ATI Radeon HD 5970 2GB: The World's Fastest Graphics Card

Power, Noise, And Heat

Given the 5870’s 188W board power (and even the Radeon HD 5850’s 151W rating), ATI had to pay particular attention to power consumption with this product. Voltages, clock rates, and on-board components were all taken into consideration.  

To begin, there are the 5850-class frequencies, which facilitate lower voltages, and thus, lower board power (294W). The same power-saving technologies that allow other 5000-series cards to drop to remarkably-low idle consumption also apply here. Multi-level clock gating, voltage scaling, and engine/memory clock scaling all work effectively. In fact, we observed the same 157/300 MHz idle clocks seen on other cards from this same generation.

The Radeon HD 5970 adds a board-level feature that applies an ACPI S1 sleep state to the secondary GPU, effectively halving its idle power consumption, according to ATI. As a result, the Radeon HD 5970 is rated for a 42W idle board power—less than half that of a single-GPU Radeon HD 4870 (90W)!

In theory, then, there should be 15W separating a Radeon HD 5870 and 5970 at idle. Our measurements were a little higher at 27W between the two. Moreover, the Radeon HD 5970 actually seemed to use just a little more idle power than a pair of Radeon HD 5870s in CrossFire, suggesting the second GPU might not be dropping into S1 with our beta drivers.

So too is the 5970’s load consumption slightly higher than a pair of Radeon HD 5850s in CrossFire—though not far off the mark. Out of curiosity, we bumped up the voltages on our Radeon HD 5970 and pushed the clock rates to 5870 speeds (850/1,200 MHz). Seemingly not a fan of our FurMark test, the board quickly spiked to 99 degrees Celsius and then froze.

A single Radeon HD 5970 is slightly louder under load and slightly quieter at idle than two Radeon HD 5870s in CrossFire. The good news is that, on the Windows desktop, you’ll completely forget that there’s a foot-long dual-GPU monster under the hood. When it comes time to game, though, this card certainly makes its presence known.

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193 comments
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    Top Comments
  • cyberkuberiah
    today's a great day for graphics , as the bar's been raised again !
    37
  • commodore64
    Wooww...4.3 billion transistors, low idle power, it's pricey but this baby has lots of potential :)

    I think ATI driven NVIDIA into a corner this time, i love the competition :)
    34
  • Anonymous
    In your face Gt240 =P
    30
  • Other Comments
  • cyberkuberiah
    today's a great day for graphics , as the bar's been raised again !
    37
  • IzzyCraft
    bawhaha i was waiting for this
    5970 picture of it in size comparison is priceless to me it's freaking huge card.

    But really how are they going to get 2 chips for 5970 when they can't even get 1 for 5870 :)
    24
  • notty22
    Wonder if this would get the same framerates as a 5870 in a AMD 965 system ?
    16
  • Anonymous
    In your face Gt240 =P
    30
  • Anonymous
    I'm getting more concerned with Nvidia these days. They keep playing with these low-end cards and haven't made anything all that great in almost a year. Hopefully Fermi doesn't turn into Itanic II.
    21
  • amdgamer666
    Sweet, another amazing card to drool at, too bad I can't afford it. Thanks for including CF'ed 5870's, that's what I wanted to compare it to the most. The release seems to coincide with the driver update. Everybody make sure to update your drivers to 9.11 :)
    http://support.amd.com/us/gpudownload/Pages/index.aspx
    Also, because 9.11 is out, you can also try out Adobe's Flash 10.1 prelease to try out GPU-accelerated flash
    http://labs.adobe.com/technologies/flashplayer10/
    Exciting times
    12
  • commodore64
    Wooww...4.3 billion transistors, low idle power, it's pricey but this baby has lots of potential :)

    I think ATI driven NVIDIA into a corner this time, i love the competition :)
    34
  • christop
    Sweet but can't see spending 600 on a card...
    23
  • 7amood
    commodore64i love the competition

    There is no competition yet >_< prices are way up there!!!
    21
  • Honis
    Good article!

    I'll wait for a price drop since there are 0 DX 11 games out currently. Hope this forces further drops in the 4870s.
    -15
  • shubham1401
    GT 240 has found a competitor in HD5890!
    -24
  • keefasuz
    1,600-shader Cypress found in its Radeon HD 5870.
    2) Drop clock rates a bit in order to keep power and thermals under control.
    3) ???
    4) Profit


    Oh my goodness, Chris, you apparently saw the Southpark episode with the underpants gnomes! Very funny for those of us who got the joke.
    21
  • liquidsnake718
    Thus.... the shattered dreams of Nvidia and its GT210, 220, 240... haha.
    What a time to release such low end dead end variants... the last life of the 200series chips can now be engulfed by the HD5970... THis card looks like it would smash through the GTX295 easily and is DX11 plus plus blah blah Nvidia is sweating it out as they have lost a lump of market share as they did not ride the Christmas wave... Ive said it again and again don't you guys think Nvidia should discount their cards heavily already?!?

    I hope fermi can even compare to this dual gpu... Deep down I now doubt Nvidias GTX380 or whatever can even compare to this dual GPU, they would have to compare it now with a dual GTX300 series in my opinion at the rate that ATi has vastly improved from their previous 4850-90s, to the x2's...
    5
  • duckmanx88
    wow look at the difference in crysis and far cry 2. the 5890 just bitch slapped the gtx 295.
    21
  • FoShizzleDizzle
    I'm sort of at a loss for words so I will pull on a quote from The Cable Guy: this would make George Lucas cream in his pants.
    7
  • skora
    Oh no, now I have PCB envy :(
    5
  • megamanx00
    OMFG!! It's so F**ING HUGE!!

    I think I would want one, if I could afford a new PSU and huge case to go with it :D.
    0
  • jj463rd
    I just completed a new build however I was short funds and had to get a $50 graphics card just to see it work.I'm glad though that I selected a 850 watt power supply.
    The Radeon 5970 sounds like the perfect card for me in January 2010.I'm getting it.
    3
  • WINTERLORD
    alswome card but pricey but i guess the specs make up for it. id go for the 5850 myself if i could. maybe they'll have a giveaway for this bad boy
    1
  • javidchaos
    I think i gotta sell my kidney and liver for one of these !!!
    ;)
    17