not repeat the same mistake. The 5670 has the potential to be a great card for the $, and if it drops to $80 I'll be extolling it's virtues from the rooftops. Even if it comes down to $90 I'll give it more props. That's common sense, not bias. Would it have made you feel better if I had recommended it over the 4850 at the same price?





Other Comments
  • 4 Hide
    amdfangirl , January 14, 2010 5:08 AM
    4800x900? Are you serious?

    Otherwise, great review. Just curious, are you going to make Flash 10.1 playback a benchmark? I'm just interested.
  • 3 Hide
    amdfangirl , January 14, 2010 5:13 AM
    Oh yes, could you add the hierarchy chart and show where the HD 5670 fits in?
  • 17 Hide
    stridervm , January 14, 2010 5:28 AM
    I wish there was a Radeon 4850 in the comparison chart for.... Comparison....
  • -7 Hide
    noob2222 , January 14, 2010 5:36 AM
    If it weren't for the 4770, this would be priced decently, at the same price it kills the 240. If they were to lower the price to $80 for the 5670, the 240 would get the dumb buy of the year award. IMO $90 would be about right, $80 is definatly too cheap.

    Quote:
    Here it will have to compete against the similarly-performing $80 GeForce 9600 GT


    ... wrong. it won crysis, was close in far cry2 and Hawx. It was slaughtered in the rest of the games by the 5670.

  • -5 Hide
    notty22 , January 14, 2010 5:40 AM

    ..................Radeon HD 5670 Radeon HD 4770
    Shader Processors 400 640
    Texture Units: 20 32

    Color ROPs: 8 16

    Those numbers against the 4770 show, a crippled card. Is this to leave something in the cupboard for the next generation ?
    Just meh, no reason for this card to exist at all.

  • 2 Hide
    belial2k , January 14, 2010 5:43 AM
    I think the points made here about the pricing could be made about the entire 5xxx series. At no point in the entire line is there a GOOD value. Everything can be beaten in price/ performance by previous generation cards or combination of cards...even the 5870 loses badly to two 4890s for less money. The only thing they have going for them is DX11 and eyefinity, which for most gamers are rather questionable "value" adds because of the huge hit DX11 gives framerates and the 3 monitors needed for eyefinity. All these cards need to come down in price before they become smart price/performance buys.
  • 12 Hide
    duckmanx88 , January 14, 2010 5:46 AM
    notty22Just meh, no reason for this card to exist at all.


    low price point, low power consumption, and extremely close to the 9800GT in performance. Plenty of reasons to like this card. especially for a casual Sims or Torchlight gamer.
  • 2 Hide
    cleeve , January 14, 2010 5:47 AM
    noob2222It was slaughtered in the rest of the games by the 5670.


    "Slaughtered". +1 for hyperbole!
  • -7 Hide
    noob2222 , January 14, 2010 6:08 AM
    Cleeve"Slaughtered". +1 for hyperbole!

    What would you call 12-20% faster across the board?
    oh, right, "similar" noting like the pot calling the kettle black huh.
  • -4 Hide
    Otus , January 14, 2010 6:10 AM
    4850 and 4770 will be out soon and prices for what units are left will probably rise in price. There's probably room for price cuts for 5670 at a
  • 3 Hide
    cleeve , January 14, 2010 6:11 AM
    noob2222What would you call 12-20% faster across the board?


    I'd call it "similar". Because the user experience is "similar".

    An actual human being would probably not be able to experience most of the differences that you're suggesting are monumental.
  • 0 Hide
    cleeve , January 14, 2010 6:17 AM
    Quote:
    Oh yes, could you add the hierarchy chart and show where the HD 5670 fits in?


    I'll be adding it to the existing hierarchy chart soon! :) 
  • 0 Hide
    cleeve , January 14, 2010 6:18 AM
    Quote:
    I wish there was a Radeon 4850 in the comparison chart for.... Comparison....


    Didn't have time to include both the 4850 and GTS 250, but they'll perform close to the 5750 and certainly better than the 4770.
  • 0 Hide
    noob2222 , January 14, 2010 6:21 AM
    CleeveI'd call it "similar". Because the user experience is "similar".An actual human being would probably not be able to experience most of the differences that you're suggesting are monumental.

    then why bother saying the 9800 is slightly faster, it would be just as similar in comparison.
  • 1 Hide
    amdfangirl , January 14, 2010 6:29 AM
    Quote:
    I'll be adding it to the existing hierarchy chart soon! :) 


    I reckon adding the chart to the end of GPU reviews would greatly help.

  • 0 Hide
    WINTERLORD , January 14, 2010 7:29 AM
    would love to see the 4670 in crossfire. any idea what it will beat
  • -1 Hide
    anamaniac , January 14, 2010 7:30 AM
    Yay, a 40nm 4670 with GDDR5...
    Is that really all it is?
    I just picked up some guys used 5770 for $150 (I'm Canadian, they cost $200 locally).
    Other than not needing any external power cables, useless.

    Go pick up a used 5750 from Craigslist instead people...
  • 6 Hide
    cleeve , January 14, 2010 7:37 AM
    Quote:
    then why bother saying the 9800 is slightly faster, it would be just as similar in comparison.


    Wow. Bickering over the minutia is what you're all about, isn't it? :D 
  • 2 Hide
    mitch074 , January 14, 2010 7:56 AM
    And here, I'm happy I decided 18 months ago that the 4850 was a good deal, if it's still powerful enough to be considered 'upper mainstream' in a world where cards twice as powerful as what came before come out every 9-12 months.

    My only regret is that those early models were soon forgotten by their makers, and they need heavy tweaking to get the juice out of them.

    The huge cooler I put on it made it much cooler (the original cooler failed), and virtually silent. The VBIOS hack I applied, reducing frequencies to 160/500 MHz, 0.92V at idle may have helped in the power draw department (it sure helped before the cooler change, by lowering temps from 80°C to 65°C), but probably not as much as these more recent cards.

    I'd love a similarly tweaked 4850 (more recent models actually offer most of these out of the box: dual slot cooler and tweaked freqs/voltages) being fully benched against these.
  • 3 Hide
    Anonymous , January 14, 2010 8:57 AM
    Pretty good review, actually Cleeve this is the best review I've seen you do yet.

    And yes, at $99 this card is too expensive. At $79 it would kill Nvidia off, maybe ATI don't want that.

    If you can, would be great to see 2 of these in crossfire soon.
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